When 40% of small businesses fail within the first decade, getting yours to the point where it’s stable and trading successfully is an accomplishment to be proud of. In business, however, there’s no room for standing still. Where do you go from here? How can you take your business to the next level? You should be networking continually, building better and better connections. You should be continually investing in equipment and talent. To really break through, though, you’re going to need to sharpen up your marketing.
Make your presence felt
With the difficult process of starting up behind you, it’s time you introduced yourself not just to investors, suppliers and immediate customers, but to the wider world. People need to know who you are and what you stand for. This means that if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to build up your brand, work on your logo and the presentation of all your promotional materials and communications, and develop your vision as a business. Think about who you are and what your values are, and look at how you can build them into every aspect of your business activities and marketing strategy.
Enhance your toolkit
This is the time to develop the tools that will form the backbone of all your marketing campaigns. Get professional quality photos taken to illustrate your business activities and introduce key staff members. Get to know the software and techniques that will enable you to make marketing videos easily as and when they’re needed. Arrange media training and social media training for key team members so they can represent and promote your business successfully. Build up your connections with local newspapers, radio stations and trade journals and polish your press release writing skills.
Invest in research
All really effective marketing begins with understanding who you’re marketing to. This means that research is vital, both to define your initial target market and to refine what you do so that you reach that market more effectively. Look for opportunities to connect with your customers and hear their thoughts. Run customer satisfaction surveys and remember that even complaints are an opportunity for learning and improving what you do.
All this day to day work aside, this is the stage where you are going to need to make a serious investment in advertising campaigns, using whichever form of media you think will give you the most cost-efficient access to you particular target markets. This makes it vital that you track the results of your campaigns so you can establish their effectiveness and improve on them the next time round. It’s a process that begins with monitoring the flow of orders you receive, but through simple tricks like tracking how people find your website before ordering there, you can obtain much richer information.
Developing your marketing in this way will increase your sales and increase your visible presence in the marketplace, giving you the potential to increase your market share and be recognised as a leading company in your field.