A Great Start
Tips from Marketing Expert, Lesley Anderson
The pandemic has most certainly not affected all businesses equally. In the South West, home of the small business and sole traders, we’re still counting the cost and evaluating the impact on our local businesses. So, if you’re planning on re-launching or you’ve just started a new business, what can you do to get off to a great start?
ALLOCATE A MARKETING SPEND
I’ve seen this so many times! Business owners forget to include marketing spend in their business plan and then wonder why they aren’t hitting projected sales targets. When money is tight, it’s easy to underestimate how important marketing investment is. As a rule of thumb, young businesses should be spending 15 – 25% of turnover on marketing and start-ups should allocate a dedicated amount to whatever is the most appropriate channel to reach their target market. More established businesses with a reasonable market share should be spending 10 -15% of turnover on marketing.
GET THE BASICS RIGHT
Tap into the power of Google by setting up your Google My Business account and keeping it up to date. Ask people for Google reviews every time they purchase from you. Keep your website up to date and post regularly on your news page. Put links to those news items on your social media channels so Google sees that you’re getting traffic from across the internet. Optimise your website so that over time, you get found through organic search.
GO OVER THE TOP WITH YOUR LAUNCH
It’s a noisy market so don’t hold back on your pre-launch activities. Use every channel you have; get some press coverage; put up signs and posters; have a launch event and encourage people to talk about it online; invite lots of people to take part in your launch whether it’s in person or online.
Use the launch activities to start building an email database – email remains one of the best investments you can make, with relatively little cost financially or in your time. You can attract customers back by building loyalty and awareness through regular, well-presented emails.
PLAN YOUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY
How will your customers find you? What do they need to know, see or think before they’ll buy from you – and how will you offer them that evidence? Most people won’t commit to a purchase the first time they come across you but if you understand their typical journey, you can convert more of them to paying customers more easily.
For example, are they now buying online rather than visiting the high street shops? In which case, use Google ads to find people looking for your product or service. Google ads should be set up by someone who can do the research into keywords and search terms and who will set up the adverts to convert clicks into enquiries or sales. It’s easy to blow your budget if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Can you capture emails in exchange for downloads? This is a great way of building a database of people interested in your service and is GDPR compliant, as long as you are transparent about it and give them the chance to opt out easily.
It’s an exciting time when you launch a business, or even if are re-launching. Even if you allocate 10 minutes a day to your marketing, you’ll be helping to make sure you succeed. Good luck!