Small businesses face a lot of obstacles these days, and marketing is one of the biggest.
It’s impossible to grow your business without good advertising and public awareness.
But only 56% of small businesses have a marketing plan.
This article will help you develop a plan for your business as you overcome today’s marketing challenges.
1. Establish Brand Identity
While it can be tempting to just splash your business’s name everywhere, that’s not always the most effective marketing technique. One proven method though is brand identity.
Try to make your brand stand out from your competition. What do you do differently? What do you want to be known for?
If you’re having trouble answering these questions, ask your customers. Don’t be afraid to give customer surveys to overcome your challenges in marketing.
By establishing your brand identity, you’re choosing a pathway for all your future marketing campaigns. That’s why brand identity has to be chosen before you can move on to tackling other challenges in marketing.
2. Know With Your Target Customers
Who are your target customers? If you’re not sure, you’ll have no idea who to market your business to. This is a huge content marketing challenge!
Be careful as you think about your customers too. If your business is a pediatric dentistry, your patients are children but not your customers. What kid ever chooses to go to the dentist?
Your customer base in this scenario is parents. If you want parents to bring their kids to your office, you have to market your business to them.
By focusing on your target customers, you will have to spend less money on your marketing campaign. You’ll be able to focus your efforts and your advertising to a smaller group.
3. Know Your Current Marketing
Once you’ve figured out your target customer base, it’s time to figure out how you’re reaching them now.
Before creating a whole new marketing strategy, take a look at what you’re already doing. Also, ask your customers how they found out about you. You might be surprised.
When you’re looking into your own marketing, there are a few places you’ll want to check.
Start with social media. What sites are you on? Where do you have the most followers? What does your website look like? Is it easy to access and use? How many hits do you get? How do your customers keep up with you? Do you publish a newsletter? Do you write a blog on your website?
The answers to these types of questions will guide your marketing campaigns and help you overcome challenges in service marketing.
4. Use Emotional Marketing Strategies
Your customers have to emotionally connect with your business and brand. That can be difficult in some situations. Emotional connections with dentists are often negative!
Seriously though, 80% of purchase decisions are made based on feelings.
When considering a pediatric dentist, there are a lot of emotions we can appeal to. The parental desire to keep kids healthy. The fear of their kids having bad, rotten teeth. The pride of having a child with a beautiful smile.
All of these emotional appeals match the target customers and connect with their feelings.
Try to do the same with your challenges in marketing.
5. Use Social Media to Fight Marketing Challenges
In the past, businesses only had to worry about print marketing and word of mouth. For better or worse, that’s no longer the case.
In the age of the Internet, you have to make your presence known on social media. It can be a lot of work to maintain social media sites, but it will help you overcome your marketing challenges.
Let’s look at a few tips for social media management for small businesses.
First, make sure you have an account with your business name on all social media sites you can (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, etc.). Even if you don’t plan to use these accounts for marketing, you don’t want someone else opening an account with your name.
Second, monitor what other people are saying about your company. You can use a site like Brand24 to see what the public is saying about your business.
Finally, as you create and update your pages on social media, make sure to be honest, polite, and punctual. When people post, try to respond quickly. This can go a long way to show you care about your customers.
6. Make a Marketing Plan
The biggest thing you can do to overcome your challenges in marketing is to have a plan. You can’t get anything done without a plan, and marketing is no exception.
Most small businesses do not have a marketing plan and don’t know exactly where to start. In making your plan try to focus on the 4 Ps: product, price, place, and promotion.
Use the 4 Ps to make an outline of where you are now and where you want to be in your marketing campaign. By writing everything down, you can start brainstorming ideas of what you’re missing. Having a plan is how you overcome challenges in marketing.
7. See What’s Working
Once you have your marketing plan in place, your business will improve. It’s not enough just to sit back and celebrate though. You need to know which of your marketing strategies is working and which ones are just wasting your time.
To do this, you’ll need to gather data. One simple way we mentioned earlier is customer surveys, but you’ll want to do more than just that.
Take a look at your website and social media site hits. Where are the most people seeing you?
You’ll also want to continue to analyze your brand identity. How do people view and connect with your service or product?
The answers to these questions will shape your next marketing campaign and how you continue to overcome your challenges in marketing.
Now that you know how to overcome common marketing challenges, it’s time to take the next step in developing your marketing plan. Check out these great ideas for marketing strategies in 2018!