Six tips for more effective small business marketing

As a small business owner, you may not have a big marketing budget, but promoting your business is vital to sustainable growth. Here are six simple but effective strategies to improve your marketing and ultimately, grow your revenue.

#1 Develop clear, consistent messaging

Today, there are many free or cost-effective channels you can use to reach potential clients, but before you start talking to them, it’s critical to ensure you have clear, consistent messaging so you are always telling them what your brand is about.

It’s worth investing a little time in shaping this messaging, so here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  • Who are you and what does your brand stand for?
  • What ‘personality’ traits do you want your brand to have? For example, is your brand fun and humorous or more serious? This will determine how you speak to your audience.
  • What challenge are you solving for your client base?
  • Why should they choose you to solve this challenge?

#2 Understand your client’s buying habits and decision journey

Once you know how you want to talk to your prospects and customers, the next step is to understand when it’s best to talk to them.

Decision journey mapping is a process that looks at the steps a prospect takes from identifying a challenge that needs solving to ultimately making the decision to purchase a solution from you. (This article from Indeed provides a good, simple description of the stages.)

Understanding what a prospect is likely thinking at each stage and the competitors they might be looking at can help you understand how best to promote your unique selling points.

#3 Create social media conversations

Social media platforms are fantastic ways for your existing and prospective customers to engage with your brand, so don’t waste the opportunity by making it a one-way street. Most platforms have a variety of interactive media, from polls to live videos, so use them to create conversations. It might take time for your community to start responding, but once they do, their comments will be visible to their network, so it’s a great way to both engage existing followers and attract new ones.

#4 Ask for referrals and reviews

When most of us are looking for a new product or service, we do a little research. And that usually involves looking at online reviews and/or asking people we trust for referrals. So as a business, it’s important to ask your happy customers to leave you a review or recommend you to a friend.

Of course, asking for reviews won’t always lead to 100% positive feedback. However, any negative comments provide an opportunity for you to respond, surprising and delighting the existing client and showing prospects that you actually care. No prospect expects a business to be entirely infallible, but they want peace of mind that if something does go wrong, you’ll own and fix it.

Of course, how you ask for reviews or referrals is key to getting the best possible response. Asking in broad-based communications, such as newsletters, will help you reach a wider audience, but it will likely lead to a more mixed response.

On the other hand, asking people for a review or referral individually when you’ve delivered a great customer experience takes more time, but is more likely to lead to positive reviews by those clients who’ve engaged with you on a deeper level.

#5 Outsource to gain access to marketing expertise

Employing an in-house marketing team isn’t commercially viable for many small businesses, and paying agencies big bucks to deliver one-off campaigns is often cost-prohibitive. The good news is that there is a middle ground with services that act as your virtual marketing team.

For a monthly fee, you get access to a local team of marketing, content and design experts who understand your business without the headcount, salary costs or administrative hassle.

#6 Make it easy to do business with you

The quickest way to kill-off a prospect or create dissatisfied clients is by making it difficult to work with you. This Harvard Business Review is well worth a read, highlighting how some of the biggest businesses get this so wrong.

On the other hand, a seamless experience from the initial enquiry to invoice payment can have the opposite effect. Here are some areas to consider:

  • How easy is it for prospects to get in touch with you via your website?
  • Is your response time acceptable? Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes here. We live in an instant world, so no one wants to wait several days for an email response.
  • How easy is it for your clients to understand and self-select the right product, service or solution?
  • Are your terms and conditions transparent and easy to understand?
  • Are you providing adequate ongoing support or feedback channels after purchase?
  • Do you offer reasonable payment terms and options that support your customer to thrive?

At Selectpay, we are passionate about helping businesses thrive in a changing world. Our flexible, selective payment solutions enable your clients to access your products or services today and pay over simple instalments, with no change to the way you invoice. And when it comes to your business expenses, we’ve got you covered there too. Visit selectpay.com.au to find out more.