Marketing covers the activity with which you promote your business. It is the set of processes whereby communication, social media and promotion combine. The result? Increased brand awareness, more visitors to your shop or website and a growth sales. Yet marketing can so often be implemented negatively, resulting in a decline in interest.
“Marketing is traditionally the means by which an organisation communicates to, connects with, and engages its target audience to convey the value of and ultimately sell its products and services.”
Since the rising popularity of the digital world, it has become increasingly popular for businesses to rely heavily, sometimes entirely, on social media to develop more meaningful relationships with their customers, promoting their wares. Every business is different – some find their clients thanks to their ranking on Google, some purely use Facebook and some rely more on traditional avenues such as print advertising and leaflets. In this digital era, I would always advise ensuring your marketing strategy covers more than one basis. You must realise that some people still aren’t on Facebook, so your efforts should be more evenly spread rather than just focusing on that one platform.
Here are 13 ways to market your business.
- Social media – social media covers more than you may think. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the key players but don’t dismiss Google+ (great for your SEO), LinkedIn (great for sharing blogs, news and your offering) and Snapchat (if your target audience use it, generally the under 25 category.) Be sure to share a mix of content, not just promotional pieces for your business. Your sales posts (i.e. you promoting yourself) should only take up 20% of your weekly content. The remainder should be pieces relevant to your industry that are useful and insightful to your audience.
- PR – the best way to get into magazines and on websites without advertising and an ideal way to gain coverage and increase brand awareness. You can read my blog all about PR here.
- Advertising – one of the more traditional means of marketing, yet a slightly more costly option than the previous two pointers. If you’re a location-restricted business, look into your local magazines as they will offer best pricing and reach your target audience.
- Working with bloggers – bloggers are an increasing phenomenon and can help share your products to their thousands of followers. Do be cautious – some promise the world and fail to live up to your expectations. If you gift them a product, ensure it’s clear before hand what you’ll get in return (i.e. a blog, 5 social media posts, for example.)
- Working with influencers – as above, ensure you get your value out of the agreement.
- Brand ambassadors – this is generally a longer time agreement, whereby the ambassador promotes your brand for 3, 6 or 12 months. They’ll blog about you, promote you on social media and share your news and updates with their following.
- Be a guest blogger – this gives you an opportunity to share your business knowhow and drive customers to your website.
- Give a presentation – go to schools, colleges or enterprises and share your expertise. Each person has valuable lessons they’ve learnt within their trade. Valuable experiences that someone else can put into practice, learning from you.
- Networking – always a valuable tool, it’s a great way to meet fellow business owners and spread the word of your brand. At the very least, you should end up with more contacts and more social media followers.
- Branded clothing – YOU can be a walking advert, just make sure it represents your brand and looks smart. I LOVE my branded Schoffel gilet, which fits in perfectly with my rural business.
- Sponsorship – at events and of people, again, ensure you have an agreement so you know exactly what you’re getting. If you have products, you should be able to offer products in exchange for promotion, rather than you offering a financial investment.
- Give it away – whether you’re a product or service business, give something away. People love a freebie, and will most likely return to purchase from you at a later date.
- Friends and family. Don’t miss the relatively simple option of asking friends and family to share your posts, comment on your content and to recommend you to their contacts. It may just take one person for you to reach your monthly targets or to pick up a new client.
Point 1, social media, is such a vast topic that I’m actually going to do a follow up blog on how to market your business using social media so be sure to keep an eye out for that one next week! While I believe it’s part of an integrated plan, rather than the marketing campaign in its entirety, it’s such a key part that it deserves it’s own blog!