Small business is limited by finances, time and knowledge and with owners and staff often putting on many hats such as book keeper, I.T specialist, salesperson, office cleaner.
There are some essentials that small business should not skimp on and should view as an investment for growth and profitability. For example accountants, financial consultants and legal may seem initially expensive, but will save owners with peace of mind in knowing that a professional is taking away something that is not their core focus (minimising the chance for costly risky mistakes).
The same can be said for marketing services. Not all marketing is equal, there are vast differences in the types of services offered. We take a holistic approach at Marketing SME, so we are not tied to our specialist areas, but rather look to highlighting gaps that will affect a small businesses marketing effectiveness.
As a result, this post is about giving small business a few key marketing tips. We have compiled a short list of what we believe to be marketing essentials (or your survival guide). By keeping the list tight, small businesses can digest paying a little more for the right solution rather than trying to do everything, spreading funds thin and going for cheap and less effective marketing solutions.
We believe that the marketing essentials are:
- Implementing a CRM
- Developing a Mobile Responsive Website
- Quality Brand Design
- Minimum Marketing Material for Sales
- Graphical Asset Development
1. CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
A CRM is simply a way to have all of your clients in one spot (or database) to keep track of your activities, opportunities and at minimum how you view them (or segment them). Keeping on top of your segmentation at minimum can play a huge role in targeted marketing (offers) through email marketing.
Today most CRM's connect easily to book keeping systems, project management systems and even have their own email marketing and social media campaign management tools integrated. Finally, they are very affordable, so really there is no excuse to not have one setup at the start of your business.
Click here for top CRM comparisons.
2. Mobile Responsive Website
Today your website is the main place where your target audience is going to find out more information about you. Having it mobile responsive means that it is more accessible as your target audience to easily digest information about your business anywhere, anytime. Once again, today these solutions are very affordable and a worthwhile investment.
If you want to find out more about mobile responsive websites, then click here
3. Brand Design
I will say it, there is nothing that irks me more, than seeing a small business (or even medium sized businesses) not thinking about their brand, not going through a brand exercise (even a small one) and skimping on their logo and brand development.
To me, this is like going to your wedding and not buying a suit, but rather putting on an old pair of shorts, wearing your worn out thongs and a $5 t-shirt you bought from K-Mart.
Simply put, what impression would you like to portray about your company? If you cannot afford a full brand project, then at minimum invest in your logo, it's going to be used everywhere, by everyone and placed on everything and you will get the most bang for your buck from investing in it.
At Marketing SME, for clients that only purchase logo development, we assure them that if they stay with us that we can work on developing all the aspects of their brand over time and we think about what their brand stands for right at the start of the project. It's very important.
4. Basic Sales & Marketing Material
Selling can be time consuming, and it will take even more time if you are constantly creating emails or meeting people to explain every query about your business. Developing a suite of sales and marketing material means that you only develop it once (or every so often give it an update). With this in place you can focus on closing the sale sooner.
- brochures & flyers
- eNewsletter templates
- digital sales presentations
- price & fact sheets
- case studies
- business stationary (branding)
5. Graphic Design
Finally, graphic design and creative simply takes your marketing to the next level where it highlights your professionalism and attention to detail.
Have you ever said 'Geez, I love how simple and clean that looks' , if so, then you don't realise that you appreciate the fact that you are viewing something that has intentionally been design and developed to capture attention and effectively communicate. Apple is a classic example.
If cost is a major factor, then developing templates that can be edited by the small business owner is a great option (for items that are more frequently changed). However, be aware that the trade offs of templates are that the quality and professionalism does diminish as the graphic designer will work to the limitations of the small business owners software capability for making updates.
Complete creative design is great for items that don't change regularly (such as brochures). Graphical design assets can be developed for highlighting the businesses key benefits and brand.
Key strengths of creative design include the development of infographics, stock image retouching, layout development, typesetting and general creative direction and concept design. This is a science that should be respected.
At Marketing SME we take great pride in ensuring that our brand is developed with intent and that creative is used as effectively as possible to tell our story. A lot of thought goes into the messaging prior to any design is briefed into our creative department.
The list is not that long and having the essentials is completely achievable. The key is to start with a small list based on the businesses priorities to achieve sales and then grow the marketing over time as the new sales opportunities and challenges present themselves.