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Beginner’s Guide to Marketing for Small Businesses

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If you are a small business owner, marketing can be one of the most important aspects of your business. While marketing your brand may seem daunting at first and small marketing budgets can be a challenge, there are many ways that you can get brand exposure and connect with your target market without huge expenditures.

Did you know that 88% Kiwis searched for a product online prior to purchase and for 35% of Kiwis, social media is the main research tool when researching brands?

Therefore, it is so important to create a brand presence that is not only aligned with your business goals and objectives but also strongly represented on social media. This article will provide small businesses who are just starting out with some helpful marketing tips to help reach their marketing goals and build their company’s brand.

Garnering support from your local community is also a great place to start. A report from MYOB found that in any given week, more than three-quarters of Kiwis make their purchases from local stores. Of these, 67% do so specifically to extend support to local business owners and more than a quarter of these customers have increased their spending on shopping locally.

There are several marketing strategies that small businesses can use to maximise their return on investment (ROI) from their marketing efforts, even on smaller budgets, including:

Invest in social media marketing

Social media marketing is a great way to connect with your customers and build brand recognition. It’s free, easy to use, and has the power to do wonders for your business. And with 82% of NZ’s population now using social media, it is too good an opportunity to bypass.

Small businesses can utilise Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn or Pinterest today to start making contact with their target audience and increasing their brand exposure.

When it comes to posting on social media, consistency is key. It is important to share content at least once per week across all channels so people stay interested in what you have to say. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok require more frequent posting (one post every 1-2 days if possible) to increase consumer engagement.

Once you have gained momentum in social media marketing it will become easier over time. It is vital that you don’t give up after just one or two posts if people aren’t engaging right away.

Make use of content platforms

Content marketing involves producing usable and interesting content that contains popular keywords that people are searching for on search engines. This attracts potential customers who may have an interest in the products or services you offer.

Content marketing is great for smaller businesses as it is free (other than the time spent to create it), easier to produce than traditional marketing campaigns, and more likely to be shared via social media channels like Facebook or Twitter, which can lead to even further exposure of your business’s brand name and logo.

Content also helps drive organic traffic to your digital platforms as well as builds relationships with your current and prospective customers.

A good example of content marketing might be a ‘how-to’ article on flower arranging posted by a local florist that includes popular search terms for buying flower arrangements and hiring florists for events.

Consider using PPC (pay-per-click) advertising

Pay-per-click advertising means that you pay for an advertisement only when someone clicks on it.

This is a popular marketing tactic for small business owners because of the quick results they see which can be used to help promote your products or services, boost traffic to your website and generate leads.

Investing in online marketing campaigns isn’t always cheap but it does allow you to segment and target your desired audience and is significantly cheaper than above the line or traditional advertising options such as billboards or radio ads. It is also highly trackable, allowing you to see where your dollars are being spent and optimising your campaigns accordingly.

Engage with your customers

More and more customers are expecting a level of engagement and personalisation from the companies they shop with, even the smaller ones. Engaging with your customers on social media or by replying to reviews can quickly boost your brand profile and increase customer loyalty.

This is particularly true when dealing with complaints. A quick response and resolution to the customer’s issue can turn them from someone with a negative opinion of your brand to a potential brand advocate with very little effort.

Leverage marketing automation tools

There are a range of marketing automation solutions that are capable of taking some marketing tasks off your plate, including actively managing social media channels and sending targeted emails (eDMs) to customers.

Time is always money when running a small business, and automated marketing campaigns can go a long way to giving you the best ROI possible for the smallest amount of time and money spent. It is important to have a social media and communication strategy so your customers know who you are, what you offer and how to shop with you.

Building an effective marketing strategy is hugely important in creating a competitive advantage for your business. By following this guide, and the other articles in our upcoming marketing series for small businesses, you’ll be utilising new marketing platforms, boosting your brand and connecting with new customers in no time!

You can also check out the resources offered by the NZ government and other private bodies to learn more about marketing on digital platforms.

  • The Government-backed Digital Boost Skills Training programme is free for all Kiwi small businesses. It has hundreds of short educational videos with instantly actionable insights.
  • Support Local has helpful videos, Marketing toolkits & assets for Kiwi businesses to use to improve their marketing and encourage local support.

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