Entrepreneurs are often put off marketing their business as they do not believe they have the budget or time to do so, but this is not the case, according to Gugu Mjadu, executive general manager for marketing at South African risk finance firm Business Partners.
According to Mjadu, this mindset needs to change as competition for products and services increase year-on-year.
Here, she looks at five marketing areas that business owners should be exploring.
Make the most of your website
According to the Earnest Agency, 81 per cent of business-to-business (B2B) purchase cycles start with a web search, with 90 per cent of buyers saying they will source suppliers via web search.
“This highlights the importance of a company website that profiles the business and its services so that the audience landing on the website is informed, engaged and ultimately converted into customers.Investing in a company to design a website and aid in optimising your search engine functions will reap returns for a business,” said Mjadu.
“However, should there be budget constraints, there are various free tools available to small businesses, such as South African Business Woza Online.”
Maximise social media strategies
The recent Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner revealed that by spending as little as six hours per week on social media, more than 66 per cent of business owners saw lead generation benefits.
According to Iconsive, 85 per cent of B2B buyers believe companies should present information via social networks, yet only 20 per cent of chief marketing officers are leveraging a brand’s social networks to engage with its audience. Through social media, startups can create a community for engagement, a platform to share news and updates, and a channel to offer customer support.
“Businesses need to however evaluate which platforms are best suited to their audience,” Mjadu said.
“For example if the business has a strong visual element, Instagram or Pinterest can be a suitable platform. However, if the product or service is more professional, Facebook or LinkedIn could potentially be more suitable.”
Implement clever email campaigns
Mark the Marketer says 66 per cent of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message. Mjadu says targeted email marketing campaigns remain one the most effective marketing tools and can assist in converting leads into customers.
“Businesses should focus on building and keeping an up-to-date mailing list. Tools, such as MailChimp, enable businesses to implementing an email marketing campaign in-house with ease,” she said.
Create local awareness
“Public relations (PR) is a powerful tool for local businesses as it helps spread awareness of your business and its expertise, via content generation (or editorial). While some small businesses may not have the budget to outsource this function to a PR agency, it can be implemented on a smaller scale internally,” Mjadu said.
Sounds simple, but establishing connections with substance through networking is part of the marketing process, and vital to businesses of all sizes.
“Entrepreneurs should set time aside every week to network, including speaking at industry events, as good business relationships don’t just happen overnight,” Mjadu said.