South African SME owners say that one of their biggest business mistake is failure to effectively market their business. This is according to the results of the 2015 National Small Business Survey released by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).
The survey shows that small businesses have a considerable interest in marketing themselves more effectively, with 32% of respondents believing that failure to market their business has been their biggest mistake thus far.
The reality is that the benefits of an integrated and well thought out marketing plan cannot be underestimated, especially when it comes to raising awareness around your business and product offerings.
We take a look at 5 key lessons business owners should know to put together an effective marketing strategy this year.
Lesson #1: You can market your business regardless of your budget
The good news is that it’s possible to market your business regardless of the size of your marketing budget.
In the article, Here is how to spend your marketing budget (of any size) in 2016, we speak to two marketing pros, Scott Cundill and Raksha Mahabeer, who share ways entrepreneurs can market their businesses whether they are working with a budget of R1 million or zero.
For those with a zero marketing budget, there is still lots than can be done to give your business that much-needed exposure, but you will have to get creative, says Cundill. One of his ideas is for business owners to host small events to engage with their clients and expose them to any new business offerings.
Lesson #2: Listen to your customers
Research reveals that customers are willing to spend more on brands that care about the environment and people. The lesson here is that as a business owner you need to care about what your customers care about. This is the focus of the article, What South African consumers look for in a brand.
The results of the 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report show that 68% of South African consumers said they are willing to support and pay more for brands that are committed to social and environmental change.
According to the same report, consumer brands that demonstrated a commitment to sustainability grew more than 4% in sales globally while those without grew less than 1% within a period of a year.
Lesson #3: Have a digital marketing strategy
To get a piece of the digital pie, you need to have a solid digital marketing strategy.
In the article, 8 reasons why you need a digital marketing strategy for your business, Dave Chaffey, CEO and founder of Smart Insight, a UK-based marketing intelligence company, offers ideas to help business owners market their business online.
The benefits of having a solid digital marketing strategy, according to Chaffey, include helping to grow your business’ customer base and gain direction.
Lesson #4: Promote your business every day
Businesses that promote and market themselves everywhere are more likely to succeed than those that don’t, this is according to Gugu Mjadu, executive general manager of marketing at Business Partners Limited.
In the article, 5 marketing activities you need to get right in 2016, she shares some of the ways that business owners can ensure they are always top of mind. These include: having a solid online presence, mastering your public relations strategies and also implementing email marketing campaigns.
Lesson #5: Use social media to increase your customer base
E-commerce business founder, Robyn Smith, in the article How I turned my online following into paying customers, shares her strategies for converting online interactions into sales.
Smith is the founder of Faithful to Nature, an online organic and natural goods store. She has managed to establish itself as one of South Africa’s leading e-commerce platforms with an inventory of over 9 000 product options for customers to choose from and sends thousands of orders across the country every week.
Over the past three years her company seen revenue growth of over 70% year-on-year.
Some of the tips Smith shares for drawing in more customers are running competitions to keep followers engaged, sharing positive feedback with your following and making sure that not every message you share with your followers is a sales pitch.