For new and existing businesses, the process of finding new customers and expanding on existing sales is the greatest challenge. Sales are the lifeblood of your business, whether in retail or professional services. Therefore, finding new customers and retaining your existing ones is your greatest priority.
Expanding your brand’s awareness and reach and building upon current sales is a problem with multiple solutions, each depending on the right fit and specific need you have.
Marketing your business, then, is a significant priority. But how do you do so effectively without breaking your bottom line?
Before you rush out and expand on your marketing efforts, you need to do a bit of strategic work on the scope of your business and how you plan to fulfill any growth that may come as a result of your marketing efforts.
Strategizing your operations, that is, determining how you plan on delivering your product and organizing the roles within your organization that members have, is a good starting point.
Additionally, how you plan to fulfill any demands on growth and expansion should be part of your strategy so that when your business is booming, you’re not scrambling to get things accomplished in a timely fashion.
Creating a successful structure for your business will address the product offering, the price point needed to make a profit, the volume you’d like to see per sale, as well as put things like systems and operations in place to make your business operate effectively.
The structure is the decision-making process, the persons and departments responsible for actions, and the types of integrated systems and operations needed to make the business function.
Taken together, structure, systems, and operations are the pillars that a successful business is built upon.
How would your business find and attract new customers without a reasonable marketing effort? How you find and attract customers is in large part the most important aspect of growing your business.
The objective of any marketing strategy for small business startup success is based on good business communications about your products and with potential customers. Efforts can be from building websites and blogs to online retail, traditional media, and more.
There are three primary functions to your marketing, and each has a different outcome objective. You should see gains in your brand awareness, increased sales, and improved brand loyalty.
Expanding awareness of your brand is the first step in capturing new sales. If people don’t know about your products, it’s nearly impossible to sell them.
There are countless ways to improve brand awareness, and most traditional advertising accomplishes very little except for increased brand awareness.
The return on investment for this type of advertising isn’t measurable in dollars spent and gained. Instead, it’s a loss-leader, meaning that you’ll spend more than you’ll get in immediate return, but over time, that increase in brand awareness will hopefully lead to improved sales.
Depending on your advertising budget and needs, you can consider more traditional advertising from print media to radio and TV. However, these can be costly options, so many smaller businesses use social media advertising and guerilla marketing techniques to expand their brand awareness.
Examples of social media marketing include utilizing video platforms such as YouTube and Tik Tok or Instagram for exposure. The main difference between these formats, such as YouTube Vs TikTok, is the length and demographics of the users, and strategizing a plan for each that considers the type of users would be a good tactic.
Facebook is another social media tool that you can use to advertise either cheaply or even for free. For example, you can post events and happenings on a dedicated page for your business and promote it for a lower cost than traditional advertising, and even include an opportunity to interact with potential customers.
The objective of your marketing outreach is to educate and motivate people to make a purchasing decision about your product. Ideally, that decision will lead to new sales and expand your brand over time.
A strategy of new sales should include some level of brand awareness. You can promote your product offerings through sales, joint ventures, sponsorships, and the like which have a direct line from your marketing to an easy point of purchase for new customers.
For example, a restaurant that puts out a flyer to local addresses advertising a special “two-for-one” or happy hour discount should see a better return than a mailer that only promotes the business.
Finding new business is one thing. Getting repeat customers is the key. In fact, businesses with strong brand loyalty show considerably better profits over time than those that seek a single sale.
You lower your average cost per sale from marketing for every repeat customer, and selling to repeat customers is easier than new ones.
Consider the restaurant example discussed earlier.
A restaurant that offers a loyalty program that delivers exclusive rewards and discounts will create a better following that will help float your restaurant during slow periods. These brand loyalists will also act as ambassadors for your restaurant, offering free word-of-mouth advertising to friends, family, and colleagues.
Taking the approach of generating better awareness of your offerings, adding new sales to the ledger, and creating excellent brand loyalty should be the objective of every marketing strategy. To do anything otherwise is a failure of imagination and strategy on your part.