SMEs are the backbone of the UK. Small to medium sized businesses create local jobs and are working hard to improve the country’s economy. Many small businesses get by on pure passion, drive and ambition alone. However, what if your marketing activity could be improved?
Here at Stay Sourced we set ourselves a mission to create a guide that was full of useful advice and resources, rather than stereotypical business jargon. As a result the SME Marketing Guide 2014 was born. The objective? To drive more customers through your doors, more traffic to your website and more revenue in to your business.
SME marketing is a fundamental part of any business strategy; it can be the deciding factor as to whether your business is a success or not. Marketing can be seen as a daunting task, the truth is it doesn’t have to be, following some straight forward advice and a little creativity can take you a long way. Our guide will give you a helping hand to plan your marketing strategy in a straight forward and easy to read format.
We are passionate about helping to grow SMEs across the nation; we hope you share our passion and spread the word about the SME Marketing Guide 2014. Check out more features, case studies, interviews and more, in our dedicated SME marketing advice section.
We’ve put together this handy infographic to summarise the most important points (click to enlarge):
How to develop a marketing strategy
Using marketing advice and tips is one thing, but having a concrete marketing plan and strategy that understands who your target audience is, how you are positioned and what your key messages are is the core foundation to a successful business.
You may already have a marketing strategy in place but in the hustle and bustle of the business world, have you had time to sit down and examined the health of your existing strategies? You may be in the process of planning your business, is your marketing plan robust enough to be successful? Below you will find a helpful checklist to get your marketing strategy on the road to success.
Get your SWOT on
Analysing how well your current business performs is not only good for its overall performance but can also be a great asset for constructing a marketing strategy. All you have to do is a little SWOT analysis.
SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)
Identify any strength within the business such as specialist knowledge and skills, unique products, going the extra mile for the customer etc.
Find out what your weaknesses are and see if you can turn them around, this could be a limited marketing budget, low brand awareness, low footfall etc.
Identifying opportunities for your business can be a great asset for a marketing strategy. Don’t have a website, why not? Is there a new product/service you could offer, do you have an untapped market at your fingertips etc.
Any business has a threat whether it’s a new competitor or change in the economy; if you identify these early on you can put plans in place to overcome them.
Know your audience
It may sound obvious but why would you create a product or service that doesn’t appeal to anyone? The answer is you wouldn’t, but you would be surprised how many companies don’t conduct in-depth customer research. This isn’t just something you do at the start of your business, customer needs can change over time and new products could mean you have a wider audience to take advantage of.
Picking a location on where to market your business all depends on your physical location and the products/services you offer. If you have an online business the chances are you have a wider location potential, but if you are a brick and mortar establishment you may only be targeting your local area. Don’t waste money marketing in an area which will provide zero benefit to your business.
Having a well-planned marketing strategy is one thing, but how can you identify if it’s a success or not if you have no goals in place. Selects goals which are personal to your business, this could be increasing brand awareness, increase in products sales, more enquiries for your website etc.
Keep an eye on the competition
Analyse your competitors and see what they are doing to market their business. Check out what their marketing channels are, if they are promoting themselves on social media and if you don’t, why not? At the end of the day if you don’t know what your competition is doing how can you be better than them?
Get people talking
Whatever your business may be, you want to get the attention of the public or your customers. Keeping this at the forefront of a marketing strategy can help you gain the attention you desire. This can be achieved in many ways; an event, one off offers or maybe a free gift to help entice them in. Word of mouth marketing goes back generations as one of the most important marketing features of any business.
Make the Plan
Last but not least make sure you actually make the marketing plan! Having a physical copy of the marketing plan that everyone can use is very important. It’s something you can always refer to in the future to see if you are achieving your goals and if not you can always adapt your strategy. Find more advice on making a plan here.
So there you have it some tips and advice for creating a solid SME marketing plan. Make sure you put the time and effort in to make the perfect plan for your business. As the saying goes fail to prepare, prepare to fail. If you’ve got your own idea for a promotional item campaign, get in touch, we can help.