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Five top marketing tips for SMEs

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You might ask yourself how you should be spending your money, what techniques to use, who to work with and how you ensure you get the best value for money. 

Here are a few pointers to get you going – and why not get involved in the Marketing4StartUpBritain this coming week, where you can learn from top marketers and entrepreneurs for free?

1. Have a compelling message or truth at the heart of your marketing

If your customers only know one thing about your business what should it be? What do you offer your customers that is unique and different to your competitors? 

Take the time to examine the challenges facing your customers and find the most compelling way to demonstrate how you solve those issues.   

2. Marry ideas with strategy

Great ideas are one thing, but without equally first rate planning and execution, they quickly lose value.  

Discuss where your target audience is and where they communicate with each other, before doing anything else. Will your organisation benefit from a very visible above the line campaign encompassing elements like traditional outdoor and print adverts? 

It’s important to keep an open mind when assessing these questions. It’s about what will work best now, rather than what techniques you’ve used in the past at other companies or what your competitors are doing.

3. Online vs offline mix

A recent report from Circle research showed digital tends to be the priority for SMEs, with search and email marketing topping the list of most important channels. 

But don’t forget the value of offline marketing as well. Sixty-two per cent of SMEs in Circle’s research said that editorial content in trade magazines through PR was a crucial tool for helping them get on their customers radar. 

While online marketing can be a cheap and quick way to get your message to the masses, it should be paired with a more direct individual campaign.  

4. Maintain contact with your customers

Customer relationship management is often neglected. To get regular loyal customers you need to target them with relevant content. 

Having a comprehensive database of the people you regularly come into contact with and who has registered an interest to hear more from you is an essential starting point, but unless this is used to engage them with the right new information, customers will quickly switch off. 

5. Attitude counts

Just because you’re a small business, it doesn’t mean you have to think like a small brand. 

You may not have a huge team or have a massive budget for communications, but there are always opportunities to do things differently, for those brave enough to try it. 

You only have to look at the success of campaigns like “Will it blend?”, which was done on virtually no budget and managed to make Blendtec blenders into a much talked about and exciting brand. 

Be bold and creative will help make your start up stand out from the crowd.

Scott Knox is chief executive of the Marketing Agencies Association, which is hosting the Marketing4StartupBritain campaign on July 4-8.

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