Marketing help for small businesses – How to get started

marketing small businesses

Do you sometimes feel like you could do with some marketing help? Many small businesses don’t often have large budgets to splash out on marketing. This is why it’s important to ensure they invest their money in the right areas. However, with marketing covering such a broad spectrum of topics, it can be difficult to understand where you should start.  Also how do you evaluate how heavily you should invest in certain activities?

This problem is further compounded by the countless number of marketing companies which are often trying to sell you their services. With every package and plan being sold as being essential to you, business owners can be forgiven for giving in and investing in the services some of these businesses offer. That’s why small businesses need to stop blindly rushing into their marketing and start with the fundamentals of marketing.  This will ultimately help them to understand it and place them in a better position moving forward.

Where to start with your marketing?

So where should you start with your marketing? Should you invest in data to create a mailing list? Maybe have a fancy new website designed? How about creating a presence on every social media account? Or even investing heavily in SEO? Well, the answer is none of these. Before you “do the doing”, you need to establish what you want to achieve.  Once this is defined you can consider the best course of action to get there.

This is the mistake many business owners make, they invest in marketing activity without really understanding what they need it to achieve.  This predictably often leads to money being wasted. This is where a marketing strategy comes into play. Using a strategy as the foundation of your marketing activity will help to ensure a more measured approach is undertaken.  It will also aid you in developing a marketing plan to achieve your desired goals.

Developing a marketing strategy

Creating a marketing strategy on your own can be tricky if you aren’t well versed in the area. However, as it’ll form the foundation upon which to build, it’s crucial you get it right. If you don’t have the expertise in-house then we’d certainly recommend getting a marketing consultant in to give you a hand.

The strategy will outline a whole host of things in regards to your business and the market you’re operating in. It should enable you to better understand who your competitors are, and how you’re positioned against them. In addition to this it should also help you to understand how realistic your goals are and what you need to do to achieve them.

Whilst marketing knowledge can help to establish which activities need to be conducted off the back of a strategy, what many business owners fail to realise is that much of the data they need to kick-start their marketing often rests within the business itself. It’s just a matter of understanding what you need to know and extracting the necessary information. Data such as your cost per enquiry, sources of enquiry, client values and conversion rates can be used to help identify the key areas that need focusing on along with how much you should be spending.

Conducting marketing activities

So, you have a marketing strategy, now you need to set about putting it into practice. The beauty of a strategy is that it will help you narrow down how best to conduct your marketing and where you should be looking to invest most of your resources.

There are 2 ways you can go about implementing your strategy. If you feel you have enough expertise in-house then you can conduct it yourself.  Alternatively, and often the case for many small businesses, is the opportunity to outsource the big projects. Since many small businesses lack the expertise for certain tasks, outsourcing them makes logical sense. However, you’re likely to come across more than 1 company who can fulfil your needs. This is where you need to remain wary of who you opt for. For example, a website redesign could see you having a number of designers and agencies to choose from.  With their costs likely to vary along with their level of service, you’ll have to decide the best option to opt for.

In these cases, do as much homework as you can to ensure you make the right decision. Look to get some professional marketing advice or a family member/friend who has a background in marketing to help you sieve through the options available to you. Additionally, take a quick look at their website and see if they have any case studies of clients they’ve previously worked for. You can then get in touch with these businesses and get a first hand account of how they are to work with. Finally, you can create a shortlist and get your favoured choices in to pitch their offering to you. This will help you better understand what the type of people you’ll be dealing with and who’ll be best served catering for your needs.

Marketing Help – Final words

We hope that’s helped to shed some light on how you can start going about your marketing. The last thing any business owner wants is to wastefully blow money on activity which lacks and clear purpose. If you need a help getting the ball rolling then feel free to check the varying marketing packages we offer.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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