A Marketing Strategy is vital for any small business

Without a strategy to guide the marketing planning and then its implementation, your marketing is far less likely to succeed. Without a consistent level of marketing activity, the leads you need to grow your small business are going to be coming in on a regular basis.

These blogs will help you develop the most appropriate marketing strategy for your business.

If you are looking for some help developing the right marketing strategy for your small business, give SME Needs a call (020 8634 5911) Let’s talk about how we can help.

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5 expert ways you can benefit from your brand advocates

brand advocacy strength

Brand advocacy is the ultimate goal for small businesses that helps strengthen your competitive advantages.

Marketing has generated the lead. Sales has closed the deal and Operations has delivered a great service/product. You have a very happy client; a brand advocate. What can you do from this point to maximise the benefit your small business gets from this?  Here are 5 ways you can use the brand advocacy to your advantage… 

This is the final blog post in ‘activate fierce brand loyalty’ series.  

 “What about you and me?” 

This is what a client would ask when they consider active advocacy towards your brand. 

The answers to the questions below that relates to why a client would think of choosing you can be found in the previous blog posts: 

Through a combination of brand awareness, understanding of performance levels, strength of imagery, forming positive judgements and experiencing positive feelings, a potential B2B client feels inclined to work with you.  

They are in-sync with you and your brand.  

Your client feels a deep psychological bond with your brand and everything it represents. 

To maximise this intensely positive relationship, there are five key areas that can increase your advantages.

Ask for a testimonial 

A happy client will say great things about you and your business, but sometimes you need to nudge them just a little. 

When you talk to them, for example as a project is finished, ask for a testimonial. They can either say something during the conversation, or email something to you. Use that testimonial across your online and print marketing collateral.  

If you add the testimonial to LinkedIn or Twitter, make sure you mention them in the text (@insert name) so they get notified and either Like or comment – a further endorsement. 

If they could do their testimonial as a video, that would be even better! 

Their words, and feelings, can be tremendously powerful. 

Ask for a referral 

Who do they know who could also use your services/products? When doing this, try not to use the word anyone – it makes things surprisingly difficult. 

  • Perhaps they are connected to someone you’ve been trying to get hold off. Could they do an introduction? 
  • Be specific if you cannot identify a person. Who do they know in this role in this industry sector? Of course, this will have followed on from you researching their clients and their network. 
  • Ask for three. That way you may get one. 

Prospects who have been referred by a brand advocate become clients at a far greater rate than any other lead source. 

Invite them to Events 

Nobody likes someone that talks too much about themselves! That is just what you have to do as a

 small business when marketing yourself.  Sincerity is something highly valued when building business relationships. 

However, it is much more powerful to have a client who has built a strong relationship to represent your brand. Conversations ensue in the hustle and bustle of a lively event your hosting. 

In and amongst you speaking for and representing yourself, you would want advocates in the crowd to support your claims. Their intensely positive experience with you carries a weight you cannot replicate yourself. The marketing happens organically and likely to be received better. 

Develop a case study 

A well-built case-study goes a long way for a small business. It helps communicate a story that relates directly to an advocate’s experience with your brand.  

This is a fantastic tool to utilise an existing advocate to generate further leads. Prospects will search for answers as they require services for their business. It is second nature to Google and research. Especially when a large sum of money is in the equation relative to the size of the business. 

A case study narrative helps a prospect discern: 

  • The advocate’s original challenge 
  • How your business presented a solution 
  • How the solution was implemented practically  
  • The results, a prospect always wants to know what the end results are 

Go to networking events they go to 

Make the most out of that intensely positive relationship by frequenting network events they attend.  

The relationship will sell itself. Remember, however, this is a networking event so don’t monopolise their time. 

Both parties mutually benefit. Through prompting and suggesting one another if a conversation occurs where anything that connects to your brand or service is mentioned. 

There is an underlying trust and loyalty fostered over time between you and your advocate and your presence reminds them of the pleasant experience they have had with you. 

Looking to strengthen your brand advocacy? 

Do you need advice on how to strengthen your brand advocacy through your marketing efforts? SME Needs is ready with expert advice, planning and implementation of your specialised marketing plan. 

How can small businesses encourage a strong response from a client?

“What about you?” 

What about you makes you the best choice for your potential client to work with instead of others? 

This blog post will help you to recognise and communicate what your brand means to your client. 

Positive brand feelings

This is the third post of the ‘activate fierce brand loyalty’ series. 

So far we have covered, “who are you?” and “what are you?”in the previous two blog posts. 

After answering those two questions, your ideal client will start to form feelings and judgements towards you. This is due to having a base of broad awareness. Following this, the brand building blocks of performance and imagery are then taken into consideration. 

The ability to create intensely positive feelings 

A brand is more than its product or service. 

A brand evokes feelings. 

As small business owners, you must consider how your brand makes your customers feel about you and them.  

There are the four responses your business faces:  

  • intensely negative  
  • mildly negative  
  • mildly positive   
  • intensely positive. 

How best to handle a negative comment

The reality for most UK businesses is that you rarely experience mildly negative or mildly positive feelings in the form of reviews or social media interactions.  

However, you know when someone has a negative experience; it is quintessentially British to make sure everyone knows about it!  

For example, someone may dislike the opinion piece you shared in your weekly e-newsletter.  

They email you angrily about how you are a total and utter disgrace!   

It is important to politely respond. Apologise for how they feel and do your best to resolve it. If the negative feedback is unwarranted and unreasonable, do not be afraid to unsubscribe them from your list. It is best to focus your time, efforts and content towards those that value it. 

