The key to boosting your chances of surviving and thriving is to have clarity, consistency and to make every marketing dollar count by only focusing on opportunities right for your business.
Get to Know Your Desired target markets
Eliminate the scattergun approach in your marketing by being clear about who your ideal client is and where you can find them. Spend time to profile your ideal clients. Work out which social networking platforms they use, what they read, what they listen to and what they watch. Start to engage with them on a personal level.
Use Cost Effective strategies
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are free, and advertising on them is very targeted and cost effective. Paid ads or sponsored stories on Facebook can provide you with many leads. If you provide something free or something of value that showcases your expertise, you will get people wanting to engage
Free publicity is very valuable, gives you credibility and is easy to get if you develop the right relationships, have effective writing skills and remember to follow up.
Be Found Online
Get you website optimised using basic SEO practices so that you can be found online by potential clients when they search for words and phrases related to your business. List your business with free online directories like Bloo, Hotfrog, Gumtree and Google Maps or use Google Adwords to advertise your business online.
Strategic partners will help your marketing dollars deliver a better result through joint promotions. Your partners should offer services that are complimentary to your business. Ensure they are reputable, deliver on their promises and will add value to your brand image.
Test and Measure Your Campaigns
Set up criteria for every marketing campaign you plan and test the results you get. You will see what worked well and what needs to be changed the next time. It can be as easy as just asking the question “How did you hear about us?”
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If you’re an SME Owner or you want to know how to start a small business in the future, this article will be useful for you.
By educating your target market consistently, you can start building a relationship that will establish your credibility and trust with them. But first you need to consider a number of steps in order to formulate a successful marketing plan.
- Work out who your target market is, who your ideal client is. Do some simple research by asking as many relevant people as you can in order to find out more about your target market. What are their likes / dislikes / frustrations / wants & needs?
- Figure out what products and services you can offer your ideal clients to address their wants and needs. What problems do your products & services solve for your customer? What are the solutions that your ideal client is looking for? What will differentiate you from others in the marketplace? What will be your pricing strategy?
- Work out the geographical and psycographical features of your target market - where are your customers located geographically and what are they thinking/ what do they like/dislike? Where will you position yourself so they can easily find you? How will you channel your marketing message to them? Will you speak to a few select groups, will you advertise, hold seminars, or write a blog or articles?
- Ask yourself why your clients should trust you? Why should they choose your product or service over your competition?
- Develop a unique selling proposition (USP) which states your promise and sets you apart from your competitors.
- Figure out how your customers can buy your product or service? How will you provide customers or clients with the information they need to make their buying decision?
- Work out a marketing budget. A good way to do this is to figure out how much profit an average client will be worth to your business in a year. If you have a target number of new customers as a goal, you can calculate how much you can afford to spend to acquire them. You take the amount of profit you’d expect to average from each new customer in a year, multiply that by the number of new customers desired and then work out a percentage of that to add to your marketing budget. For example, lets say each customer was worth $1000 in profit to you per annum and that you had a goal of gaining 100 new clients in the year. If that was achieved, you would gain $100,000 in profit. On this basis, you could then allocate say 40% of this - or $40,000 - to a marketing budget for the year. This is an exact way to budget how much you can actually spend to reach your goals but you’ll also need to work out the cost of keeping the clients you already have. Bear in mind that it costs between 6 and 7 times as much to acquire a new customer as to keep one you already have!
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Since every business’s marketing needs and costs vary significantly, there are no simple rules for determining how much you should spend on marketing your business. However, here are some common methods of determining your annual marketing budget. They are listed in my order of preference for local SME’s in Perth.
1st - Client Profit Value Model
If you can figure out how much profit an average client is worth to your business in a year, this will give you a good idea of the value of each client.
If you have a target number of new customers as a goal, you can calculate how much you can afford to spend to acquire them. You take the amount of profit you’d expect to average from each new customer in a year, multiply that by the number of customers desired and then work out a percentage of that to add to your marketing budget. For example, lets say each customer was worth $1000 in profit to you per annum and that you had a goal of gaining 100 new clients in the year. If that was achieved, you would gain $100,000 in profit. On this basis, you could then allocate say 40% of this - or $40,000 - to a marketing budget for the year.
This is an exact way to budget how much you can actually spend to reach your goals but you’ll also need to work out the cost of keeping the clients you already have. Bear in mind that it costs between 6 and 7 times as much to get a new customer as to keep one you already have!
