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Effective marketing for small business


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When starting out as a startup or entrepreneur, or as a small business, it's important to steer clear of those commonly held marketing myths.

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Effective marketing for small business

  1. 1. ////The Unlucky 13 Effective Marketing for Entrepreneurs & Small Business Presented at Show Your Colours, Amsterdam, 7 April 2011 Brant Emery Twitter: @brantemery Website:
  2. 2. Get it right, from the start We all want to do it our way. But steering clear of some common myths can help.
  3. 3. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>1. I should only think about marketing when my business is not doing well </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing is the planning and process of appealing to the right people. </li></ul><ul><li>Your market can be divided into two segments: </li></ul><ul><li>Customers who are seeking what you’re offering </li></ul><ul><li>Customers who don’t yet know they need your offering </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone can implement quick-wins to make sure they are easily findable by the first segment. That’s the essential start for all businesses and entrepreneurs. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask yourself, how would my market look for the service I offer? </li></ul>
  4. 4. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>2. My business comes from referrals: I don’t need to do marketing </li></ul>Referrals are the most powerful tools a company can have. However, the majority occurs face-to-face and only a small precentage online. So the reach and impact can be slow for small companies. No problem, you can help speed things up. Help your customers talk about you and your company. Video testimonials, help them Twitter, or Twitter about them, ask them to Like you on Facebook, create a success story of their custom with you. Just help feed the word!
  5. 5. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>3. Direct marketing via e-mail is ineffective </li></ul>Much of the bad press about emails comes from receiving spam, phishing, and such like. All, now, illegal practices. Make sure your recipients have opted-in (or give them a very clear way to opt-out). Email is an essential and effective communication method. Use it wisely. Just try to be timely, relevant, and succinct in your communications.
  6. 6. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>4. It’s too expensive or you need to be an expert to do marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing is not about spending money on advertising. See point 1. Focus on making yourself easily findable as a key place to start. Only push based marketing really requires investment and that’s only needed if you need to expand. </li></ul><ul><li>Places to start: </li></ul><ul><li>Have a website that is clear, optimally structured for search engines, and tells your story </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you continue strong relationships with existing / past customers </li></ul><ul><li>Take time out to think: what’s next, what’s happening in the market, who are your customers (trends), and how have you done so far? </li></ul>
  7. 7. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>5. If I lower prices, I’ll get more customers </li></ul>A common mistake. Competing on price is never the right move for small business, unless that’s your model (e.g. discount warehouse). Once you lower your prices, you devalue your offering. Look for low-cost ways you can enhance your service or product (if you have products, can you add a service that brings value?). Price is also not the barrier people commonly think it is. It’s all about perceived value.
  8. 8. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>6. Offering customers more options will boost sales </li></ul>Complexity is never the simple solution. Less is more. If you’re coming to this solution, then you don’t have a clear understanding or insight into your market. If you’re adding a service or feature, that’s different; but these should come from clear understanding of how it will benefit customers. Also think, are you communicating in the right way about your products / service? e
  9. 9. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>7. All publicity is good publicity </li></ul>A dangerous myth. Still believed by many. Practice and research has consistently shown this to be false. Context is everything. People also tend to programme bad connections more easily than positive ones. Even after hearing good stories about a brand, people still recall the bad one faster. In smaller markets, bad publicity can also be doubly damaging.
  10. 10. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>8. Facebook isn’t for me. And many other Facebook myths... </li></ul>Following is some excerpts from a great infographic from
  11. 11. ©
  12. 14. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>9. I need to use social media </li></ul>On the flip side, only use social media platforms if you’re sure. Ask yourself: Are my customers here? Will I be saying something relevant? What’s my goal? Do I have the time?
  13. 15. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>10. I’m not a brand; a brand is ‘intangible’ </li></ul>A brand is not a logo. A brand means thinking with all aspects of your business together in one, unique, all encompassing set of principles, goals, and vision. Brand thinking can be applied by everyone. The term intangible comes from accountants and is misused by many. For example, soup is made of ingredients which can all be bought, stored and thus accounted for on a balance sheet. A soup brand comes from the skills and knowledge of your staff and the perception of customers, having no physical mass, but yields very tangible results.
  14. 16. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>11. Customers can be brand loyal </li></ul>The concept of brand loyalty does not exist as it is commonly defined. Brand loyalty originated from identification of purchase behaviours in consumers. It originally defined a type of consumer with a brand purchase probability of >0.12 in a specific category. For example, all other factors being equal, a person who would reach for one brand of instant coffee over 12% of the time when shopping. Hardly what most people believe brand loyalty means!
  15. 17. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>12. Knowledge is the key sales tool and price is a valid excuse </li></ul>This is not completely untrue, but in a small company you are often the CEO, R&D scientist, marketing and salesman in one. The single most important determinant for successful salespeople is the ability to build trust. Good conversational skills are key: listening, questioning, relating, good body language, active voice. As a salesman in a corporation you learn price is never the reason. If a customer says “the price is too high, I don’t have budget” – it’s a signal for negotiation, they are interested. It’s not a no until they say “No”.
  16. 18. ////13 Marketing Myths <ul><li>13. It’s easy to market services </li></ul>Marketing services is harder than products. The key factors are trust, proof of success, and availability. Differentiating your business is key. This is hard, but easier for small companies – because it’s you. What makes you, you? As a sole operator or small company, you’re marketing yourself. But if you ask: how can I be at many places at once? Then use video, social media, help happy customers spread the word, be easily findable, find ways to ‘prove’ you are good at what you do.
  17. 19. <ul><li>You can do it your way. </li></ul><ul><li>I hope this helps avoid some common potholes on the road to success. </li></ul><ul><li>Brant Emery </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>