With Paula from Marketing Vision
I can’t believe it’s already time for my third guest blog!
This month’s blog features the fabulous Paula from Marketing Vision. I met Paula earlier this year through the networking events she organises in Petersfield. This was obviously way before Covid struck, when 12 people could safely meet in a quaint little coffee shop (The Hidden Kitchen in Petersfield) and drink coffee, exchange ideas and generally have a chat.
I do miss those times!
I’ve been to a lot of networking events, some more formal than others, but I must say Paula’s was by far the friendliest, the cosiest and the most inviting.
Paula is a marketing specialist. She offers flexible and targeted marketing strategies to help growing businesses flourish. She can help you navigate the ever-growing number of marketing tools and techniques and create a targeted plan that is realistic, manageable and gets results.
So, when it comes to marketing, here’s Paula’s advice to small business owners …
As a small business owner, it can be really hard to find the time to promote your business effectively.
The weeks zoom by and your marketing to-do list remains untouched (perhaps it’s growing bigger by the day).
And it’s no wonder. You wear a lot of different hats and are pulled in many different directions. Particularly if you’re a one-(wo)man band. There are only so many hours in the day!
So, to support you – we’re sharing five of our top tips to help you focus your energies and feel more in control of your marketing:
Make a plan
Not only will you create more time, businesses with a plan in place are 20% more profitable than those without. Having a succinct, targeted marketing plan for your business allows you to focus on core priorities and schedule the less pressing activities for a later date.
A marketing plan doesn’t need to be complex either, a simple plan is better than no plan at all. It’s good practice to plan out 90-days at a time, to give you the flexibility to pivot and adapt as needed. You can develop an over-arching longer-term plan which details your core goals, but then break this down into shorter 90-day periods – it can seem less over-whelming tackled in this way also.
Know your target audience
Understanding your customers is crucially important. This will help you focus and be more effective in your marketing activities, and ultimately achieve a better return on your investment (whether that be time or money).
Take some time to develop a ‘Customer Avatar’ (a profile of your ideal customer) – you will likely have several core ones. Really think about who they are, why they buy from you (or your competitors), their challenges, and how you can deliver on a genuine need. There are plenty of consumer profile templates available online that you can fill out. Couple this with talking to your customers, dipping into Google Analytics and your social media analytics, and you’ll have a much clearer picture of who your customers are, and how you can best serve them.
In the absence of big budgets, little and often (regular, consistent marketing) is the absolute key to gaining traction, building brand awareness and forming a strong foundation for growth. If you want results, you can’t get away with leaving your marketing until last thing on a Friday afternoon!
Block out time each week for marketing your business. Scheduling your marketing activities will hugely increase the chances of them happening. Whether you like to use an app, online project management tool, wall planner or tear-off desk pad – the logic is the same. What doesn’t get written down won’t get done. And be clear on specific tasks that you want to work on during the time you have blocked out. Ticking tasks off as you go will give you a stronger sense of control too!
Flex and Adapt
As your business grows and evolves, so too should your marketing strategy. What worked well for your brand at one time, may no longer serve you. Or perhaps there is a better tool or technique available to you now.
Build time into your schedule to track, measure and adapt. How did your email marketing campaign perform versus expectation? How much engagement are your seeing on your social media channels? How could you improve things? Your marketing plan is an evolving guide that helps you to shape your marketing decisions. To be successful, ensure that you regularly refer back to your plan – review, test and adapt. Don’t be afraid to change things up, test new ideas or explore fresh opportunities.
Brand yourself right
Whether for your website, social media platforms, or other form of marketing – it’s really important to invest in professional photography. Beautiful, high-quality product shots are essential if you’re a product-based business. Your website is your shop window, and consumers expect their online experience with you to be seamless. Images too fuzzy? Too cluttered? Poor lighting? They will quickly move on.
And for service-based businesses, a set of professional personal branding photos is the perfect way to boost your profile and communicate a sense of who you are. People buy from people, so it’s really important that your brand imagery reflects you. And remember to have fun with it. Small business owners don’t need to be sat up looking serious in a suit. Be you. And don’t worry, a great photographer will help you feel at ease and bring out the best in you. Even if you don’t particularly enjoy having your photo taken!
Vision Marketing offer tailored packages with expert advice and trusted methods, to kickstart new marketing strategies or streamline an existing one. From one-off troubleshoots and strategy planning, to bespoke outsourcing and digital content services including websites, email marketing, blogs, social media support and pitches.
If you would like to find out more, please visit the Marketing Vision website here.
Or if you would like to follow Paula on social media, you can find her on Instagram as @paula_marketingvc or on Twitter as @MarketingVC
And if you would like some new photographs to help you build and grow you brand, get in touch!