By Smart Emmanuel
Getting your marketing strategies right is a task that must not be taken for granted as a Small and Medium Enterprise owner. The temptation to employ cheap strategy as SMEs rather than employing a carefully considered strategy is very high due to low budget or shortage of cash. Most times, the materials employ can end up offering a poor return on investment or even damage the brand you are trying to push!
Here are some tips you need to employ to get the most out of a limited marketing budget
1. Research your competitors/targets: In doing this, you have to find out how your prospects/targets use the internet whenever they are online, what they are looking for. By doing this, you are developing a thorough understanding of the people you want to do business with and the challenges they face .This will enable you design affective message that will meet their needs and fix their challenges . Also, by monitoring your competitors, you can outsmart them by always taking a step ahead of them. This is where media monitoring is key because brands always want to tell the world/targets what they do. You can create a small department in your organisation to help you monitor competitors or outsource it to a media monitoring agency or a Public Relations agency.
2 Specific objectives: You must be specific in every strategy you employed. For example, you can measure your web success based on the sales it generates or the number of enquiries or visit. The only way to measure a marketing success is to be SPECIFIC. Also don’t be iron clad with your thinking because you will need to assess and reassess, amend things in line with the objectives so as to keep track of the set objectives.
Don’t just spend on regular things like website , SEO etc without aligning with the result of your research. Instead, take heed of what has been learned from your research and setting objectives, and map out the materials that you need and how they will tie together to form a cohesive structure to your marketing. Always be clear about purpose. What is the aim of, for example, leaflets or business cards? Are you looking for awareness generation, a sales tool or merely a contact card full of personality? You just have to be clear about this.
3 Become an authority: This can be achieved through social networking and by giving high value content through blog as a medium for release or interviews on specific issues which will be published in national or newspapers that focused on the industry where you operate. This is one way you can build trust because people will begin to see you as expert in your field.
4 Build relationships with local suppliers: Local businesses might be able to service you much better. And they will always know other people who can help you, too. Don’t be afraid of asking penetrating questions about their services either. You need to know you’re spending money with reputable companies that can prove their results, quality and delivery times. Consider your spending carefully and map each bit of spend to a specific outcome, which in turn directly serves one of your overall business objectives.
Finally, marketing will only be effective if there is/are specific targets, therefore, don’t take research and planning for granted. Know why you are embarking on any marketing journey. Ultimately, it is about letting people know about your products/brand so they can make purchase/patronage decision.
By Smart Emmanuel