GETTING STARTED WITH MARKETING – AN SME’S GUIDE
So, you’ve taken the plunge and started a new business, now you’re thinking about getting started with Marketing – maybe it’s been on your mind for years or maybe you’ve had a flash of inspiration and just had to do it. Either way starting a new business is no small feat so well done you!
Once the initial excitement has faded and you’ve called in all the favours you can from your network you may feel a little deflated thinking about how to grow your baby into a fully-fledged income generating business. If that’s you then you’re in the right place. At Purple Penguin Marketing we work with SME’s at all stages from just starting out to well established – and we know a thing or two about how to get the most out of your Marketing.
Before we get started, let’s address some myths around Marketing for SME’s – we often hear that Marketing is a secondary or a cost that SME’s just can’t afford. If you’re thinking about large scale, expensive agency costs then you’d be right, it’s difficult for Small Businesses to stomach huge set up and monthly costs. At Purple Penguin Marketing we absolutely understand the need for scalability and absolute cost control, as well as value for money in everything we do and quickly.
Where should Small Businesses start with Marketing?
It’s tricky for Small Businesses to know where to start with their Marketing strategy, do you head for Search, Social, Organic? A mix of all? The key to getting started is to understand your audience, get under the skin of where they are most likely to engage with you and why. If you’re a services Business, then define who your target audience are and importantly draft a list of all the problems that you can solve for your audience.
For E-Commerce businesses then Search & Shopping is a great place to start, as a general rule of thumb, the shopping and search platforms (like Google, Amazon & Bing) are much closer to the point of purchase than the social channels. As they’re closer to the buying decision these platforms are ideal to help businesses reach new customers that are actively looking for products.
If you think these could be the right channels for you then take a look at the keyword planning tools and search volumes for keywords that you think your customers might use – understanding the keyword volumes can help you write content and build ads that specifically target these searches.
Working with tools like Facebook’s Audience Manager or LinkedIn’s Campaign builder can give you a good feel for the size and scale of your audience but be sure to check out your competition and where they’re active. If your nearest and dearest are investing in a particular channel it’s a good indicator that your audience will be active on that channel also – if you’d like some help digging into the detail of what your competitors are doing be sure to check out our Free Audit Tool here.
How important is a Website for Small Businesses?
Your website is the lifeblood of your business, even if you’re not in E-commerce or selling directly via your website it’s still your showcase to the world so getting it right is essential. If you’re just getting started with Marketing, then some key areas to consider are:
- Presenting your brand – make it easy, clean and distinct
- Speed and Accessibility – speed is critical to your customers’ potential experience with you, according to Google even a 1 second delay can significantly decrease your conversion rates, so keep speed at the forefront of your mind
- Conversion – whether it’s a sale or a lead, make your contact and conversion process as quick and simple as possible.
We’re proud of our web portfolio and the results that it generates for our clients – to check it out click here Web Design and Build.
How can Small Businesses use Social to grow?
Social is a great way to build brand awareness and engage with your customer community – better still it can be an ideal forum to understand your audience. It can also be a cost-effective tool for getting your brand in front of potential customers for a relatively low cost.
For FMCG retailers and E-Commerce sellers it can be an ideal platform to set up additional shopping marketplaces with low or zero costs via Instagram & Facebook shops. For Service Providers and B2B Businesses channels like LinkedIn are invaluable to establishing your brand and showing the world your presence.
For any new business getting started with Marketing and just starting out with social it’s well worth bearing in mind some key “rules” that will stand you in good stead on your journey to success:
- Give Value – in everything you do or talk about across all social platforms remember that your audience are real people, not a bunch of potential customers. Understanding what drives them and helping them on journey is a great way to build a following.
- Listen – your audience have the insight you need to be successful, after all they’re your potential customers and should be your number one source of intelligence, ask for their opinion and really listen to the responses.
- Be consistent – a sparse feed or posting in the midnight hours is probably not the best way to connect with your audience. Understand when your audience are online and most active and consistently join conversations on their terms.
- Speed – Responses are key to building a good social audience, be timely and respond to your customers in the way that you would want to be responded to.
- Automate – We’re all busy and in the throes of running a business your social work can be undone if you suddenly can’t make time to respond or add value. A good agency like Purple Penguin can help and tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can save you hours of work in the long run.
How can Small Businesses use Search & Shopping to grow?
Whenever we talk with new clients’ we’ll always look at the point in the buyer journey at which they want new clients to find them. In most cases new business will want to engage with a buyer at the closest point to a purchase decision and that’s where a good Search and Shopping strategy can pay you dividends.
Google’s Shopping function has grown exponentially over the last few years and according to some sources now accounts for 65% of all Google Ad clicks. If you’re an E-Commerce retailer then Shopping should be on your wish list – in fact one of our clients achieved 495% ROI in just their first month – If you’re not sure how to get started Google has a host of helpful guides or give us a call and our team can help you talk through the plans and get your started.
Getting started with Search is a little trickier than shopping but that shouldn’t put you off – Search is a huge part of driving traffic, leads and of course sales for many businesses. If you are just getting started, then you’ll want to think about both organic and paid search. Paid Search or PPC can be a good kick starter to help you drive traffic and leads to your site but shouldn’t be launched without a good plan behind you. Search can be an expensive thing to get wrong so get help before you do launch and make sure you’ve scoured the keyword lists and have optimised your site to drive real engagement with those term.
Organic Search can be a longer-term strategy but that doesn’t mean you should neglect it – in fact most consumers (both B2C and B2B) trust organic search results much more than they do Paid Ads so it’s well worth investing your time and outsourced spend into SEO. If you’re just getting started with Marketing and want some help with Organic Search or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) then these top tips will help get you on your way.
Understand your audience – understand what they’re looking for, searching for and what their current options are. Build your content to really help your customers achieve something more or stage your site to give them the best options – however you do it make sure you’re adding real value to their world.
Cluster your keywords – Keyword clustering is a good way to help you rank for more competitive terms – once you’ve done your research and mapped out your content structure then think about how to collectively link your smaller key words and phrases together to drive your audience to your primary keywords. As ever if there’s something we can help with in supporting your business growth we’re here to help, getting started with Marketing can be exciting and getting hands on experience is always useful.
So, there you have it our quick run-down of getting starting with Marketing for SME’s – of course there’s loads more we could cover, from Brand Identity to Content Marketing, Video and Lead Gen. Every Small Business is different, and we know first-hand just how much value Marketing can add to your bottom line, it’s what we do every day so if we can help with your journey then get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.