In today’s competitive world, surviving as a small business can be hard. Previously, it was widely understood that 50% of small businesses fail within their first year of trading. It is now estimated that a third of small businesses survive ten years- that’s quite an improvement! The improvement in the number of business that succeed is down to a number of factors, and successful marketing will be one of them. The options open to small businesses when it comes to marketing are far greater than they ever have been. It’s also most cost effective than ever to reach out to thousands of people.

So where do you start when it comes to marketing your business and becoming one of the ten-year-plus survivors? Here are five marketing tips that you can implement today to help your business succeed.

1: Know your target market

Understanding who your customers are is the single most important factor to a successful marketing strategy. Without knowing who and where your target market is, you are essentially blindfolded and reaching them through any marketing methods will be difficult. If you are a startup, be realistic when it comes to targeting customers. There is nothing wrong with starting small. If you have been trading for some time, look at your existing customers- do they ‘fit’ in with your own perception of what your target market is?

2: Work on your brand image

Although they say never judge a book by it’s cover, unfortunately that isn’t the case when it comes to your brand image. Customers will build a perception of your company in just a few seconds from looking at your logo. It’s extremely important that your brand gives off the best possible impression.

3: Build your online presence

Building an online presence is one of the first things many business owners will look to do. Whether they use something as simple as a Facebook Business Page to get started, or go straight in with their own bespoke website, getting your business online instantly exposes you to more potential customers. When starting to develop your online presence, think about what your target market would expect to see- do they expect your business to have it’s own website? There are many free website building platforms out there to get you started, but we would always recommend building a custom website for your business.

4: Develop an audience to market to

Depending on the type of business you run, building a data set to market to can be difficult. But there is always the option to buy data. If you are a B2B company, you will almost certainly look to buy data to begin marketing to. If you are B2C, you have a few more options. Over time, your audience will grow organically, but only if you make sure you are always collecting data such as email addresses and telephone numbers. Start collecting data from customers as soon as you begin trading, you’ll thank yourself down the line.

5: Develop a plan, and stick to it

So you have your online presence, your brand is looking slick and you even have a small database of contact information for potential customers. Now what? Develop a six month plan identifying how and when you will market your services to these contacts. Will you send them an email? When? How long will you leave it until you send another email? What about sending text messages or letters through the post? Pin point dates when you will contact your database and then work on the content that you will send them. Stick to the plan you create and you can measure the results as you go or a the end of your six month plan.

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