Category: Target Market

Marketing For Small Business

Being smart with marketing ensures the success of your business by attracting more customers, and keeping them coming back. Small businesses are the backbone of the Irish economy — and you know you need to look after your back!

Whether you own a bakery or a finance business, you need no-nonsense marketing strategies to secure a greater share of the market. Empower yourself to apply clever marketing plans and ideas without breaking the bank, or your back.

Making Marketing Work in Your Small Business

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be a good marketer. But neither is there a silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution. Every small business is different — the marketing plan and tactics for a mortgage broker are entirely different from those of a computer reseller. However, the process of building a plan, sticking to it and applying the time and resources it needs is the common secret to success in marketing.

Remember the purpose of marketing is to help your customers, or potential customer, in the decision making process.

Here are few tips to help you be brilliant at marketing:

  • Put your customers first. Understanding who your customers are, what makes them tick and what they really want and value, and of course staying in touch with them long after the sale, puts you ahead of the competition.
  • Know your target market. ‘Anyone who is breathing’ is not a target market! Targeting your marketing activities fairly and squarely at the people who need and want your service or product is the secret to creating quality enquiries and getting prospects to open their wallet.
  • Understand that marketing is not advertising. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that advertising and websites are the only two ways to attract more business. You can market your small business in literally hundreds of ways, so it pays to know what they are and then eliminate the ones that won’t work, or that you can’t afford, up-front.
  • Get a handle on the seven Ps of marketing. Getting your product, pricing, placement strategy (distribution) and promotional strategy as well as people, processes and physical evidence, working together is crucial to good marketing.
  • Know who you are. As important as understanding who your customer is, you need to identify and spell out which is the problem you solve and why you are the best option.
  • Get the know-how. Knowing what not to do when it comes to marketing is as important as knowing what to do. Let’s face it, the world of marketing can be tricky to navigate. Identify what you need to learn and seek for help if you don’t know where to start.
  • Set sales goals and targets. Marketing really is a numbers game. Marketing efforts that won’t directly or indirectly bring in new business have absolutely no point. Know what your goals are in terms of revenue, expenses, profit, number of enquiries and, of course, number of new sales.

Essential Tools for Good Business Marketing

If you’re armed with the marketing essentials you can’t help but succeed in attracting new prospects and bringing in more business. Spend some time on getting your marketing toolkit in place and be prepared at all times.

Here are a few items to pack into your marketing toolkit:

  • A plan and a budget: Getting a plan that will support you for years to come is essential to keep you on track. It doesn’t need to be as thick as a book, but it does need to be written down, clearly communicated to your team and acted on day by day — even when business is booming.
  • A great product or service: Advertising your business has no point if the customers don’t want, value or love what you have to offer. Make sure you do your research and listen to your customers before sending your product or service out to the market.
  • A professional brand: A brand is much more than a logo. Your brand is the experience a customer has when dealing with you or your business. It encompasses everything they see, hear, think and feel about your business. Invest up-front in developing a brand that stands out from the crowd. A great customer experience is the best marketing tool!
  • Powerful marketing materials: Your business card, sales brochures, sales letters, website, signage and uniforms speak volumes about your business. Make sure they look professional and appealing at all times.
  • An elevator pitch: In the course of marketing your business you’ll get asked thousands of times ‘What do you do?’ Don’t make the mistake of boring the poor person who asked the question. Make sure you have a fun, interesting and memorable pitch ready at all times — and be able to deliver it in the time it takes to travel a few floors in an elevator.
  • A simple database: The backbone of all good marketing is about building a solid database of past, present and future customers (prospects) so you can keep in touch and communicate regularly via e-newsletters, emails and phone.
  • A brilliant website: Your website must attract attention and give value to those who visit. Use it as a tool to retain and keep in touch with existing customers as well as for enticing new customers. The online world can be very scary to many small-business owners, but, if you don’t embrace it, you may find yourself out of business.

