Small Business Marketing Strategies: Small Businesses and Branding

Branding is essential in effective small business marketing. Many people mistakenly operate under the illusion that branding is something that applies only to big business. However, effective branding is how you influence what your customer thinks of your company, and it’s just as relevant to smaller businesses. In this article we look at how to build a consistent and strong brand for your business.There are many benefits to strong branding. In a crowded marketplace, you can present your business in a unique manner so it will stand out. By developing a strong brand, you can influence the thoughts and emotions of your customers, increase customer conversion and retention.Amazon’s Jeff Bezos explains it to a T. ‘A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do things well.’ Polo, Ralph Lauren, and Nike sell products because of their brand and logo. People want those brands as part of their lifestyle, and as a part of their own identity. However, a brand is not just a logo, it has several components:market positioning – is it a commodity or a luxury service or product?
pricing
categorization of offerings
values – i.e. quality, price or service
the name of the businessPositioning – where does your offering sit in the marketplace? The mass market sits in the middle to lower end of the scale. If you were to market as a premium company with premium prices, you risk isolating yourself as you may appear inaccessible in terms of price. Position the business where the most clients can access your offerings.Pricing – pricing is closely related to positioning. Where does your company fit on the scale? Do you want to be known for luxury products at premium prices or do you want to be more accessible to middle of the road prospects and reach more clients? Making a product too low in price can backfire – as it will smell of ‘cheap’ and could turn off interest.Categorization – some of your products or services might not fit neatly into one category. Decide where in the market categories your business fits. Overlapping and being inconsistent will not pay off when it comes to placing yourself into directories and niches.Core values – do you want the company to be known for value or quality or customer service? What core values make up your brand? How are they related to your unique selling proposition? Possible values include: value for money, quality, customer service, support, fresh, handmade, gourmet, boutique.Whichever core values you select, be sure that you can deliver, and that they are also running through each of your products and services.Business name – be careful when selecting the name of your business. For example, by calling your business ‘Smith’s Flowers’ – you will tie yourself into flowers and flower related products. If the business expands later and includes garden related products, you could be setting yourself up for some issues.As you develop your brand, remember to stay consistent, and think about how you can use it at every customer touchpoint: including emails, letters, envelopes, website, and business cards. Branding is a small business marketing technique that puts you strongly in the marketplace. Start branding now.

Small Business Marketing Advice That Targets Your Customer Base

There is no question that targeting your customer base is key to create a great income for your company. If I was to give you some small business marketing advice you might be under the impression that you need to have a decent amount of available cash to dump into one of these marketing strategies in order to be able to make it successful. This is truly not the case.In the past small business marketing advice would be advertising like, the yellow pages, pamphlets, brochures, posters, flyers and other such methods is the way to go. If you have used any of these methods how did it work out for you? What was the percentage of your customers actually came in with one of your promotional ads and took advantage of it? How much of your small business marketing advice promotions ended up the local landfill? Have you actually calculated what the cost was between the advertising dollars and how it affects the bottom line of your business? You might also have been told or considered to buy some radio or TV time to promote your business but you know as well as I do that can get downright expensive.By the time you’ve bought all of this promotional stuff — if indeed you even have the extra available resources to be able to buy all of this — you may not be thinking about how much profit you are going to earn in your business, but whether you can earn enough to repay yourself for all the money you spent trying to get the business promoted.So does this small business marketing advice mean you really need to spend all this money on promotions and advertising to make your business successful? Absolutely not! Can you promote and advertise and create a successful business even if you are on a budget? Absolutely!One of the first “rules” you should follow when you want to advertise or promote a business is this: Don’t spend yourself right out of business! I’m not talking about whether you have money from other sources or in your bank account. Good sound small business marketing advice will tell you that until your business is making money, Budget your advertising dollars accordingly. Advertising is important, however, we as business owners, should be smart when it come to our companies bottom line.Tapping into an “Untapped” source of attracting customers, that is on the cutting edge of advertising, is the Holy Grail for any business. We are always striving for that delicate balance between Gross income, Expenditures and Net profit. You know as well as I do that when one of those categories goes down your bottom line goes up.Think about how some good, relevant small business marketing advice would allow your business to grow if you could tap into that resource that targets your customer base the most efficient way possible and, at the same time, being able to do it well within your advertising budget.

When Should You Consider Hiring Small Business Marketing Consultant?

Hiring a small business marketing consultant is a form of business investment. Thus, you need to take into consideration various aspects of your business needs before you decide to hire one. It specifically requires thorough evaluation of your business issues and whether or not you could deal with it on your own, or if you need outside help.There are special scenarios though wherein a professional consultant is necessary. So how do you know if you need to hire a consultant? Here are some of the things you need to consider:There are short-term goals for any business that would require expertise not readily available in your company. If you have a small business with limited manpower, this is a smart decision. For instance, you want to create buzz in the market for a particular product that you are about to launch. Or, if you want to come up with marketing strategies for small business before you officially roll out your business. These are critical stages in your business that require an expert hand to work on them. But you need to do thorough planning before you choose a consultant in order for you to determine how you can maximize the services provided by the expert.A business consultant will also prove beneficial for long-term projects. This is especially useful when you need a specialized skill that you won’t need to retain after the completion of the project. It will be more cost-efficient on your part as opposed to hiring a full time staff member whose skills or services you won’t need after the project.If you have a problem in your business but can’t quite pinpoint where the problem lies, you need to hire a business consultant. An expert consultant will tell you that lack of organizational skills could result to your inability to determine the source of problem. This, however, is a common issue in small businesses because they have limited staff working together. A business consultant will enable you to identify the core issues in your business and recommend ways to best address them. This will save you money in the long run as you won’t have to invest money on trying to fix certain areas where the problems don’t exist at all.Building marketing strategies for small business is a complicated matter. This is when small business owners tend to require most help on. But if you cannot find a decent source of information or guidance about how to go about this matter, an expert consultant will help lead you to the right path.Last but not the least, a small business marketing consultant can help move your project forward if you know what expertise you need, but don’t have it in your internal team. It will already give you the confidence that the consultant you’ve hired can get the job done (provided, of course, that you have chosen them thoroughly). You can save plenty of money from not needing to train your staff in order to acquire the skills you need to use in your business.