2nd - Budget as a percentage of revenues
A common way that businesses set marketing budgets is by setting an amount based on a certain percentage of their total revenues or gross sales – normally this is somewhere between 2% and 10% depending on your industry type. For example, retail and business‐to‐consumer companies may need to spend more than 10%, at least in the initial years of operation. My view would be that if you are just starting out, as a general guide you should look to spend between 20% to 30% of expected revenue in your first year when you’re trying to get yourself established. If you have an established business, this figure might be more like 5%. The benefits of this method is that it is easy to work out but involves a bit a guesswork, especially if you are just starting out or if the year ahead looks turbulent in your industry!
3rd Benchmark your budget against your industry average
There are regular surveys undertaken which look at the average marketing dollars as a % of revenue spent in certain industry sectors, which should help you to benchmark. (eg Schoenfeld & Associates Consultants of Lincolnwood, Illinois conducted a survey that had TV, radio, electronics sector spending at 5.3%, Computer sector spending at 5.1%, Investment advice sector spending 8.6%). The beauty of this method is that you are basing your decision on actual data taken from hundreds of actual marketers BUT these are averages and will give you a guide only – your business and local market conditions will impact whether you need to budget the industry average or more or less.
4th Competitor analysis
Working out what your key competitors are spending will enable you to budget to equal or better their amount. For example, if you asked your local media or advertising agency if they could draw up for you a media plan that made you outspend your competitor, this would give you a good idea of how much your competitor was spending. However, if your competitor does a lot of below-the-line advertising and marketing (eg niche e‐mail marketing, direct mail, personal networking, etc). – you will not be able to get any concrete figures from these activities.
Finally some cautionary tips
- No marketing budget is perfect. Which ever method you choose, remember to
- Build a contingency fund of between 10‐15% because you can never predict what challenges and/or opportunities your business will face in the coming year
- Don’t spend all of your money on just one marketing method
- Do spend your budget across various media (Your most cost-effective activities include networking, Internet marketing, word of mouth referrals)
- Set reasonable expectations – be prepared to wait a while before you see any reasonable return on your investment
Needing any more help?
Call us on 9382 8880.
Press releases offer up-to-date news about your company to the media. This news could be about a new product or service, a new contract won, a new research survey, new staff appointments etc. Importantly, your business can create positive awareness - and avoid negative news - if the press release is constructed properly. As a prime communication tool to your audience, it is vital that your Press releases are written to enhance your brand rather than sending out mixed messages.
10 tips to remember
- Keep it short and concise. Journalists are busy people who can smell an overblown story so don’t oversell your news
- Create a headline that will tantalise your audience. Make sure it is descriptive, concise and provokes the audience to read on.
- Add a sub-heading to create interest and to continue the angle of the headline using buzz words that your audience will easily understand.
- The first paragraph should address what the article is about, who it involves, what happened and why it is of interest.
- The next paragraphs should expand on what was described in the lead paragraph, providing further details and information.
- Keep your copy dynamic and to the point – do not over elaborate.
- Your press release should range from one to two pages in length.
- Finish the Press Release with your contact details so that the Journalists can contact you if they require any more information.
- Hyper-link key words or phrases to your company website or your YouTube video.
- Get someone else to edit and proof read your Press Release before sending it off.
- Focus on a few key search phrases that you think are most relevant to your business. If you aren’t sure what to choose, do some basic research by asking your friends, work colleagues or business associates what words they would search for when sourcing products or services that you supply.
- Look at what keywords or phrases your competitors are using, and try to differentiate your phrases from theirs, so that you can gain a higher ranking than your competition for that phrase.
- Make sure your own and claim a Google places listing and a Google Maps listing for your business.
- Try to get customer reviews for your Google Maps listing as this will increase your ranking.
- The number of local searches is increasing exponentially, so remember to choose a word in your phrase that specifies your location ( eg Accountants Perth or Physiotherapy Subiaco) and to optimise your website for local search.
- Submit as much information through articles, blogs etc to relevant web directories, online groups, forums etc as you can to increase your site’s relevance.
- Build links and link exchanges as the major search engines rank your site on the number of links and their relevance to your site PLUS the relevance of your site to the key words that you have chosen.
- Make sure your meta tags reflect your key words or phrases and that your site content is peppered with your key phrases.
- Focus on one key phrase per product or service offering.
- Ask your clients to link to your website and return the favour.
- Start a blog and start sharing.
- Make your web content interesting so that people pass it on.
- Send your website link to relevant industry websites or bloggers related to your business
- Make sure your web content is regularly updated.
- Use Title tags that accurately reflect your business and match with your key phrases. Keep them to less than 70 characters.