Is marketing harder for small business owners?
Without the big budget of a public company, I find marketing to be really limited as far as how much you can do with a small budget if you are a small business owner.
I believe the biggest challenge for small business owners in marketing their products or services goes to the operational aspects of analysis, planning and delivery. The budget itself can be quite low, starting from few hundrets $ monthly. What I think is crucial factor for success in marketing is the ability and capacity to plan and create very consistant marketing strategy, work out the plan which will then support to meet goals set up in the strategic approach. Being small business owner requires a lot effort mostly because you are juggling and managing tons of work either yourself or with help of few people. This is off course different than in big or even medium sized companies which have not only internal marketing depts but they also hire external ATL and BTL agencies to realize each year goals.
Marketing your business with Facebook ads can be as low as $5 per day. Try pay per engagements, to your fb pages.
You can try some of the other tools like e-mail marketing or post in social websites.Secondly there are some zines in Google where you can post the adds for free.Be flexible in your approach and you will get success.
I cannot actually agree with this statement. Marketing is hard for those who know little about it. Small business owners try to do everything themselves to save money, that's why marketing can be a daunting task for them. Being a small business owner, I always consult with the marketing gurus from https://future.thecmoclub.com/ , when it comes to marketing.
As a digital marketer who focuses on paid lead/acquisition programs I do find my clients tend to be mid-size businesses who have already invested in a marketing plan and have key performance metrics in mind.
I find the biggest thing is tracking! So many small businesses I've spoken with who test digital marketing have Boosted Post on Facebook, tried Google AdWords, etc.....but haven't tracked things properly so have decided it didn't work. Investing in proper analytics (set up Google Analytics, define your success metrics, etc.) is really key.
Also, while I'm biased, I think it's well worth investing in an expert (consultant or agency) who can help you develop a plan if marketing is not your wheelhouse. The cost of setting things up properly even if you ultimately decide to manage is well worth the investment.
It depends really. There are lots of different techniques which work nicely for small business. For example, I make some promotional gifts and present them to my customers. I get some custom lapel pins from http://www.pinsource.com/ and people like it. It helps my marketing somehow
Knowing your unique selling points is the first step. Marketing can be difficult for small and big companies but utilising your budget in a targeted way is the best option. Use one medium and concentrate on that and do it right first. If you decide to take on PR use a PR who is small and has small business expertise as we do.
Marketing philosophy is very important for every company's success.A generic marketing strategy does not suit every company.
It is different even for every large public company.
Product is generally a better indicator to identify and adopt a marketing strategy in the market.
But for small companies it is true that their marketing is more focused on existing customer relationships , their feedback, their referrals and their own expansion.
Basing growth on some strategic partners and their growth is generally how small companies grow.
But fortunately entrepreneurs in this age have a lot of support from internet , websites , social media and other platforms to make a major impact even without a budget to spend on marketing.
I would suggest to explore these marketing opportunities for the time being and moving forward the scale can be increased.
For a small company a vision of long term sustainability with continuous growth is very important.
Best Of Luck,
North York, Canada
There's lots of great advice here. I have made it my primary focus to assist small businesses with marketing... NOT to get you to pay me to figure it out and do it for you, but to provide a process, you can do yourself that is proven to work for small business.
There is SO much that can be done at no- or low-cost to suffice building a small business to great success, but it requires doing the fundamentals extremely well.
I have put several free videos together to assist small business owners with this. The one I think I will direct you to (if you are serious about learning this) is the recording of the online training event I did just a couple of weeks ago. It was entitled "How to Create KILLER Marketing Message!". You can download it and watch it by going to this link: http://www.screencast.com/t/D5Rn4TfC
I think you will get great value from this. If I can be of any assistance, please private message me.
Marketing is never limited, only creativity.
Marketing success is incremental. If you put $500 into it, you get a percentage of growth based on the chosen promotional activities. It doesn't matter if you're a Fortune 100 company or a mom and pop shop.
Many companies budget based on the cost of acquisition of a new client/customer. For instance, if it costs $75 to gain a new loyal customer, you'll want to make sure the average dollars spent annually is around $500 or more. However, if your average customer only spends $100 per year, you won't want to spend more than $20 per acquisition going forward.
Facebook is a great way to gain new customers, as you can have incremental gains on every $5 you spend. Promotions can be tied to any demographics - Income, location, gender, etc.
