Top Marketing Strategies For Small Business

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By - 30 June 2009

The small business environment is admittedly competitive and risky. However, well thought out marketing strategies can add to the chance of success. Strategic marketing is not just advertising – nor is it cold calling, direct mail or planning alone. Instead, successful marketing for small business is a combination of several factors, these can be broken down into the Who, What and How of strategic marketing. When the match between these is right, marketing for small business becomes a lot less complicated!

 

1. Who is Your Customer?

 

Who is your customer? Do you know who you are selling to? Draw up a table or list of the ‘typical’ customer; what do they look like? Are they a guy or girl? Are they old? Educated? What’s their average income? Where do they live?

 

Knowing this person intimately will allow you to create a target audience to market to – if your typical customer tends to be a young, successful suburbanite and you’re gearing your marketing strategies at the local bowls club members, it’s obvious you need to take a second look at your approach to strategic marketing! Make a database up of existing customers, purchase industry or association lists that relate to your business and be inquisitive of competitive markets. Getting an image of exactly who your customer is firmly ingrained in your marketing strategies makes it a lot easier to approach the next question…

 

2. What is Your Product?

 

So you know what you sell, yes? There is a market for everything…you just need to know what exactly you are offering. For example, back in the infamous ‘Pet Rock’ days, the company was not selling a ‘rock’ it was selling a companion that didn’t need the usual care and comforts that pets and children constantly demand. The makers of ‘Pet Rock’ then paired this little gem of strategic marketing with the right target audience (sole home dwellers with pet allergies for example) and kaboom a marketing success!

 

Your product may be a space age piece of technology, it could be a hand crafted artisan work, it may be a slice of intellectual genius that you supply at a cost to others – marketing for small business is all about knowing just what it is that you sell and being able to communicate that to your customer. Be crystal clear about your businesses offerings and never assume that people know anything about your product – it’s your job to tell them what you sell.

 

3. How to Market Your Product!

 

How you market your product depends on who you are selling to and what you are selling – the plethora of marketing strategies and combinations available once you decide these things, are endless! 

 

You could try:            

o   Direct mail promotions (avoid obviously impersonal and bulk mail-outs)

o   Give out stickers/caps/coasters with your details at local events

o   Offer value-laden bonuses to existing and new customers

o   Take out advertising in the local or Yellow Directory

o   Hire a costume and create a buzz around your business

o   Get business cards – and actually hand them out!

o   Offer press releases to local radio and TV networks

o   Visit customers with new products and promotions

o   Hire a premium ad agency ($$$)

o   Build a website and maintain an online presence

o   Talk to nearby businesses about partnerships in advertising and promotions

o   Thank your new customers and genuinely appreciate repeat business

o   Establish an image, slogan or headline and stick to it!

 

The mix of marketing strategies that a small business uses may depend on the type of product, the target audience, the attitude of the company and of course the budget available. The key to a healthy business is strategic marketing. The marketing strategies that you choose should be well matched to your product and your customer. Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all approach in marketing, but with foresight and planning you’ll have more chance of success!

About the Author

George Butler
Raj Aryan has varied interest in the field of business. In particular, he has a keen interest in SME's and the challenges these businesses face. He has written numerous articles about small business.