14 Mar Marketing for businesses
Marketing for businesses 101
When you first start your company, you aren’t always in a position for pay for an agency to help you. VerriBerri love to seeing small businesses succeed. As such, we have collated common questions and things you may need to know to help you on your way. These are in no particular order or importance.
The key objectives when marketing for businesses
The key objective when carrying out B2B marketing is to create promotional material, both on and offline. It need to be memorable, while accurately portraying your brand’s quality of service or product. It will also need to engage with your target audience. Your content must hold their attention and provoke a reaction that will see them buy from you; either now or in the future. You must consider the four ‘P’s (Products, Place, Price and Promotion) when you are creating a marketing plan. You must also look at your brand personality, your budget, your business and your time.bw
We are big believers that when effectively marketing your business, you should use psychology. The most important theorem to remember is Maslow hierarchy of needs.
The five levels of Maslow’s human needs are:
- Level one – Physiological needs, for example, food, shelter, clothing and sex. Our tribal needs.
- Two – Safety needs, our emotional state to feel safe in a situation.
- Three – Social needs, our need to belong and receive affection.
- Four – Esteem needs, the need for status, recognition and respect.
- Five – Self-actualization needs, the need for self-development, creativity and psychological health.
All these laws can be leveraged by advertisers and marketers to make consumers engage with promotional materials more effectively.
How to network successfully.
Networking is the activity of meeting and connecting with other people in business. This is done in the hope that they become customers of your organisation. More importantly that this; they could become an introducer and hand over information that may lead to a new customer for your organisation. A networking event is a common occurrence when marketing for your company, as it opens potential avenues to new leads.
To successfully network at these events or otherwise you should introduce yourself first. Make sure that you are confident, maintain eye contact and remember to smile. You should take risks and anticipate success, after all what is the worst that is going to happen? Always practice listening and show you are a good listener. You should be able to tell people what it is you do in a few sentences. Be sure that you are friendly and that you greet people you see regularly even if you don’t really know them.
Finding some common ground with someone you meet is a great way to have a friendly organic conversation. Ask questions and ask for opinions. This shows them that you genuinely care about what they think and aren’t making the conversation all about yourself. This also opens the opportunity to show some real interest in what they are saying and what they are interested in. You will no doubt meet some great people and businesses.
Remember what people have told you from previous conversations. This could be as simple as asking about their children or how a meeting went. Watch body language and be aware of whether it is open or closed. This goes for you as well, you need to look as welcoming as you can, so stop crossing your arms! Be sure to sincerely compliment others on what they do and all they have achieved. Finally, in business and out, carry out one act of kindness every day to ensure you stay grounded, humble and just a good person.
Defining online marketing
For many people a company’s website is their first impression of said business. Therefore, the website need to represent your brand as well as possible. People will look to your website to determine how credible and trustworthy you are. This is true of the design and the content. As a result, you will need to ensure that your website matches what you are selling in terms of quality.
Search engine optimisation (SEO for short.) Is the practice of using optimising your website and online content. This is to ensure that your website ranks highly for appropriate keywords associated to your business. For example, an agency like ours will want to rank when the search term ‘marketing for businesses’ is used. These techniques help your target audience find you quickly on search engines such as Google. The conversion rate for this technique has proven to be excellent.
Social media is increasingly popular. With billions of active users; it is easy to understand why so many businesses use social media platforms to communicate with target consumers. There are many platforms to choose from, so it is important that you choose the relevant one for your business. The quickest way to do this is to decide what platforms your target audience is using. You will then be able to create engaging content and communicate directly to your audience, consistently growing your brand awareness.
Results will vary using this method and will be dependent on your niche and the targets you want to achieve. Some companies use social media for lead generation, others may be happy to have socials purely for brand awareness. Or, in some cases, businesses may use multiple channels in their strategy. For example, a B2B financial advisory firm may use LinkedIn to generate leads. However, they may still feel it necessary to have a presence on Facebook, so that their brand gains more exposure. This means that the firm will be present in their audiences professional and personal digital lives. As a result, they will better recognised than if they just used one social media channel. It also means that they are more likely to generate leads.
