Bank of Ireland Financial Wellbeing coach Rachael Foster addresses key questions for businesses trying to market on a budget.
Is it possible to attract, win and keep customers with limited marketing budget?
Absolutely. There are many ways to market your business. A well-developed marketing plan using the right channels can deliver both short and long-term benefits to a business and won’t necessarily cost a fortune. The only expense ought to be the time you put into your plan.
“It’s no longer just enough to have your shop front, social media is the new front door for your business”
Some of you may ‘think’ as a business owner with countless challenges each day that marketing is a luxury for the larger companies. Well, you’d be wrong. No matter how small your business, there should always be a marketing plan and budget whether it be big or small, to increase awareness, customer base, and grow revenue.
How do I set out clear marketing goals for my business?
To better understand how to build a marketing plan, you should know its elements. A marketing plan consists of several key pieces of information that can be divided into sections based on your preference. If you’re not sure where to begin there are great resources of information and templates available here on ThinkBusiness.
How viable a path is social media to market my business?
It is imperative for a business to be on social media. Social media has such potential to support you raising your brand’s profile. It’s no longer just enough to have your shop front, social media is the new front door for your business. According to Datareportal Ireland has 3.2m social media users, that’s 65pc of the population. This shows us your customers are interacting with brands through social media already and if you’re not speaking directly to your customer base or potential customers through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you may be missing out!
Great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to your business, creating devoted brand advocates and even driving leads and sales.
My tip would be for a business owner to research the social media channels usage in Ireland, Ipsos MRBI create reports that give insights to help you to choose the right social media channels for your business in Ireland. Remember, you don’t need to be on all channels, but your customers do need choice. Don’t exclude potential customers by not being present on certain social media channels. Here is another great article for business owners to read from ThinkBusiness.
What practical or creative steps can I take to get my company’s name out there?
Getting started with marketing your business can be intimidating, so here are some tips for effectively promoting your business.
- Choose the right social media platforms – Sharing your content on the right platforms is crucial to your success. When determining which channels to use, you should consider your customers and your business. It’s important that you create accounts on the platforms your target audience uses, so they can easily connect with you. IPSOS is a great resource for your research. If you already have a presence on social media make sure you have it set as a business account as the social platforms will provide you with insights on your audience and this can support you when creating your social posts as you will see from the insights what your customers like and are interacting with.
- Online Shopping – At a recent event hosted by Champion Green on how to excel in economic growth and drive revenue, one of the guest speakers made reference to enabling firms to thrive through online shopping. As a business, this demand has increased across all counties in Ireland for the first time ever as a result of this pandemic. As this is so clearly evident, businesses need to ensure they have a top class website. A key tip highlighted during the conference was to ensure Irish websites use the .ie domain name rather than .com domain to help endorse their branding.Your Local Enterprise Office would be a good place to start to gather recommendations on training or schemes like the Trading Online Voucher.
- Google My Business – Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organisations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. To help customers find their business, and to tell them their story, they can verify their business and edit their business information. Google also has the Digital Garage which is a non-profit programme from Google delivering free digital skills training via an online learning platform. This platform provides individuals with a tailored training plan to learn digital skills, completely for free.
Do I need to hire a PR company or social media expert or can I do all of this myself?
You can do a lot of this yourself. However, it could be beneficial to perhaps give someone who is in college studying marketing work experience to support you in your marketing plan or putting a plan in place.
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