Small to medium businesses (SME’s), make up the majority of our economy and as such having a small business marketing plan can prove highly beneficial. Official figures published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills show that the number of private sector businesses in the UK has reached 4.9 million, eclipsing the record levels of the previous year. Those businesses employing fewer than 50 employees make up nearly half of all businesses and account for a third of private sector turnover.
So it’s easy to see the importance of the small business sector and why it is key the UK’s continued economic growth. However, on the flip side ….. Going back to 2012, according to Bis.gov, more than 400,000 new businesses were set up but 20% of those new businesses failed within the first year and 50 per cent won’t be around by 2015.
Obviously the economic environment plays a part, as well as limited lending and investment opportunities but these external issues should by no means be detrimental to the potential success and growth of the small business. So, how can SME’s effectively get their message out there, embrace a small business marketing plan, enhance brand awareness and generate sales enquiries without having huge budgets at their disposal……
With on-line marketing techniques continuingly evolving, the small business owner can now implement an effective marketing strategy, to achieve desired sales goals within a budget framework that is acceptable.
Tactics such as; social media marketing, e-marketing, content marketing, on-line PR, blogs, networking (on-line and organised meetings) are all very cost effective measures that can be implemented to achieve a desirable R.O.I. However, none of these tactics outlined are quick fixes to instant sales, it takes time, and it’s very much a nurturing process. Gaining trust, credibility and building strong relationships are the name of the game to attract new customers in today’s instant, information rich society.
Have a plan, utilise a mix of key tactics but allow a realistic time framework for these initiatives to start yielding results. For example, social media marketing can prove very effective but you need to be posting quality content several times a day, every day and initially will need to allow around 6 months for brand awareness, SEO, improved web traffic and strong networks to start to be developed.
Of course I could go into much more detail regarding the on-line marketing methods mentioned, best techniques to use, analysis, optimising performance but the main objective for this post is to emphasise cost effectiveness. That for the small business owner, thousands of pounds doesn’t need to be spent on flash advertising and PR. These key tactics can be integrated and implemented over a realistic time frame to achieve the desired results. Of course your competitors may well be doing the same, so I re-iterate the content developed for all media channels always needs to be relevant, informative, engaging and frequent.