An affiliate programme is another option, which can work one of two ways. Firstly, you can use your online presence to recruit others to sell your product or service. Secondly, you sell another companies products or services from your website. Taking the first example can be useful as it means the emphasis is on others to sell your product. Usually the people selling your products will receive a commission; whilst you will take most of the income from the sale. This means that you can leverage other companies or individuals to sell your products while making a profit. In the second example, you could gain more traffic to your website and find customers of your own while making a commission selling another companies product. This can be a good tactic for a start-up company looking to generate leads, and gain more brand exposure whilst making some extra money process.
What is a loss leader?
A loss leader is an item that organisations sell at an initial loss in order to gain further business. The idea is to sell an item without profit to entice customers to buy. This increases the chances that a customer will buy other items that will make the company a profit. An example would be as follows. A phone network provider sell a handset at a loss. By the time you have added the extended warranty, added features and accessories the company has made a profit from the sale.
What is a BOGO?
BOGO is the abbreviation for Buy One Get One. This is a common sales technique implemented by retail stores and supermarkets. The idea is to make the customer buy more than they originally anticipated as they feel they are getting a good deal. For example, you go to your local supermarket with a list of items to buy. As you walk around you notice things that are on a buy one get one half price offer. The chances are, if the items are something you would use then you will buy them. This is the case even if you don’t need them. The store recovers their loss as more people buy into these offers. These offers also encourage customer loyalty as customers will walk away feeling like they received good value for money.
The four P’s of Marketing
The four P’s of marketing are:
- Products- This is what the business is selling.
- Place- This is where you are selling the product. For example, a retail store, e-commerce website or catalogue.
- Price- How much is the product going to cost the customer to buy.
- Promotion- How is the target audience and the rest of the world going to see your product. For example, billboard ads, press releases right down to the packaging of the product itself.
Strategy when marketing for businesses.
There are four elements every marketing plan must consider. They are your personality, your budget, your business and your time. A strategy is vital when marketing for businesses.
Your personality can be broken down as ‘what makes you different to your competitor’s’. Furthermore, how you can translate this to the market. Huge corporations have built entire brands based around a personality. This can be used to leverage the market and generate content, for example, KFC with the Colonel.
Your budget is quite simply ‘how much do you have to spend’. For example, you may want to run Google paid ads (PPC ads) for your company’s website. This would need to ensure a return on investment. It will be easy to measure as you will need to set a budget against your campaign.
Your business, is referring to ‘what services or products are you selling?’ For example, a toy shop and a mortgage broker have different target customers, products and basket values. As such, they would require different marketing plans.
Your time is a very important point to consider. This is because it will set up how much time you have available to spend on your campaigns. It will also help you set marketing goals as you can work to certain time frames. For exampl;, gaining ‘X’ amount of enquires through your website within 6 months.
There are some key strategies that any small business will have full control of no matter how bad the uncontrollable, outside factors may get, and they are:
Knowing yourself. Honesty is the best policy here. Be brutally honest and carry out a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis on your company and staff.
Develop several income streams. In other words do not put all your eggs in one basket. This is crucial to survive in business. For example; if you are a company offering services for a monthly fee and only have one client, you are going to be in serious trouble if that client ups and leaves. You need to ensure that you are covered if one income source fails for whatever reason.
Don’t compete against yourself within the same market segment. This comes down to knowing exactly what you are selling and to who, ensure that you bring value to your consumer.
Aim for an exceedingly high level of service. You need to ensure that your customers trust your service or product. The only way to do this is to consistently go above and beyond. You need to provide the consumer with what they truly want or need; not what you think they need. A strong relationship with your target consumers is vital if you can’t to be sure this is the case.
Look for companies that do not directly compete with you but offer services or products that compliment yours. If appropriate, consider collaborating with them. These relationships will grow your customer reach and lead to more sales. For example; if you are a hairdryer manufacturer you may look to workwith a well-known high street hairdressing chain, to sell more hairdryers.