Turning the peri-peri meter from mild to spicy 

Potential clients who have an intensely positive feeling towards you are likely to follow you on social media. They may be subscribed to your e-mailing list. Most importantly, it will lead towards an intensely positive feeling in which they are more likely to buy from you. It is vital to be able to communicate your knowledge and expertise consistently. There are various ways to do so: 

  • Tips and guides 
  • Case Studies 
  • Testimonials 

To make the most of these methods to showcase your knowledge, it is best to share content to specific segments of your audience. If you are aware that your potential client is in the tech industry, share a tech-related testimonial with them.  

A practical tip is to share specific e-mail content to a specified segment of your audience that it is applicable to. Following this, send a follow up email. To be able to turn a potential client’s mildly positive feeling to intensely positive, it is necessary for them to engage with the content. A follow up email increases the likelihood of opens and click-throughs, which then leads them towards the landing page with a call-to-action.

The more relevant the shared content is, the more likely they are to react to it. 

Through these feelings, positive judgements will be formed of your business and what it represents. It will enhance your image of credibility and superiority that makes you a business worth working with and paying for. 

The risks with referrals

We all love getting referrals. 

Who doesn’t like getting a useful referral? They are usually an easier sales pitch as the referrer has already done some of the work for you.  I acquired a new client at the end of last week from a referral, so I am particularly positive about them at the moment. 

There is one real issue that stops people giving referrals – the risk to them. 

Let me explain: 

When someone refers you, particularly to one of their clients, a little bit of their reputation goes with the referral.  There is a, hopefully, small risk that you won’t do a good job.  If that happens, there is a potential risk that your referrer could lose their client.  

On the positive side, if you do a very good job, their reputation is enhanced with that client. You are then far more likely to get more referrals from that person.  

The principle of liking comes into play here which can be broken up into three simple points;   

  • having a preference for those that we consider like ourselves in behaviour, values and attitudes,   
  • those that pay us genuine compliments, and most importantly,  
  • those that cooperate with us towards shared goals and vision 

Therefore, when some refers you, by managing to match the positive perception of the referrer, their reputation is enhanced with that client. You then gain an increased trust, improving the likelihood of you gaining further referrals from that person. 

So the morale of this blog is simple, if you are looking at getting referrals from your network, make sure you deliver on your promises.  

If you are looking to further improve your prospects of effective networking and gaining relevant referrals, our marketing experts at SME Needs are here for you.  

Preparing for the New Year

The last year has flown by and a new one is waiting just around the corner. If your this year was full of growth and successful marketing you’ll probably want to continue that through to the new year. However, if your year was lacking in that department, then even more reason to keep reading to […]

Nine questions to choose the right marketing channels for your business

appropriate clothing

What are the right marketing channels for your business?

As the Norwegians are famous for saying, there’s no  such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. It’s the same for your marketing. There are lots of different ways to market your business and its up to you to choose the right marketing for your business. So where do you begin? Read more

The dangers of too much content

too much content

 

Content is Good. Content is Wise. That is what you will hear from most marketing consultants, from a lot of SEO companies and many of your peers. Good content is great at two things:

Read more

Dump those who aren’t engaging with your marketing

dump em - the prospects not engaging with your marketingAs a business owner, you want people engaging with your marketing.

That means it grabs the attention of your target audience, it educates them on why they should use your product/services and they jump willingly into your sales pipeline as a new lead. Marketing engagement is key.

If people aren’t engaging with your marketing you have two choices:

  1. Continue trying to engage them
  2. Dump ‘em

Let’s look at the options.

Continue trying to engage

People who really aren’t responding to your marketing are sending you a message: they’re not interested! If they really aren’t opening any of your emails, responding to your social media activity or even taking your calls, you have to consider whether this is a good use of your time. If they were interested, they would be interacting at least some of the time.

  • They are consuming your mental energy because you believe there is still an opportunity for a sale with at least some of them.
  • You spend time liking, retweeting and responding to social media posts. Time that is a scarce resource.
  • Keeping them on your mailing lists impacts your marketing stats, making open/clickthrough rates lower than they should be.

Dump ‘Em

If you simply remove them from your mailing lists (what member rating do they have in MailChimp?) and stop engaging with their social media, you have that most precious resource to invest in those who are engaging.

Those who are engaging with you want to know more. They want you to talk to them and they are far more likely to buy from you.

The consequences

Let’s think about all of this:

Who would you rather invest your time in? Those who are engaged are likely to buy from you and your time is far better spent on them. Which is a safer bet: 3:1 or 50:1?

There is a slim chance that those who aren’t currently engaged will come back to you. It may be that they aren’t ready to buy from you just yet. I know I’ve suggested you take them off your mailing list (GDPR and all that), but that doesn’t mean you have to cut all ties. You may still be following them on Twitter and you may still be connected on LinkedIn. What’s more, by giving your time and mental effort to those more engaged, you ensure your business is still around when others return.

Listen to improve your marketing

Marketing is often considered to be more about talking than listening. Whilst the talking is important, learning to listen can help you in numerous ways. Let’s have a look at how we believe listening can help your marketing performance.

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No marketing budget – no point

 

no marketing budgetThere are very few SME businesses who aren’t looking to grow, but let’s be honest up front: if you have no marketing budget you will commit to spending, there is no point in seeking professional help.

Let’s look at this in detail.

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What is your 2018 Marketing Strategy?

what is your 2018 marketing strategy?

2018 is coming fast

January 2nd 2018 still seems a long time away. In reality, it is only 15 weeks or so.  If your financial year is the calendar year, what are you planning to do to attract new business? What does your 2018 marketing strategy look like?

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