A Youtube video can also be used to generate attention and its costs are surprising. I've shot shows for as little as $200 to $500,000. The $200 show was for a local company that saw a 20X multiplier on their ROI. The $500,000 show only had a 5X multiplier on their ROI. So, the small business got more bang for their buck.
Anisa, your profile says you have not yet established a business path yet. What is it that you want to really do in life?
Yes, without a question, and particularly if they are new start up. Your initial cost is the settig up a Limited Company which can be expensive as you will need a Registered Office, usually and Accountants or Solicitors and there will be an annual fee for that.
Then you have to register your company, with Companies House, which can cost up to £250, you also have to have a bank account, the opertating chargese of which can be quite high. I would suggest joining the Federation of Small Businesses, based in Blackpool as they have a good account with Co-Operative Bank which is very cheap, and has no operating fee. The membership is about £200 per year, but that gives you access to free legal advice, and monthly meetings with other small business holders which is ideal for networking and exchanging information generally, particularly if it is a large branch. They also have a legal referrals team, which is very valuable.
Your biggest problem is public awareness, and that can be expesive, particularly if you have to use the main-stream, hard copy advertising in the press or professional magazines/journals. You can obviously create your own web-page, but again the problem is people finding you; the search engines can be very pedantic and do not always pick up what you think is obviously your sector or your likely name. The cost of having a web-page build for your can be quite pricey too.
Depending on the market sector that you are opeating in, that can be an issue as well since you may have to compete with a large number of people doing the same job, so pricing may be a low profit margin, bearing in mind that you will have to register for National Insurance and taxation. If your turnover is £100 000 you will have to register for VAT, and produce a full set of audited accounts, again an expense that you will have to take in to consideration.
There is also an annual fee of £15 for what is known as a Company Return, which has to be filed at Companies House. This just requires details of your Registered Office. date of last accounts, Share Capital, name of your Bankers and The Company Secretary and Directors (they can be the same person). If your company has not traded, that is just a statement of Share Capital and confirmation that the business has not traded.
To that end it can be time consuming, but at least it protects your house, since the Registered Office would be the Solicitors or the Accountants, so even if you trade from your house, should you get in to difficulties, Bailiffs or High Court Enforcement Officers can only levy (take) goods which belong to the company. That can also be a difficult thing to prove. They can not take certain items referred to as "Tools of the Trade", i.e. anything that would take your normal line of business or professional away from you. However the Bailiff's definition may be different to yours; they have a list of items that they cannot take for a certain trade, for example chisels, saws certain electrical equipment. A car /van is argueable, and that is why most people lease a van since in law it is not theirs (it belongs to the finance company) so it cannot be levied upon.
Your biggest problem is breaking it to the market from cold, and the cost of advertising in newspapers and the likes. Your Web-site could be costly in terms of updating and getting it designed for you.
I wish you the best of luck with your venture.
The Credit Consultancy Limited
Reg. No. 06613224.
Marketing is marketing. The same basic activities apply to a business of any size. It at least takes time to learn, apply, correct, experiment, etc. - if you are not already skilled in it. Money and resources needed vary according to the time you have available to do everything yourself.
Some marketing activities may be more suited to your business, your target market(s), or your products/services than others. If you want to spend money on advertising, you can advertise for just a few dollars a day, but be sure to emphasize your value differentiation and not just say something like, "Here I am, I have this for sale, it's great, you'll love it, do business with me."
That's not differentiating why you are the better/best choice. Just making those types of claims is not appealing because anyone can and often do with no proof or evidence.
Learn how to make compelling, direct response offers. You want people to respond to your marketing and many will not give you their money on first contact. Build a contact/prospect list and keep in touch through email and social media. Help and educate before or while selling.
Remember that people are always asking, "What's in it for me?". Answer that in a compelling way with an offer they can't refuse or ignore.
Also remove the risk of customers/clients doing business with you by providing one or more guarantees.
Offer bonuses and extras and upsells and figure out your back end. Don't just focus on the first sale. The real money in most businesses is in selling more to existing customers after the first sale.
Also, be sure to test your promo material, web site landing pages, and ads against variations to see which work better than others. Learning how to test your various marketing materials and activities for maximum results will be the most valuable skill you will ever have in marketing your business.
Seriously - clients have told me time and again that testing (how, when, what, where, why, etc.) was the most valuable lesson they learned from me.
