Marketing your business has so many more benefits than a lot of people realise. It’s not just about advertising in your local newspaper and watching the orders come rolling in.
When you know how to market your business with a joined-up strategy, you can compound those benefits with improved awareness, brand recognition and positive perception too.
That’s the real importance of marketing in business. Anyone can sell soup for 20p a can, but only brands like Heinz can charge over £1 for essentially the same product. By marketing a new business, you can start to build similar brand power – it’s a long road to become the next Heinz, but it will at least lift you out of own-brand status.
Understanding the importance of marketing in business
In my Diary of an Entrepreneur video series I share my own experiences of marketing my business Stada Media from the ground up. Marketing a small business can be stressful when there’s a lot of other things going on, such as setting up a new office or dealing with your first customers.
But it’s make or break. Literally. The statistics say it all. ONS figures show there are about three million active businesses in the UK and 300,000 (give or take 30,000 either way) go bust each year. That’s a “business death rate” (the ONS official name for it) of 10%.
And yet the total number of active businesses grows each year – even through COVID-19 lockdowns – because the “business birth rate” is normally about 12.5%. The question is, how can you make sure your new business is in that 2.5% differential of successful, sustainable businesses?
The challenges of marketing a new business
Knowing the best way to market your business is not an exact science. Stada Media has changed and evolved in the years since we launched, and that’s part of the message I want to share.
One of the single biggest challenges of marketing a new business is adapting. Especially if it’s your first business startup or a new venture in a new industry, agility can be hard to find when you’re still learning the ropes.
Those first days can be chaotic and it’s not hard to see why so many SMEs fail in the first two years.
So make sure you find time – and some calm amongst the noise – to sit down with your team and discuss the best ways to promote your new business.
Be open to all ideas. Innovation can reach audiences that the ‘safe’ option might miss. Most of all, don’t neglect your marketing, because you need to start making those incremental gains that build your brand awareness, perception and value over time.
How to start marketing a small business
OK, let’s talk about how to promote a business from the ground up. First, think about what your business has to offer.
If you’re a new startup you probably (hopefully) have a good idea about your business plan, which should include your brand’s USP and target market – all good info when planning an ad campaign.
The old adage of “dress for the job you want” also comes into it. In my case, I moved Stada Media into a bigger office that looked the part, not only because we needed the space, but also to appeal to high-net-worth clients and to justify them placing orders with us worth many thousands of pounds.
The benefits of marketing your business
Once you embark on your marketing campaign, what benefits do YOU want to get from it? There’s a long, long list to choose from. Some of the most common benefits of marketing your business, including those already mentioned, are:
- Better brand awareness/recognition
- More positive brand perception
- Increased word of mouth
- Better search engine rankings
- PPC ad/sponsored search presence
- Increased clickthrough rate
- Longer dwell time on your website
- More repeat/return visits
- More social media followers
Whether your business is online or real-world, all of this feeds into your sales funnel with several benefits for your bottom line:
- More enquiries
- More orders
- More money
If you can sell more value, more often, your bottom line will grow. Marketing is about creating the buzz that enables you to achieve that.
How to market your business effectively
Let’s look at some of the most effective ways of marketing your business:
When thinking about ROI (Return On Investment) it’s easy to get distracted by the ‘Return’. But the ‘Investment’ in its own right is a way of marketing a new business, by targeting growth opportunities and building them back into your promotional campaigns.
Social media is among the easiest ways of marketing a small business. Brands like LINGsCARS, a car leasing company in Newcastle, have become household names by adopting an entertaining approach to social networking. Social media is also your chance to venture into formats other than text, such as my Diary of an Entrepreneur podcast and video series.
Advertisements have been the go-to option for decades when deciding how to promote a business. Banner ads online have evolved into platforms like Google Ads and there are still a million ways to advertise in the real world too.
Your own website can be the best way to market your business if you’re in ecommerce, as well as providing an online enquiry form or order page complete with payment processing.
I’m a big believer in personal branding when it comes to marketing my business ventures. I’m proud of who we are at Stada Media and where we come from – and you only need to look back at LINGsCARS for proof that personality sells!
Search marketing is all but essential if you have a website. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is about improving your ranking in the organic search results (i.e. the not-sponsored part of the page) and can achieve lasting results for your investment.
If you’re not sure how to market your business online in the short term, consider paid search, also called Pay Per Click (PPC). This boosts you to the sponsored ads section at the top of the search results and is a fantastic shortcut to better brand awareness.
Don’t underestimate reviews and their importance for marketing in business. A good rating (i.e. 4-5 stars) and positive written reviews by genuine customers can work wonders when persuading a potential customer to part with their cash.
Authority can be gained by commenting on trends in your industry and showing yourself to be knowledgeable and reliable. Customers come to trust you for information and, as a result, trust your products and services more.
Thought leadership is a step up from authority. People begin to look to you to help them decide how to think or feel about a product, service or industry trend. This is when your brand has real persuasive power to shape your market around you.
Don’t be afraid to capitalise on your connections. That might be business leaders you already know, or it could be about building rapport with your suppliers, significant customers and even with your local rivals.
Marketing a small business is a steep learning curve, but there’s help available. If you’d like to talk more about anything I’ve mentioned above, or ask me about my own experiences of marketing my business from day one, please get in touch.