What would make a difference in marketing for my small business?

Make a difference with marketing for small businesses

Unlocking success: Essential marketing for small businesses

So, what would make a difference in marketing for my small business?

As a small business owner, you’re no stranger to the challenges of marketing for small businesses. With limited resources and fierce competition, finding effective strategies  can be daunting. Fear not! In this article, we’ll explore actionable tips to boost your marketing game and drive growth.

20 essential strategies for marketing for small businesses.

TOP TIPS: We have highlighted some of the tips that you can do yourself, for free to help with marketing for small businesses.

1. Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience is the foundation of successful marketing. Here’s how to do it:

Buyer Personas: Create detailed buyer personas. These are fictional representations of your ideal customers. Consider demographics, pain points, motivations, and behaviour patterns. Tailor your messaging to resonate with these personas.

Market Research: Conduct thorough market research. Analyse industry trends, competitors, and customer preferences. Use tools like surveys, interviews, and social media analytics.

2. Emphasise Your Value Proposition

Your value proposition is the unique value you offer to customers. Clarify it by:

Identifying Benefits: What specific benefits do your products or services provide? Is it cost savings, convenience, quality, or something else?

Solving Pain Points: Highlight how your solution addresses common pain points. Show how you make your customers’ lives better.

3. Set Clear Goals

Define specific marketing goals:

SMART Goals: Make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For example, “Increase website traffic by 20% in the next quarter.”

Focus on Priorities: Don’t spread yourself thin. Prioritise goals that align with your business objectives.

4. Capitalise on Short-Term Plays

Short-term tactics can yield quick wins:

Flash Sales: Create urgency with limited-time discounts or promotions.

Seasonal Campaigns: Tie your marketing efforts to holidays or special occasions.

5. Analyse What Works

Data-driven decisions lead to success:

Marketing Analytics: Use tools like Google Analytics, social media insights, and email campaign reports. Identify which channels and campaigns drive results.

A/B Testing: Experiment with different approaches (e.g., email subject lines, ad copy) and measure their impact.

6. Leverage Existing Customers

Your loyal customers are your best advocates:

Referral Programs: Encourage existing customers to refer others. Offer incentives for successful referrals.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials: Showcase positive feedback on your website and social media.

7. Use Free Promotional Tools

Maximise your reach without breaking the bank:

Social Media: Regularly post engaging content. Interact with followers and build a community.

Content Marketing: Write blog posts, create videos, or host webinars. Share valuable information related to your industry.

8. Build a Professional Website

Your website is your online storefront:

User Experience (UX): Ensure easy navigation, fast loading times, and mobile responsiveness.

Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): Guide visitors toward desired actions (e.g., signing up, making a purchase).

9. Blogging for Organic Traffic

Blogging establishes authority and attracts organic visitors:

SEO Optimisation: Research relevant keywords and incorporate them naturally into your blog posts.

Consistent Publishing: Regularly update your blog with valuable content.

10. Promote on Social Media

Choose platforms where your audience hangs out:

Content Variety: Share a mix of posts—educational, entertaining, and promotional.

Engage with Followers: Respond to comments and messages promptly.

11. Collaborate with Influencers

Influencers can amplify your brand:

Relevance: Partner with influencers whose audience aligns with yours.

Authenticity: Ensure the collaboration feels genuine and not forced.

12. Create Short-Form Video Content

Video is king:

Platform-Specific Content: Tailor videos for platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts.

Storytelling: Use videos to tell your brand story or showcase behind-the-scenes moments.

13. Stick to a Social Media Posting Schedule

Consistency matters:

Content Calendar: Plan ahead. Decide when and what to post.

Quality Over Quantity: Focus on delivering value rather than posting excessively.

14. Invest in Ads

Paid advertising can yield targeted results:

Facebook Ads: Target specific demographics based on interests and behaviours.

Google Ads: Appear in search results for relevant keywords.

15. Capture Web Prospects’ Information

Build your email list:

Lead Magnets: Offer free resources (e.g., e-books, templates) in exchange for email sign-ups.

Segmentation: Group subscribers based on interests or behaviour.

16. Email Marketing

Nurture leads through personalised emails:

Automated Campaigns: Send welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, and follow-ups.

Valuable Content: Share helpful tips, product updates, and exclusive offers.

17. Manage Relationships with a CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system helps you stay organised:

Track Interactions: Log every interaction with leads and customers. This includes emails, phone calls, meetings, and purchases. A CRM ensures you never miss an opportunity.
Segmentation: Group your contacts based on criteria like behaviour, demographics, or interests. This allows for targeted marketing campaigns.

18. Word of Mouth Promotion

Harness the power of satisfied customers:

Referral Programs: Encourage existing customers to refer friends and family. Offer incentives like discounts or freebies.
Customer Reviews and Testimonials: Display positive feedback prominently on your website and social media. Authentic reviews build trust.

