What is marketing and why should your small business care?

One description I read recently of marketing was the process of creating a demand for your product or service and fulfilling the customers’ needs, whereas selling is the art of getting people to part with their cash.

In essence, if no one knows about your business and how you can solve a problem they have with your products or services, then making a sale becomes nigh on impossible.

Marketing is about building awareness of your brand and promoting what you can do, so that when a customer has the need for a product or service, it is your business that pops into their head and your business that they feel they can trust to meet their needs.

If your business is so run off it’s feet that you can’t possibly cope with any more customers heading your way, then that’s fantastic. You are probably already way ahead of the curve with your marketing.

But, if like the rest of us, you could always do with a few more potential clients visiting your website, coming through your door or picking up the phone to call you, then marketing could be one area you could improve upon to help you on the way to a full order book.

But isn’t marketing just for the big boys?

It’s true that the big brands like Apple, McDonalds, Microsoft, Amazon et al spend millions on marketing, building their brand to be synonymous with the product or service they offer.

But marketing does not have to be about million dollar campaigns on TV or big-name sponsorship deals.

For the one-man band tradesman or the small high street shop, marketing can be as simple as a leaflet pushed through doors in your neighbourhood, a press release in your local paper, or a competition on Facebook.

For less than £100, maybe even less, you could promote your business to thousands of people, who, although they may not want or need what you are offering right now, may well think of you when they do.

For, although we are all familiar with the brands and logos of the big players, continued exposure to a local company breeds similar familiarity and trust.

If someone sees a leaflet drop through their door with your logo and name on it, then sees the same logo and name in the local paper and on social media, the chances are they will almost sub-consciously begin to see your business as a “big name” in your field and be more likely to turn to you when they are ready.

Setting a marketing strategy is key to success

The key to good marketing is having a strategy before you begin. Throwing money randomly at different marketing channels probably will have limited success.

Before you begin you need to be clear on what you wish to achieve with your marketing, such as more footfall to your shop or more followers on Facebook.

You also need to know who you are targeting. If you sell mobility aids your target audience probably isn’t the under 25s, for example.

Once you know that, you can work out where your target audience hangs out or which marketing media they are likely to best respond to – and that’s where you invest your marketing budget. Quality beats quantity.

Then you need to create your marketing material, whether that’s an advert in the local paper, a Facebook ad, or a leaflet – and make sure it includes a clear Call to Action, leading people by the hand to fulfill your marketing goal, eg following you on Facebook or visiting your shop.

Too busy doing the day job?

One of the biggest barriers to small businesses carrying out effective marketing is time…

You are likely to be busy concentrating on your core business – the everyday work which brings in the money. Any time left over is also likely to be filled to the brim with the endless tasks that come with running a business.

This is where it can be cost-effective to employ the services of a marketing expert, who can help you identify where you should be concentrating your efforts for maximum return on investment.

Bringing in external marketing assistance can be a cost-effective way of growing your business and is a wise investment in your future profitability.

For a free consultation on the affordable services available from Plan B Marketing, email connect@traceysweetland.co.uk, call 07595 036454.