Small business owners spend so much time running their business, often they forget the only way to survive is to attract customers.
Marketing is a powerful tool for SMEs that can help grow a business but many SMEs think it’s only something for the big players. With more than two million small businesses in Australia, you need to set yourself apart from the rest and get your brand in front of potential customers.
But marketing is more than just advertising and promotions. That is certainly an element of it but, at its core, marketing is about identifying and understanding your target customers and meeting their needs.
Here are four reasons you need to embrace marketing for your SME:
1. Brand awareness
It goes without saying but marketing helps people hear about your business and helps attract new customers. If no one knows anything about you, people aren’t going to want to buy your product (or even know it exists).
For new businesses in particular, it’s critical to get your name out there from the beginning. A simple initiative to get the ball rolling is a letterbox flyer campaign. They are cost effective and can easily target local residents – you can even provide deals or discounts to encourage people to come in for the first time.
2. Understand your customers
The first step in effective marketing is know who your target customer is. The more you know, the easier it is to tailor your products, services and promotions to their wants and needs.
For example, if you run a physiotherapy business, a large number of your clients may be working professionals who can’t make it to appointments during the day. As such, you might extend your opening hours a couple of days a week to make it easier for your clients.
3. Create loyalty
Effective marketing campaigns provide incentive for customers to come back, whether that be through deals and discounts or simply through communication that fosters loyalty. Customers will be more likely to shop where they are treated with a smile and receive a complementary coffee after every five purchases.
For SMEs, loyalty is vital when competing with the bigger chains who are able to offer cheaper prices. Customers will be willing to pay a little bit more if they think the service is better.
4. Stand out from the crowd
Competition is the biggest challenge for a small business. It’s important to be different from everyone else, whether that be through a creative social media channel, targeted online advertising or unique promotions. Make a splash.
As a small business, dipping your toe in the marketing ocean can be daunting. But once you get started you’ll quickly see why it is such a valuable investment for your business.
About the author:
Sarah Pike is Chief Marketing Officer at marketing and customer specialist Salmat