The Small Business’s Guide to Marketing
When looking at business development and marketing strategy, most small businesses don’t know where to start. With fluctuating budgets, limited resources, and high competition, creating innovative ways to market your business is incredibly important, especially in today’s dynamic marketplace. When people think of marketing, their minds often jump to social media or television ads, but marketing encompasses so much more than that. In this post, we’re going to work through the basics of marketing and how they apply to small businesses, while also focusing specifically on the promotional aspect of marketing. That way, you’ll get information regarding the entire process, as well as get an idea as to how your small business could optimize its current marketing strategy.
The basics of marketing can be broken down into the 4 P’s: product, price, place, and promotion. Let’s take a look at what each one of these elements encompasses and what their individual and collective elements amount to.
Product refers to the specific products and services that a business has to offer. Developing a marketing strategy around the product means making decisions as to what a company will offer its consumers, what its brand name will be, and other factors such as warranties and accessories. However, one of the most important parts of the product aspect of marketing is how the product is packaged. Packaging, appearance, and functionality all have an enormous impact on how consumers perceive products. As a small business, making sure that the brand image that these elements convey match that of your company brand is imperative.
Price is the next element of the marketing mix and also has a huge impact as to how customers will perceive your product and service offerings. Pricing has a huge strategic element to it. You will want to examine a variety of factors such as list prices, discounts, financing options, and payment periods, in addition to how price can be utilized as an element of sales promotion. Price can affect the prestige of your brand, and can also cheapen its value as well. It can be the backbone of your business, but it can also be an incredibly volatile element. Understanding your company’s relationship with its relative marketplace will greatly help you understand how to efficiently leverage price as an element of the marketing mix.
Place, the third element of the marketing mix, affects where your product is available. The place element has been revolutionized with the rise of the Internet. Many businesses have begun to shift away from brick-and-mortar stores and into e-commerce solutions. Those who haven’t have realized the importance of omnichannel marketing, the practice of connecting with their consumers through a variety of channels, whether they’re in-store, online, or through other methods. Place also affects the entirety of logistics when it comes to your supply chain. It includes the decisions made when it comes to where your product will be available, what channels will be used to distribute it, and the management of inventory, order processing, and market coverage.
But of all the elements, it is a promotion that is emphasized most often. Promotion is how businesses communicate with their consumers to convert their leads into customers. The goal of promotion is to inform, persuade, and remind and is done through a variety of methods including advertising, social media, personal selling and more. In fact, promotion can be broken into four major categories: sales promotion, public relations, advertising, and personal selling.
These four categories are essential to maximizing your business’s potential. Advertising has shifted from television, radio, and print advertisements and towards social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, much to the benefit of small businesses. These networks are cheaper marketing options, and the growth of their popularity has made it possible for small businesses to grow their brands and find new consumers in their target markets while using far fewer resources.
Sales promotion is a highly common practice in business and is known to consumers as offers such as coupons, BOGO offers, and discount sales. This can be an extremely useful tool for small businesses since the upfront cost is usually minimal and the increase in traffic the company sees can recuperate the costs of the promotion.
Furthermore, public relations can be an extremely useful tool for small businesses when utilized correctly. Obviously, businesses don’t control the press, but if they’re doing something innovative, creative, or relevant, news outlets will want to report on it. Small businesses can utilize this by sending press releases to local publications to announce news; if the media thinks there is a story, then the result is the best type of promotion: free promotion.
Lastly, personal selling is the final element of promotion. While it is diminishing in presence, the importance of having strong personal ties with your consumers is becoming increasingly important. While your business model might not be predicated on having people personally sell to your consumers, customers love to have their voices heard, receive opinions, and have an exchange of information with their business. Making sure that your business provides this for consumers is paramount to your success.
SEO Internet marketing is a growing field within the promotional aspect of marketing, but it also affects the place element as well. With the decline of brick-and-mortar stores, the website has become the new window display. Only with SEO companies such as SemRun, it has become possible to put your window on many different streets. This boost in visibility crosses over into advertising by providing a boost for social media presence and helps to modernize businesses for the new post-Internet marketplace. The benefits of search engine optimization are enormous and play right into how small businesses can make low-cost decisions that will eventually reap substantial benefits. SemRun LLC represents an option to grow your business by increasing its visibility, growing potential leads, and maximizing the sales and returns that your small business can see.