When you first start out as a small business one of the first questions you may ask yourself is how do you get your business known in your local area. Here we give you some practical advice on cost effective steps you can take in starting to market your business.

What do I want from my marketing efforts?

The first step is to be clear as to exactly what you want to achieve from your marketing efforts. Once you know what your objectives are you will then be able to put a plan together.

The following are questions for you to consider when deciding what your objectives are:

  • How many customers do you need to get your business started?
  • How quickly will you be able to find customers?
  • Are you going to concentrate in your local area to start with?
  • Have you got an exact list of the products and services you will be selling?
  • Do you know what prices you will be charging your customers?
  • How much time initially can you afford to spend on marketing your business?
  • Once you start delivering your products and services, how much time will you realistically be able to spend on marketing your business?
  • How much money do you have to put towards a marketing budget?

You might find it useful to note your answers down and start to develop a plan; although it's not essential to use a plan, it does help to focus your efforts. Here's an idea to help get you started:

About my businessMy products and/or servicesMy business goalsMy target marketMy marketing activitiesMy marketing calendar
Summarise your current business situation, sales, incomeWhat you offer, what it does for customers, why it's uniqueDescribe your goals over the next 12 monthsWho is your ideal customer? Where can you find them?What promotional activities will you focus on this year?Plan your promotions, sales, media and any other strategies you'll use. Consider holidays and events in your planning

 

Can my friends and family help?

A good and inexpensive way to start the marketing of your new business is to tell your friends, relatives and acquaintances. You can also include, if you have them, your social media contacts.

You could use a simple social media status update or an email tailored to each person in your address book to let them know all about your business. 

Take a look at the following example:

I am sending a quick email to let you know that I am now starting my own business in …………….

The services I am providing are ……….  I will be initially working in the local area of ………… and have priced my services very competitively.

I would really appreciate it if you could pass on my details to your family, friends and work colleagues. If they are looking for a …………… please let them know that I would be pleased to give them a no obligation quote.

Here is the link to my website …………………….

How can I use my other contacts?

Think about other places where, and people who, you could market your business to. Do you belong to any groups or clubs? Do you meet other parents at the school gate?

Use these opportunities to tell people about your business, stress what the benefits are, and have business cards with you so that you make sure they have all your contact details.

How do I sell the benefits as well as the features of my service?

When you first start marketing your business a good exercise is to be very clear as to what the features and benefits of your product or service will be. It’s very important to market the benefits because that’s what will persuade your customers to buy.

  • Features are facts or characteristics about your business, products and services.
  • Benefits are what your product or service will do for your customer – this might be benefits such as time saving, low maintenance or economical. Think about the benefits as ‘what’s in it for your customers’.

When it comes to selling a product or service it's the benefits that sell, and not the features. Here's an example. You buy a kettle because you want to boil water. The kettle you buy has a 1.5L capacity and a rapid boil function. The benefit is you can boil a lot of water quickly, thus saving time. 

To quote Theodore Levitt, a professor at the Harvard Business School: 'People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!'

Video: Seven marketing tactics for small businesses

Stefan Boyle

11:33

From building a prospective client list to portraying a professional image to customers, this video offers practical tips on how a SME can grow sales and profits through marketing. 

Next Steps

How to promote your business using social media - part 2

Guess what? Your social media marketing solutions don't stop there. In this second part, we look at Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube. 

Read more

How do I market my business online?

The internet has revolutionised marketing for most businesses. Here’s how to market your business online.

Read more

Stay informed

Register or Login to add this article to your reading list.

Share this