Building a business is not much of a fairytale, but it can be one of the best journeys ever. While it is often stressful, small businesses are often crafted with a personal passion and more often than not, these same businesses support the livelihood of a family, making its success vital.
In its recent National Small Business Survey 2017, the NSBC, shared the good, bad and forgotten tactics that small businesses reported. Mike Anderson, Founder and CEO of the NSBC, says that the most common area of activity needed, but also neglected, is marketing: “Each year we see the same trend, businesses need marketing, but either lack the funds or the know-how. We hope to assist in this area, providing wide-spread advice and training. This area has also evolved immensely over the years due to the pervasiveness of technology, leaving small businesses lacking.”
Anderson says that technology is a double-edged sword in marketing as it can greatly help a business, but also it can create issues were there were none: “You need to be aware of the tech-driven tools out there and only utilise what will work for your business and what you can manage efficiently and effectively.”
He shares five SME marketing tips for small businesses:
As with all marketing tools, you need to be aware of your audience, what will resonate with them and what tools to use to do it successfully. Things change, and being vigilant of what is relevant and powerful in your business, will help you select the appropriate tools.
Regardless of the tools you use, consistency is the silver bullet. Whatever you choose to do, do it properly and often. If you cash-strapped, choose one tool and use it as often as possible. It is common-sense in essence, as you only remember something or someone if you are consistently exposed to it. For example, if you choose to use social media, then post daily or weekly depending on your target audience and product or service. Your brand also needs to be used consistently throughout all your marketing. Make sure your brand execution is exactly the same regardless of the platform or the tool.
I can’t stress enough that a strategy has to be a careful balance of dynamism and steadfastness. Be dynamic enough to change and evolve as your market does, but don’t move too far away from your original strategy. Too many businesses panic and try change course mid strategy. Believe in your plan, stick to it, but find ways to ensure it is dynamic enough to survive market demands.
Marketing, as a result of the harsh economy and business climate, has become more personable, meaning that your brand needs to resonate with people more deeply than ever before. You have to thus connect with people, telling them more about who your business is, what your values are and why they should support it. This is done via a PR campaign mostly as PR is where the content is written and shared, either via the media or through blogs, websites and social media.
Building your brand
Brand-building does not need to be expensive or complicated. Again, choose an element and use it consistently. If you have chosen a heavy online strategy for example, then support it with banner advertising, blogging and website driven tactics. Focus and drive awareness while the PR drives the content and storytelling.
The NSBC, in association with World Famous Events recently hosted the 2017 South African Small Business Awards, acknowledging small and medium sized businesses that have a proven recipe for success and have, over the year, shown an incredible amount of grit and determination to succeed. These are exemplary businesses that prove it’s not impossible to succeed, while also playing a vital role in building a better tomorrow for the country. For more information on these awards visit www.smallbusinessawards.co.za.