Common marketing challenges for small businesses and how we plan to meet them
Our marketing challenges and how we plan to meet them:
Having just been to an online marketing workshop at the BIPC at the British Library my business partner and I are now at the point where we need to take our marketing, and in fact our whole business to the next level.
What does this actually mean?
Well, in my mind it means looking back to see what is working well in terms of marketing. Where are we generating business and what methods are working for us? So far, as I suspect is the case with a lot small businesses, most of our work comes from referrals. Most of our current clients were our clients one year ago when we worked at CTVC who is our former employer. New business has come through referrals or from people with whom we had worked years ago. However next year will prove a new challenge. In order to survive and thrive we need new business from people we do not know.
This is where the workshop with Grow came in useful. I will not simple regurgitate their work (which is not fair) however I will outline ways in which we plan to use what we have learnt:
1. Outbound marketing: This is where you chase contacts and includes the dreaded cold calling, sending out information from email lists you have bought, direct mail etc. We have currently used to this to some good effect. I find cold calling tough but it’s good to at least give it a go, test out ways to engage people and then see if follow up emails convert into a meeting. Most of the time it doesn’t work so you need nerves of steel! Where we have had some luck is cold emailing (not sure if that is a proper term), this has been through a number of trials using different buzz words and most importantly offering free taster sessions. I have very rarely employed someone, or a business, without knowing their service or product well, so why would anyone else?
2. Inbound: through social media. This strategy is content driven and includes video tutorials, free downloads, webinars etc. Our plan is to increase this output. The next challenge is to find the time.
3. Events. At our previous work we held regular events that were successful. These were aimed at young film-makers. Our market has changed and the next challenge is to provide events with content that engages and excites. We have found that offline networking enhances and amplifies online conversations. People want to meet each other. So next year we will start this new strategy.
4. Networking. My best tip for this is to go up to the person who is by themselves and introduce yourself. Then proceed to ask them questions about themselves. This is easy once you practise. We have also generated new business througb networking and although it takes courage it can provide great results.
5. Attending seminars or workshops. This is a great way to meet people and if no-one wants to chat then at least you have learnt something. The We Are Grow seminar was great and I would recommend it to any small business, it was great value too. Also look out for social media week with tons of free workshops and networking opportunities.
There is no magic bullet to marketing. The more I read, the more experts I talk to and the more seminars I attend I realise that it takes many methods to promote your work and get noticed. The main thing is to create time in your working day or to recruit someone who who has a passion for marketing and social media.
To chat further about this or with help making videos contact firstname.lastname@example.org and good luck with your business!