iStock Image Credit: Adriana Cahova

Small business owners are struggling to market their business

Recently I hosted a marketing questions and answers session with eight women in business. Prior to the event I asked each of the participants to submit their biggest marketing challenge.

There were two areas that become obvious to me, from their responses.

1. Just using one marketing channel

 An overwhelming 90% of respondents came back with the same response:

  • That they were only posting on social media, as a form of marketing
  • Because they didn’t know how else to get in front of customers.

2. Not allocating a monthly marketing budget

 The second thing that became apparent was that many small business owners fail to allocate a marketing budget each month.

Allocating a marketing spend each month, is crucial to get in front of your ideal client with your core message, to help them solve the problem that they are experiencing that you can help solve.

Why are business owners not using a wider marketing channel mix?

Many of the business owners I meet skip the vital step of conducting market research with their ideal client. You can then use your market research findings to plan your marketing channel mix.

This step is so important, and is a crucial part of developing a marketing strategy and plan for your business. By skipping this step you can waste a lot of time and money on ineffective marketing activities.

READ OUR BLOG – Why do you conduct market research for your business?

What are the marketing channels?

There are 16 marketing channels. I do not advocate that you need to use all 16, what I suggest is that you use the right mix for your unique business, to reach your potential customers.

The aim of your marketing is to get a potential customer to know, like and trust you. Which means providing useful helpful information to help them make their purchase decision.

The 16 Marketing Channels:

  1. Referral Marketing – This includes intentional word of mouth activities and referral generation e.g. attending a business networking group.
  2. Public Relations – This includes activities aimed at receiving coverage in traditional media outlets.
  3. Online Advertising – This includes the use of pay-per-click platforms, social networks, display ads and retargeting e.g. Facebook Ads, Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads etc.
  4. Offline Advertising – This includes advertising in offline print and broadcast outlets such as magazine, TV and radio.
  5. Content Marketing – This includes publishing, optimising and sharing educational content that draws search traffic, links and subscribers e.g. blogs, videos, podcasts, eBooks etc.
  6. Sales Playbooks– This includes the creation of specific actions aimed at mining, generating, nurturing and converting leads.
  7. Email Marketing – This includes the use of targeted and automated email campaigns e.g. Vivacity Marketing Tip of the Week newsletter.
  8. Utility Marketing – This includes the creation of useful tools that stimulate traffic, sharing and brand awareness e.g. An eBook.
  9. Influencer Marketing – This includes the practice of building relationships with individuals that can influence their pre-established fan base.
  10. Search Engine Optimisation – This includes on page and off page optimisation activities aimed at generating organic search engine traffic.
  11. Strategic Partner Marketing – This includes co-marketing activities run in collaboration with strategic marketing partners.
  12. Social Media Marketing – This includes the act of building engagement on established platforms and networks such Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  13. Online Events – This includes events such as webinars, online demonstrations, and workshops conducted using online tools e.g. Zoom, Loom, Facebook Live.
  14. Offline Events – This includes events such as workshops, seminars, expos and customer events.
  15. Speaking Engagements – This includes speaking at industry events, events within your target market.
  16. Community Building – Building and facilitating a community around a shared interest or topic related to your business.

How do you plan your marketing channel mix?

The starting point is to do your market research to understand the following aspects about your ideal customers:

  • What triggers their need for your product/service?
  • Where do they search?
  • How do they search?
  • How do they weight up their options?
  • What platforms are they responsive to?
  • What marketing channels do the respond well to?

Once you have this information you can use it to plan your marketing channel mix. And start getting your message in front of the right people at the right time in the right format, to help them along their buying journey.

Next step is to decide which marketing activity you can do yourself and which activities you need to outsource. – Helping you build a vibrant business.

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