Marketing may take a back seat when there are so many other priorities for small businesses, but knowing where to target marketing efforts could be a good way to start. Auckland-based marketing firm Creative Content shared ten small business marketing ideas that could help out in 2019.
The humble marketing plan
It may not be the perfect document, but a marketing plan should include targeted goals that help focus promotional efforts for the year ahead.
"Ask yourself, which services do you want to promote? Which marketing channels do you want to try? If you are feeling stuck at setting your strategy or coming up with ideas, invest in professional help,” says Creative Content. Marketing agencies and copywriters can help.
“Make sure you start the year with a solid plan for the direction you want to take your business marketing.
Are your promotional materials outdated?
Business cards, logos, point-of-sale materials, and business cards can become dated very fast.
Creative Content says most businesses need to re-evaluate their marketing materials every three-to-five years.
“Remember your business card or brochure is designed to reflect people of your services. If you want your business brand to stand out and look professional, it's imperative that your marketing collateral does the same.
Give your website a makeover
If it hasn't been updated in years, or if you don't have a website, now is the time to build a good one. It's an investment and should only be built by professionals.
“The website needs to be fully functional on all devices and user-friendly. Aim for a website that's easily navigated, quick to load, and quick to inform your audience about your business. If you have too much content, or your site is slow to load and hard for users to navigate, it's likely your customers will drop off your site and switch to the competition.
Tie your small business to directories like Yellow, Yelp and Google My Business
These are popular platforms where people discover and rate businesses. Creative Content says the platforms can help businesses share information and to use video and images to promote product products and services.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) – don't ignore it Small businesses might think it's impossible to get on the first page of Google results, especially if the market is very competitive.
“The easiest strategy is to try to rank for unique services (which will have less competition) or what is called “Long Tail Key Words”. This is definitely an area where you need to call in the experts. Ideally, pick a marketing agency that can see the big picture and help you achieve great search results in the long term, while maximising any marketing activities in the short term for more instant wins.
Content marketing: Up your game
Whether you create a blog, ebook or podcast, content marketing is still strong in 2019. If you blog, update it at least twice a month.
Become part of social media
Social media might be your best friend. It's not a free marketing tool, but it is reasonably cheap.
“Its ability to convey targeted messages in real-time to a targeted audience also means way more bang for your buck. But user beware: due to social media's popularity and constantly evolving nature, keeping informed and avoiding out-dated advice or “myths” can be a bit of a pickle. It's highly recommended that you budget for professional help with your social media – even just to get you started.
Video marketing – it can be done on a budget
People read less and watch more video. Now is the time to experiment with video marketing.
“You can even use your phone (assuming it's somewhat modern) propped up on a coffee-cup tripod to start practicing your video skills. If you're too shy to appear in the video, you can use software like Loom to do a voiceover presentation, or to make animated explainer videos. Then upload the result to your preferred social media channel (don't forget YouTube) with a title and good description.
Offer free product samples or trial periods
It's all about creating buzz, getting people together and telling your story.
“Could you talk about your product on a Facebook Live stream or a webinar, or live stream your workplace activities? Or could you organise a Meetup event, perhaps hosted at your workplace, to talk about what you do?
Get out amongst the community
Think outside the box – organise free workshops or classes, volunteer, or sponsor a local event.
“Giving is not only good in itself, but is good for the image of your business, and also gives you some extra promotion.