When you set up a small business for the first time, everything is new and confusing. There are so many things to think about that you really need some help to come up with the best marketing ideas to get you started, and this is what this article sets out to do.
**What Is Marketing? Why Is It Necessary?**
If you Google “marketing definitions” you will atierrademisamores throw up a host of answers. One clear definition, from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, is that: Marketing is the management process that identifies, anticipates and satisfies customer requirements profitably. Put another way: the right product, in the right place, at the right time, at the right price.
Customers will only give you what they value (their money) if they feel that you are satisfying a need which they have. But marketing is not just about providing products and services, it is about matching the benefits you offer to the changing needs and demands of your customers and ensuring you are getting value in return.
**How Can I Do Market Research?**
As a new small business, you are unlikely to be able to afford to commission market research yourself, but you can take advantage of what is already out there. Ask your local library to get hold of any available market research reports on your industry. Search the Internet for any relevant information.
Check out the competition – what could you offer which would differentiate your business from theirs? There is no point trying to compete with the multinationals head-on, but if you can find a niche market in which you can offer a higher level of service, you may be able to succeed and thrive.
The best way to find out what your customers actually want or need is to ask them. Contact 5 or 6 of your existing customers – ideally face-to-face. Invite them for a coffee, or visit them at their home and talk to them about what they like or dislike about your business. What could you offer that they would find useful or valuable? What have they struggled to find locally, which you might be able to help with?
**What Are The Best Marketing Ideas I Can Use?**
You need to find ways to attract people to your business and help them make a conscious decision to purchase from you. Think:
Who am I targeting?
How will I reach them?
What will I offer them?
– You won’t be able to afford national advertising, so think local – local newspaper or radio ads can be inexpensive.
– Target your advertising – if you are selling to young mums, an ad on daytime local radio may be effective; if you are targeting students, see if the local college or university will let you put up posters on notice boards or flyers in the library or canteen.
– Consider offering discounts for repeat purchases, or for introducing new customers. – Treat your existing customers well, by contacting them soon after they buy, to make sure they are happy with their purchase.
– Offer “value added” services which cost you little but are valuable to the customer (like helping with installation of your product, or offering an email or telephone helpline for problems)
– Run a competition with one of your products as the prize – tell the local media and you could get free publicity (local papers always like stories to fill their pages)
– Maximise your visibility by putting your logo and advertising on your car, van, and all your letterheads, invoices etc.
Now, why not try brainstorming some more ideas? The best marketing ideas are the ones that you think of yourself and tailor to your business; these have been just a few to help you get started.
If you run a small business, and you are struggling to come up with marketing ideas, there is a neat website that can help you generate loads of great ideas. Take a look at [http://www.marketingbrainstorm.com] and see how it can help you promote your business ahead of the competition.