5 B2C Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
Setting up a small business is a huge step in your life. It’s likely that you’ll have had to generate funds with a start-up loan, borrowing from friends and family, or saving extensively for a while. So you’ll want your venture to be a success and make you a nice profit so that you can clear your debts and move things onward and upwards. Here are my top tips to help you market your small business to potential customers:
Identify your customer base
Carry out some research into the type of customers that you’re attracting already. If you have shop premises who is coming in? Ask them how they found you and record some simple data relating to age groups, gender etc. If you operate solely via an ecommerce platform then perhaps use the checkout process to ask one or two additional questions to help you identify your customer base. Try to put together a picture of who your customer is and how they’re using your product. Once you know who your existing customer base is you can target your marketing campaign towards them initially, and look at targeting other demographics in the future once you’re more established.
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If your business relies on selling products online then it’s really important that you invest a decent chunk of your budget into getting the best ecommerce website that you can afford. Nothing puts a potential customer off more than a poorly designed website that’s difficult to navigate. If it takes too long to find the product they want then they’ll go back to Google and search for another company! It’s also a good idea to have your product range photographed professionally. No matter how stylish and professional your website is, if you have poor quality product images then you will lose sales.
There are events and exhibitions all over the UK for almost every area of business. Look out for the events that match your area of business and sign up to their mailing list so that they can inform you of upcoming events. There’s usually a fee to have a stall or booth at an exhibition, but if your plan and organise properly you can get a great return on investment (ROI) from these events. For example if you’re an architect you could sign up to the London Architecture Diary and enquire about having a booth at one of the many exhibitions and events in the city throughout the year. To fully show off your skills as an architect it’s a great idea to find a good 3D printing company and have some prototypes of your building designs created. A 3D prototype that potential clients can pick up and touch can have much more impact than a computer aided image on a screen!
Communicate with your customers
Regular communication with your existing customers will keep you on their radar and encourage repeat sales. Try to build up a database of email addresses and send out regular updates. Fortnightly to monthly should be enough, you don’t want your customers to feel spammed. Social media is the best way to communicate directly with your customers. Facebook allows businesses to set up pages where you can schedule your posts, and there is software available that enables the same function on Twitter. Try to update Facebook around 3 to 4 times per day and Twitter around 6 to 10 times per day. Use social media to remind your customers how great your service and products are, any offers you currently have, links to your blog and website, and ask them questions to encourage interaction and build up your customer community.
It’s important to keep a record of who your customers are and where they’ve come from. If most of your customers come from social media then it would be a good idea to invest more time and money into this method of marketing. If you’ve been running an advert in your local newspaper at a cost of £200 per month and it’s not generating enough revenue to cover the cost of the advert then it’s time to pull the plug on that method! Most customers, when asked, will be more than happy to tell you who or what pointed them in your direction so try to get into the habit of asking. There’s no point wasting your hard earned profit on ineffective methods of marketing!