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Creating an effective marketing strategy for your small business in South Africa

Your small business’ marketing strategy can save or sink your business.  Marketing is crucial as the need for client engagement and satisfaction rises daily. As such, you need to have an effective marketing strategy in place.  This article highlights several important factors you should take into consideration when creating a solid marketing strategy.  

Keep in mind that the use of effective marketing techniques can help your small business accelerate from one level to the next.  It is thus relevant to plan and execute your strategies constructively.  Here are some of the strategies you may find helpful in creating a reliable foundation for your marketing initiative.

Invest in search engine optimization

Once your marketing goals are established, search engine optimisation (SEO) should feature strongly among your arsenal of online marketing tactics.  SEO has changed the face of online marketing in terms of boosting organic keyword search rankings.

Nowadays having a great website is step one in terms of developing an online presence.  But effective SEO is the difference between a site that receives quality leads and conversions and one that is more cosmetic or ‘ornamental’.

Network

One of the oldest forms of marketing strategies that the business elite consider fundamental till today – is networking.  You can network with like-minded individuals in your industry or even with upcoming young entrepreneurs.

This enables you to forge synergistic partnerships, create brand exposure, build authority and even capture new clients who need your product or service immediately.

Networking is no longer limited to attending seminars and launches, you can engage with other entrepreneurs and intermediaries from anywhere via social such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others.

Make use of social media

Social media is more than a networking tool.  These are incredible resources that are affordable channels to market your products, services and connect directly with your customers.  Making use of social media management applications such as SocialFlow or Sprout Social can save you time and make you more productive.

These platforms are easy to use and you can monitor, reserve and manage your posts seamlessly.  Also consider the third-party services of an expert content writer or copywriter to handle your posts and engagement, if budget permits.

Know your target audience

A core component of creating any effective marketing strategy is knowing your target market.  Get to know more relevant insight by employing to investigate the habits and interests of your customers.  This will allow you to create campaigns that more accurately address their needs.

Economically, this is crucial as a business can only continue by supplying its products and services to a market where there is an existing demand.

Practice public relations

Regular public relations (PR) practices can reinforce your brand’s presence considerably.  Use PR activities such as press releases, promotions, website updates and blog releases among other media platforms, to spread awareness about your small business.  Apart from marketing your products and creating awareness, PR is also necessary for reputation management.

Every business has to deal with criticism, dissatisfied clients and even malicious public or competitor responses from time to time.  It is thus becoming more important for businesses to protect their brands by having good PR systems in place.  A sound strategy will be able to address concerns, defend the brand, mitigate negative reactions and on the whole, protect the business’ integrity and public image.

A medium and long term marketing strategy is crucial.  Some of the age-old gigantic brands still engage in extensive marketing to date.  The level and effort placed on your marketing tactics when formulating an overall strategy will go a long way to supporting the growth of your business.  And the time and money invested now will no doubt yield dividends in the long run.

Proudly brought to you by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).

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