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5 Simple marketing tips for small businesses

You must discover your target market and give them what they want.
You must discover your target market and give them what they want.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Complex simplicity perfectly describes marketing. Marketing is essential when owning and operating a small business. This is how you will brand your business, sell yourself, reach your target demographic, drive more traffic to your website or storefront, and ultimately increase your customer base. It is as simple as and as complex as getting your products and services in front of the right people at the right time. Although it sounds extremely easy, putting words into action can prove to be more difficult, especially without a viable strategy.

A marketing strategy is a key component. It helps save time and money, two things that you do not want to waste as a small business owner. The main goal of your marketing strategy is to help you find out what your target market wants and how to get them that and more. Your strategy will also allow you to measure your successes and opportunities and make revisions where needed. If you currently own a small business or plan to do so, here are a few tips that may help you strategize or revise your marketing strategy.

Research

This step may be the most important because it gives you the information you need to streamline and optimize your game plan. You will need to discover if there is a market for your product or service.. If there is, focus your research on how to reach that market. If there is not a current market for your product or service, then revise what it is you are offering or research how to create a market for your unique offering. South Carolina’s Business One Stop website offers many great resources for small businesses.

Start a relationship with your market

After determining to whom you are marketing your products and services, get to know them. What do the customers in this market enjoy, participate in , believe, etc? How do they engage with the products and services they purchase, digitally or physically? Is your market emotional, techy, traditional? You will need to approach your market as if you are starting a new relationship. Get to know them. Listen to them. Respond appropriately. Interact with them. Also remember to pay attention to trends and to the actions of big businesses. Marketing is not just selling. Connecting is what keeps your brand relevant.

Extend your reach

Once you have a strong grasp of your market, you then can extend your reach nationally or even globally. Social media is great for this. You may live in South Carolina, but thanks to social media you are able to reach people all over the world without leaving your computer. Look for local organizations and media sources that will allow free or inexpensive press releases. Be a guest contributor to blogs within your industry. Participate in interviews on topics that relate to your industry, your market, and your products and/or services. The Radio Guest List website will help you find different radio stations on which you can be a guest expert.

Build a professional circle

Association can truly help validate your brand. Network and partner with other professionals and businesses. By working with other businesses that have great reputations and followings, it can help your business gain a great reputation and following as well. This can be done many ways. One way in particular is by becoming a sponsor for a charity event hosted by a well known charity. You could also co-host events with organizations as well. Just be sure that the companies with whom you are choosing to associate and partner have the same values and ethics as you . This is important because just as much as partnering with the right professionals can boost your reputation, partnering with the wrong professionals can ruin your reputation. South Carolina’s Information Highway website is a great place to find other companies in the state and calendar events to meet other business owners.

Sing the song that doesn't end

In that children’s song it states, “This is the song that doesn’t end. It goes on and on my friend...you’ll continue singing it forever just because this is the song that doesn’t end.” This rings true for your marketing strategy as well. Markets, trends, customers, and business are always changing. Because of this truth, your market strategy will always change with them. Don’t fret. Just create a method for the madness. First be sure to adopt a checks and balances process for your strategy to determine what needs to change and what continues to work well. Next do not assume you know what your market wants. Always stay up on the trends. Do not be afraid to scrap your ideas for ideas that lead to results.