The statistics for small businesses in the UK make for grim reading. Around 80% fail within a year, only half make it to five years. The good news is though, that knowledge is power. Good, efficient marketing is the most important thing for putting your business on the map and getting those customers flocking to you.
We’ve created a list of the 5 main marketing challenges and tips on how to tackle them in a way that will give you the upper hand over other start-ups.
Here’s what most businesses struggle within the all-consuming whirlwind of opening and running a successful business:
1.Time, resources and budget
Business founders often try to control everything and end up neglecting the big, important things. You want more leads and a better online presence, but don’t think you have the time. Because cash and budget are slim, you might feel that you haven’t got the resources for good online content and marketing.
How to fix this:
- The best tool is to invest time at the beginning
- Create a solid 12-month plan and strategy and think about how you will measure progress and set goals
- Hire the right staff that can bring many different skills to the table and people who you can trust, they are the biggest form of resource you have
- This will free up time for you to manage the big stuff, like budget
- Don’t rely on only one or two big accounts to keep you going; if one of them leaves, there’s trouble
- keep marketing all the time to create a bigger, diverse customer base
- choose 1 or 2 marketing platforms that are best suited to reach your ideal customer
- There is loads of helpful advice out there – such as this blog – which will break things down for you and get your strategy up to scratch in no time
2. What is your/your brand’s story, who is your audience?
The top reasons why businesses struggle in their first year are all in some way connected, so if you tackle one, you will improve elsewhere too.
Your storytelling links back to your business plan. If you don’t know who to target, why you are in this game, or why customers should buy from you, you need to go back to the drawing board.
What to do:
- Research and define your perfect customer and based on this, choose the best marketing platforms
- Why did you choose this business? You wouldn’t do it without motivation, that passion needs to be communicated to your customers
- What is your USP? Why should customers buy from you instead of your opposition?
3. Producing Content and marketing challenges
Producing consistent and quality content seems a scary process, but it doesn’t have to be. A blog on your website will bring you greater online presence and boost your profile.
What to do:
- There may be a talented writer or two on your team, give it a go.
- Do your research – on other, similar blogs, advice blogs, LinkedIn, etc. and find out what your customer base wants to see and how to create that content within your means
- The best strategy here is: less content, but higher value content
- Targeting your clientele on the right platforms
4. Spreading Brand Awareness
Most people don’t know where to start with this, and just opening the door and putting an ‘open’ sign up is not enough.
What to do:
- Keep marketing, even when you feel that you are ticking along nicely
- Make a point of what is special about your brand compared to others
- Do your market research, so you only give your customers exactly what they want
- Build strategic partnerships with a non-competing business which has the same target audience, that way you can double your forces
5. Lead Generation
The holy grail for many companies is how to get more leads and therefore more sales.
What to do:
- Your website can bring you money 24/7, so make sure it is optimized, always up to date and is clear to use; collect customer data whenever possible
- PR – there are many tutorials and posts that give great advice on how to create a relationship with the local press and avoid blunders
- Co-Marketing – as mentioned above, team up with another company. Maybe even a bigger, better known one, which will rub some of their reputations off on you.
- Blogging – regular blogging drives traffic to your site, creates leads, makes you more credible in the industry and helps create an email list
- Email list – collect customer data whenever possible. This could be online, at events, through competitions, the limit is your imagination…
This is just a short overview of the things that are often overlooked and can easily be rectified. Watch this space for more in-depth discussions on these 5 subjects, if you want more. In our future posts, we will cover each challenge and give you all the knowledge you need to start your business on the right foot.