A marketing budget is the amount of money a company puts aside to spend on marketing and promoting their business. By creating a marketing budget, you are setting the boundaries on what can be spent. For example, a business may outsource their marketing to an external agency. In doing this they will have to set a budget so that the agency knows how much time and money they have to work with.
Having a budget in place is a great way to measure results and see what works best for your company. You must ensure that you give the budget a good chance to work. Cutting a budget early can be hugely detrimental to a company. Marketing takes time to work; just because it doesn’t happen straight away does not mean that it isn’t going to be effective.
When creating a marketing budget there are some key rules to follow. I have listed them below:
Test all assumptions- In business there are many assumptions and variables at play in the background. It is important that you run as many scenarios as you can to ensure that your budget can survive any adjustments needed as time passes.
How was last year? -If you are a new business this question will be a bit hard to answer. Creating a marketing budget for new businesses will be based more on projections and a bit of luck. You will have to gather all the information you can to make a sensible decision on how much to spend. If you are a new company you will have to take it slow and build up your budget accordingly year on year so as not to waste your money.
How’s the marketplace doing? – As much as your budgets will be created for internal use; you still must take in to account the external threats and risks your business could fall victim to. Look at the whole market to decide whether the amount you are setting aside for your budget will be able to withstand upcoming obstacles. This could be strike action or new competitors with bigger marketing budgets.
What is it costing? – Running a company doesn’t come without its overheads. Many businesses would love to put a huge budget behind their marketing campaigns. However, they still need to account for the money that the rest of the business needs to keep running. Consider your accounts in depth and work out your income and expenditure. This will help you decide how much you can afford when it comes to marketing. There should be a clear paper trail for all expenses, marketing related or not. It is important to account for all incoming and outgoing. Don’t leave out anything, this’ll ensure you have a clear idea of what can be used as your budget.
What can you do to reduce your marketing budget?
If a company has a small marketing budget here are some strategies they could implement.
In the age we live in, where Google is our answer to everything, your business will need an online presence. Start by buying a domain and create a website on a platform like Wix or WordPress which are cost effective. Ideally you will create the website yourself for free. You can use cheap online courses or Google to find step by step tutorials to create websites. You can then start to collect email addresses using your website. This will allow you to send out monthly newsletters; detailing the latest developments of your business and any promotions that you have running. Just ensure that your data collection methods are GDPR compliant.
Once the website is ready and you are set to start trading, send out as many press releases and articles to as many publications as possible as far as possible- dependent on what you are selling. For example, if you are a hairdresser in a local town there wouldn’t be a lot of point sending press releases and articles to journalists the other side of the country.
You can look at conducting a local seminar. For example, if you are running a business coaching company you could look to offer some free advice to other local business owners, this will generate word of mouth because you are offering something of value and would offer you the opportunity to gain more clients.
Attend trade shows related to your industry. You don’t need to hire a stall at the show, simply walk around and start networking and chatting with other businesses. Be sure to go to these shows with an open mind, as even if you don’t gain customers there could be other opportunities available, such as collaborations or inspiration for new ideas to assist with your own business growth.
Swapping ads in other company’s newsletters is a cost-effective way to reach a wider audience.
If you are good at creative writing you can create a blog on your website and write one or two blogs a week that will give the reader value. This will also work on your organic SEO if you naturally include key phrases that you would like your website to rank for. Again, you can look at free online tutorials to ensure that you aren’t stuffing to many keywords into your blog and the best way to optimise them on the back end of your website.
A great way to market your brand is to set up social media pages. What platforms you choose for your business will depend on what industry you are in. With Instagram boasting over 1 billion monthly active users it would be a huge waste to not try and tap into this audience. You can manage these pages yourself and start by posting once a day on each until you see what platforms work best for your brand.
If you are looking for marketing for businesses in the UK, get in touch with our Essex marketing agency. We would love to hear how we can help. Just click here to get in contact with us.