This content was last updated 18 March 2021.
If you're running your own business, chances are you either are already or will need to do some marketing. It's a great big world, and getting noticed when almost every market is saturated is becoming increasingly more difficult.
Don't worry - here are eight ways you can stand out from the crowd and master your marketing.
Understand your customer
You need to know who you are talking to. Defining your target audience goes a long way to crafting your message.
- Who is your target market?
- What do you get asked most often by your customers?
- What are the most frequent pain points or comments you get?
Whether you go digital or hand out leaflets on the street, a targeted message is likely to have a bigger impact than a blanket campaign.
Use shorter subject lines
Email marketing is great for getting the word out, but did you know open rates can climb significantly by reducing the words you use in your subject line? Remember, you are not telling the whole story - you just want the person getting the email to be interested enough in what you have to say to open the email, and follow the calls to action. If you really want to stand out, choose one word, and make it count.
Just because we live in a digital world, don't write off outdoor advertising, like billboards. Choosing a striking image and a few keywords with a clear call to action will still get you noticed. Work with an agency and it won't necessarily break the budget to make that person at the bus stop realize that it's been ages since they bought bread from a proper bakery.
Learn more about traditional advertising and PR with our guide to seven popular ways to promote your business.
Engage on social media
There is no getting away from it - we live in a world where social media rules, so you might as well begin using it to your advantage! To avoid being overwhelmed, choose one or two platforms to engage on.
- Discover the best social media platform for your business
- Take our free on-demand webinar series on social media marketing
- Download your free social media planner
- Find out how to manage your online reviews like a pro
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of designing your website (and its content) so that it appears near the top of the list in search results.
According to Smart Insights, the first five organic search results (below the paid adverts) account for 67% of all clicks. After all, when was the last time you went to the second page of Google? The higher you can rank your business, the better the chance of a user finding you.
You can use Google Adwords for free to see what people are searching for in your industry. Consider writing a blog on topics you're an expert in and using these words to get yourself on the Google ladder.
Don't know where to start? Check out our beginner's guide to SEO for small businesses.
Send a clear message
Do people know what you're selling? You might think it's obvious, but it may not be to a potential customer. Make sure people know about all the services you provide. Have a clear and easy way for people to contact you, and consider making your prices readily available on your pamphlets, website or even business cards. The less work it is for the customer to engage you, the more likely they are to do so.
Run a competition
There's no denying that everyone likes a freebie. Consider handing out samples or running a competition. You don't have to go big on this one, use it to showcase your product or service and get you noticed.
A happy customer is a returning customer, and word of mouth is a great and free tool available to you. People trust recommendations from people they know. If you make the best bacon butty in Ipswich, make sure that it's the same every time. There is nothing worse than inconsistent service, and if your customer knows they will always get the same from you, they are likely to not only return, but tell others.
However you choose to engage, the number one rule is to not get discouraged if your campaign is not an overnight success. The general rule of thumb is to give it six months to take root, so keep chipping away to see the rewards for your hard work.