Clever Ideas to Market Your Small Business

You don’t need to spend buckets of money on marketing. Creativity and dare to do something different, can be the difference between business success and business failure. Here are just a few ideas to market your business:

  • Attend networking events. It’s not what you know, but who you know. Get out there and network — meet and greet. You can never have too many friends in life, even if they don’t end up as customers.
  • Sponsor a local event or charity. It really does make you feel good to support your community, and everyone benefits — you, your staff, your customers, the people you sponsor and, of course, the community at large.
  • Host seminars and events. Hosting your own events and inviting along your best customers and some of their friends is a great way to get to know people, connect at a personal level and build deep relationships.
  • Collaborate with other businesses. Identify businesses who are serving the same customer you are targeting and engage with them to create complementary service, referrals, talks, events, etc. You will all benefit!
  • Use social media. Using social-networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, producing your own videos for YouTube or writing your own blog are creative methods of letting people know about you and your business. Go on, have a bit of fun. You don’t need to do it all, choose the one where you will find most of your customers and ask them to share with their friends.

Top Marketing Tips for Businesses on a Low Budget

Most small-business owners, especially those starting out, don’t have lots of money to spend on marketing. While the old saying — you need to spend money to make money — is true, you can still generate new business without having to spend lots. Try a few of these tactics for a start:

  • Focus on relationship-building marketing strategies such as networking, building alliances with other businesses, and calling old customers, friends and people you once worked with.
  • Find people who are prepared to help you with marketing pro bono, on a commission basis or a uni student who’s studying marketing and might need some hands-on experience.
  • Sharpen your own online marketing skills and learn how to use key tools and write blogs, and market yourself on the social media sites.
  • Promote your business on free online directories and publish your articles on other websites with links to your site.

If you need help to identify the areas you need to focus for your business, drop us an email at hello@bbcs.ie for a free 30 minutes consultation.

Is it time to Ramp up, Restart, Reboot or Rethink?

COVID-19 continues to pose serious challenges for small business owners. Figuring out how to start again in its economic shadow will not be easy.

Is it safe to assume that things that worked before will still work in the coming months and years? Should assumptions about how businesses create value be reviewed? Will ongoing disruption bring opportunities as well as pressures? Might this actually be the best of all possible times to make changes?

Reality bites, but optimism endures 

The results of a recent survey published by the CSO early in June show that more than 70% of responding SMEs reported a decrease in turnover in 2020 compared to 2019. Almost a quarter saw turnover fall by more than half in the year and about 40% saw their turnover decrease by between 10% and 50%.

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More than half of enterprises changed their mode of operation due to the pandemic, the most common changes reported were developing an online presence, increasing operating hours and developing new products.

However, despite the challenges faced, the small business community, business owners and entrepreneurs are confident for summer 2021 and the second half of the year, according to a new report from Small Firms Association (SFA)

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In a different survey when 150 SMEs were asked about the developments they envisaged during the remainder of 2021. Their answers were equally split between Ramp up (I expect to experience strong growth based on pre-COVID-19 operations, strategy, product and service offering), Restart (with minor adjustments. I expect to more or less return to pre-COVID-19 performance, with some adaptations (e.g. social distancing, customer churn, minor reduction in employees, maintaining broadly same product/services, finance etc).) & Reboot (I expect to make significant adjustments outside the scope of pre-COVID-19 strategy/plans (e.g. developing new products/services, reducing employees, divesting assets, seeking new markets and sources of finance etc).

Nobody said that they might need to completely Rethink their strategy, and their answer

Dialogue: a key to successful change 

Extensive research with SME founders has shown how entrepreneurs manage the uncertainty generated by growth, revealing in particular how dialogue can encourage them to adapt to change.

Why is this so? Dialogue helps founders to develop critical self-awareness – to take their blinkers off, step outside their bubbles and hold themselves to account. It exposes personal bias and limitations that risk an unhealthy adherence to outdated assumptions. It identifies new opportunities that can bring increased performance and competitiveness.

With all this in mind, many business owners have shared their post-COVID-19 plans with someone. This demonstrates that entrepreneurs are investing time both in listening and, crucially, changing in the face of “new normals”. Continuing to gather diverse inputs will be vital to navigating the challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead.

From inputs to outcomes

A research piece from the Small Business Charter in the UK, suggests that dialogue is an important but frequently hidden tool that business owners can use to prepare for change. It is likely to be especially helpful as they contemplate their place in a post-COVID-19 economy.