Don't waste time searching for the Easy or Magic button for shortcuts. Those often open a time-delayed trap door underneath you.
Marketing is like playing a piano - you've got to hit some of the keys more than others and in sequence. There's a rhythm and timing to it. Above all, avoid getting overwhelmed and take it at whatever pace you can.
Ironically, the real challenge is a lack of time and resources. Marketing ends up being one of a hundred things on a small business person's plate. Without a clear and well defined strategy marketing ends up being a chore and not the small business life line it is. However, there are clear and well established solutions:
1. Define and organize your customer database!
Unlike a public company, a small business has a smaller and well defined customer database. Of those often the 80/20 rule applies. 80% of the business coming from 20% of their database. Profiling who your customers are and segmenting them (by what they buy, when they buy, how they buy, why they buy etc.) is a critical and helpful part of streamlining your marketing and creating better results.
2. Select the right media!
Knowing your database will allow you to know which media reaches them best. Create a consistent formula and mix of the right media at the right time. Obviously social media are a critical piece of the puzzle.
3. Define a consistent message!
As a small business you need to define your message to your customers and share it often. In particular your unique selling points (USP). What makes you different than others? Why should your customers buy from you than anyone else? Tell a concise and consistent story every chance you get.
Anymore, there are many marketing automation solutions specifically for small businesses. www.infusionsoft.com is one of them. Using these very affordable tools you can invest one time efforts of creating repetitive campaigns that manage your marketing for you. 24 hours a day/365 days a week.
Bigger, public companies need bigger budgets because they have so much to do and need so many to do it. Using the same entrepreneurial spirit that allowed you to start and run a small business in marketing and your small business budget will go a looong way.
People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Nurture relationships. If you are curious about the absolute best marketing tool you can get, let's chat.
Small businesses are at a disadvantage in just about every aspect in terms of budget. The key is to find your niche and work the channels.
If you are willing to educate yourself on the process of business barter (and have an accountant that can keep you straight on the proper tax considerations) you will realize you actually have a virtually unlimited budget if you are creative enough. To get a quick education on business bartering along with some case studies download this e-book (which was a gift to me from the author, Jay Abraham) and read chapter 17. Here is he link to the book. http://jaschoenberger.com/free/GettingEverythingNew.pdf For more free material from my mentor Jay Abraham, please visit http://abraham.com
In my answer I'm going to focus on the aspect of marketing by way of product and service promotion.
First consider this. Most successful entrepreneurs say they became such by being at the right place at the right time. Some of it was luck while some of it was their personal ability to inspire while making timely choices with a product that is in demand.
Let's take a closer look at these key factors that have helped promote products or service.
So there's the likability factor. If people like the person standing behind the product or better, love her they'll take a closer look at your product for that reason only. Respectability also goes a long way.
That said, the key to effective low budget marketing is the combination of the following.
1. A quality product or service that's in demand.
2. Likeability and respectability
3. Good placement in terms knowing how to find your target audience online or on location
4. Ideal timing and some creativity that turns heads.
All things considered, it's not a matter of money. It's about you, the product, creativity and being at the right place at the right time.
Having said that look for and download business plans that focus on those five factors and you'll be on the right track. I recommend you google "99 Winning Direct Sales Marketing Business Plans"
I agree with many below - marketing can actually be easier and cheaper for smaller businesses than larger ones...especially since smaller businesses know they have to be smarter with any costs, time or resources they put toward something.
So, I tell small businesses to consider all of the options, and then identify the 5-8 that will work best for them. Then they can trim from there... but I never suggest doing more until you have mastered the few you do first.
The more important question is not the cost of the strategy, tactic or tool... it is which marketing strategies and tactics are most effective for your business?
Once you determine that, the effort and cost will have to do with what you have available to put to it, i.e. even if buying an app or tool is free, the resource time to execute the strategy or tactic can be costly.... your time is not free.
It can be tough, in terms of budget, but knowing your budget and making it work hard for you is key!
There are people out there who can offer support or training to help you learn how to do some yourself, while you build your income, or you can use businesses who specialise in helping start ups or smaller businesses. For example, owe have packages that offer social media management for small businesses who are on a tighter budget.
You need to make the most of what's out there, check out where clients are and start working those areas. I have found, as a small business owner myself, getting training is key to me understanding and making the most of my time & money.