Setting Your Marketing Budget
As a general rule of thumb, you need to be realistic about matching your budget to your goals for the year ahead. Here, suppose you’re looking to maintain your current business. In that case, you need to set aside 5-7% of total revenue for your marketing budget. To grow your business, you should be looking to spend 7-10% of your marketing budget. To really seek to aggressively gain market share, you would be looking at 10-20% for a dedicated marketing budget.
It is easy to get caught up in the doing – in fulfilment, in the product – but the key is to take a step back and be clear on what you have to play with, and then get to the business of how best to spend it.
Finding Your Audience
Digital advertising and social media ads are the fastest, most targeted and measurable ways to reach your customers. You can focus on spending money on the audiences you want to attract, be it age, location or interests. It also doesn’t require a big budget to get going (unlike a TV ad!), so there is no barrier to starting.
Just remember to be really laser-focused on who you are trying to engage. Go back to your core consumer or new audience segment and think critically about where they live (digitally!), when and what else they consume, and therefore the platforms you should test or prioritise first.
Stand Out From The Competition
Find the space where you can stand out over the next year by knowing what your brand does better or differently from your competitors and make sure this is what people see. And look at offering additional services that will help you differentiate, like free trials, subscriptions, recycling schemes of money-back guarantees. Importantly, hero these unique selling points through your marketing – from video content and photography to the content you use to explain your business online or in-store.
Remember, people don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. Don’t be afraid to tell your personal story. Connecting with your audience can really set you apart from your competitors.
Optimise Your Real Estate
What spaces does your business have that it can brand? Good windows turn window shoppers into foot traffic. Think of simple messaging that explains your business personality in a few quick glances. If you don’t have a store, do you have a company vehicle you can brand? Or, if you run your business outdoors, try flags, outdoor banners and wearable branding (t-shirts and hoodies).
Build Out The Experience
Think about how you can build the customer experience – from physical interactions to digital engagements. This is a sure-fire way of keeping customers coming back for more. For example, you could use your physical space for a complimentary experience (even for a limited time) or drive great 1:1 service – yoga classes and expert teams in the Lululemon store always entices me in!
Offering e-receipts or a loyalty programme will also give you a chance to capture customer details so that you can start building out your relationship and engaging over time. Email is a really inexpensive marketing channel. Consider setting up automated emails when customers first sign up to connect with them while they’re highly engaged. This could be a simple welcome note or special offers to incentivise spending more. For example, if your average order is $60, why not offer $20 when they spend $100 again this month?
On how and why these tips are fundamental for small business owners, Caroline Swarbrick, Senior Director of Marketing, Sales and Customer Experience, comments: “At Vistaprint, we understand the new financial year is an opportune time for businesses to take a deep breath and set themselves up for success for the next 12 months. Refreshing your marketing strategy is an excellent way to reposition your business and find new pathways to growth in your sector and community.
“There is a myriad of ways to approach your strategy, but the most important thing is to keep it clear and simple to develop a strategy around your own business goals. Our aim at Vistaprint is to not only provide small businesses with high-quality custom products to help execute their strategies but also share advice and help businesses better connect with both physical and digital marketing materials.”
Also, see Small business Answers guide to Marketing to grow your business.