It might not provide quick fixes. It might even prove frustrating initially. But it can give rise to many valuable insights into how to survive and thrive – precisely what is needed as founders try to build better, more resilient businesses.

The bottom line? Amid the turbulence of COVID-19, small business owners must continue to invest their time in sharing their own thoughts and seeking out those of others.

Whether ramping up, restarting, rebooting or rethinking – or exploring a combination of these options – it is good to talk.

3 Strategies to adapt your business to the new normal…

One year into COVID-19 and with all the changes we had seen in the last 12 months around consumer behaviours, all business owners are asking themselves “Which changes are permanent?”

Google’s latest trend report highlight three consumer trends emerging that businesses should keep in mind as they move forward:

  1. The pandemic has accelerated existing shifts in behaviour

  2. People need more help than ever navigating choice complexity

  3. People want relevant content and ads that respect their privacy

These trends are here to stay and this is how businesses can respond:

Everything is speeding up. The pandemic only has accelerated customer behavioural changes that were largely already underway. Google has seen this acceleration in search volumes. For example, search interest for the term “ideas” increased significantly in 2020 and continues to grow in 2021. The trend shows people are moving online for inspiration for shopping, cooking, and so much more.

Demand also shifted dramatically as people broke old habits. For example, swaps in search interest from “smart casual” to “lounge wear”.

Even now, customer behaviours remain unpredictable. For example, we’ve seen interest for “grocery stores” and “takeaways” unexpectedly shift to weekdays. The age-old phrase — “Change is the only constant” — certainly applies.

2. Be fast and helpful

We’ve all seen the value of being fast and helpful. The fact that consumer decision-making is increasingly complex and more and more businesses entered the online arena, means customers need more help than ever navigating the purchase journey. This presents a huge opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves, be helpful and present at the right time. They can provide consumers with the information and reassurance they need to make the right decisions at different stages of their buying journey. Automation can enable you to be there when needed, as well as to be agile enough to seize the opportunity to help consumers. Remember, only 1 to 10% of prospects are in the final stage of the buyers’ journey (choose supplier).

3. Build trust, every time

People’s behavioural shifts have been accompanied by rising expectations for relevance and online privacy. Brands have to work to build trust, every time.

A Google/Euroconsumer study has found nearly 70% of respondents believe the amount of personal data collected online makes it difficult for them to protect their privacy. Other research from 2020 shows 86% of consumers want more transparency over how their personal information is used.

This is not only relevant when it comes to online ads, when consumers prefer relevant, not random, ad experiences. They also expect businesses to deliver factual and interesting content to keep them engage.

Everything changes but the Key Principles of Marketing stay!

As consumer behaviours keep changing, new tools are being developed to help businesses and marketers better understand customer needs and respond more effectively.  However, the basic principles of marketing, still stand:

  • Who is my customer?
  • Which problem do they have (they don’t want)?
  • Which solution do they need (they don’t have)?
  • Which stage of the buying journey are they are? and finally
  • Why would they trust you?Find what matters to your customers

As we look to find what matters in this changed environment, brands that keep these three consumer trends — and three business opportunities — top-of-mind will be able to approach decisions with greater clarity and confidence:

  • Embrace acceleration
  • Be fast and helpful
  • Build trust, every time

Do you want to nail the basic principles of marketing? Check this video why all you know about marketing for small businesses is wrong



DISCLAIMER: All data comes from Think Google

Stop Wasting Your Resources!

Today you’re going to learn how to find a target market of potential customers so you aren’t wasting precious resources on blitz marketing. So, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:
  • What do people really want to buy from me?
  • What related products are they already buying?
Once you figure this out you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer share with. Come up with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your stores. The basic concept is this: You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for to market your products/services to. Then strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both businesses. As a result, you have an audience to market to and they generate an added value from their current base. So, how do you figure this out? There is a great formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success. LV = (P x F) x N – MC Here’s what it all means:
  • LV is the life time value of a customer
  • P is the average profit margin from each sale
  • F is the number of times a customer buys each year
  • N is the number of years customers stay with you
  • MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers. So, here’s your step-by-step process:
  1. Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
  2. Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
  3. Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.
If you need help working through this process, please contact us and we’ll set you up with the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.