19. Connect with Other Local Businesses

Collaboration can amplify your reach:

Cross-Promotions: Partner with neighbouring businesses. For example, a coffee shop could collaborate with a bookstore for joint events or promotions.
Local Events: Participate in community events, fairs, or markets. Network with other entrepreneurs and potential customers.
Remember, marketing is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor your efforts, adapt to changes, and stay open to new ideas. As a small business owner, your agility and creativity are your superpowers. Best of luck on your marketing journey! 🚀🌟

20. Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is a powerful asset for small businesses. Here’s how to make the most of it:

Encourage Customer Participation: Invite your customers to share their experiences with your product or service. Whether it’s through reviews, social media posts, or testimonials, UGC adds authenticity to your brand.
Run Contests and Challenges: Organise photo contests, video challenges, or creative campaigns. Encourage participants to use your product and share their content. Offer prizes or recognition for the best entries.
Showcase UGC on Your Platforms: Share user-generated content on your website, social media profiles, and marketing materials. It not only provides social proof but also engages your community.
Create Hashtags: Develop branded hashtags related to your business. Encourage customers to use these hashtags when posting about your products. This helps you discover and curate UGC.
Collaborate with Influential Users: Identify influencers or micro-influencers who align with your brand. Partner with them to create UGC. Their endorsement can significantly impact your reach.

Remember, UGC humanises your brand and builds trust. Embrace it as a valuable resource in your marketing toolkit! 📸👍


For more ideas about marketing for small businesses checkout this FSB article: Seven most popular ways to promote your business.

Feel free to customise and expand upon these strategies based on your business’s unique needs and industry. Share this article with fellow entrepreneurs—it might just spark their next brilliant marketing idea! 💡👩‍💼👨‍💼


If you are struggling with your marketing but not sure where to start, how to implement and manage it, we'd be delighted to have a chat and offer some good, sound advice. Get in touch, let's chat 😃


Do i need a website for my business

Do I need a website for my business?

Do I need a website for my business?

When setting a business up it can seem like there are a lot of costs involved at a time when we might have limited cash. So it wise to think carefully about where you spend the cash you have, particularly in marketing. We regularly get asked 'Do I need a website for my business?' We think getting a business website is essential in today's digital age, and here are some reasons why:

  1. Online Presence: A website will provide your business with an online presence, allowing potential customers to find you easily through search engines, social media, and other online platforms.
  2. Credibility: A professional website can help establish your business's credibility and legitimacy. It shows that you are serious about your business and that you are willing to invest in your online presence.
  3. Increased Visibility: A website allows you to reach a wider audience, increasing your business's visibility and potential customer base. With the right SEO strategies, you can attract more traffic to your website and generate more leads.
  4. 24/7 Accessibility: Unlike a physical store, a website is accessible 24/7, allowing customers to access your products or services at any time of the day or night. This can help you generate sales even when you are closed.
  5. Cost-Effective Marketing: A website is a cost-effective marketing tool that allows you to reach a wider audience than traditional marketing methods. With the right strategies in place, you can attract more customers to your website without spending a fortune on advertising.

Overall, having a website is crucial for any business looking to establish an online presence, attract more customers, and grow its business.


We specialise in creating websites for our clients in WordPress, we also offer a design service for Wix websites.

If you are thinking about getting a website but not sure where to start, which platform to use or where to host it, we'd be delighted to have a chat and offer some advice. Get in touch by emailing us at studio@excelldesign.co.uk


Why are dogs so popular in marketing?

Why are dogs so popular in marketing?

Why are dogs so popular in marketing?

Tilly under a Simpsons skyHave you ever noticed just how many dogs are featured in marketing? Well, we have a Westie who lets us know by barking and taking a running leap at the tv every time one appears. No, really. She (Tilly) can spot a dog at twenty paces on a tv screen, often before we’ve even seen it, and either she wants to play or feels they are entering her territory. She's also got a thing for Scandi Noir box sets at the moment...

This has led us to realise that there are an awful lots of dogs used in the advertising slots, especially when you take into account repeats. And that’s as well as dogs in tv shows and films. Try it, count them when you're next watching tv.

Of course animals have been used in marketing since, well, marketing began. Wolves, sheep, cats, ponies, meerkats, horses, chimpanzees, orangutans, kangaroos, emus and the list goes on. Yet, there seems to be no animal more popular in the marketing world than dogs. Man’s best friend is featured regularly and is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to advertising a product or a service.

One marketing goal should be to create something that we relate to, something that appeals to our emotions and something that is memorable. And what’s more relatable, emotional and memorable than a dog?

As a nation of pet lovers there are a huge number of us that love dogs. It is estimated (by PDSA) that:

50% of UK adults own a pet.
34% of the UK adult population have a dog with an estimated population of 13 million pet dogs*.
(*Source: https://worldanimalfoundation.org/advocate/pet-ownership-statistics/)

That’s a lot of dogs.


The ‘aaahhhhh’ factor

Different breeds of dogs can be associated with particular brands and etched onto our memories providing long running brand associations.


Think paint and what dog comes to mind? The Dulux Dog. In fact it’s known as a Dulux Dog more than its actual breed name Old English Sheep Dog. That's a great example of branding working at its best, when the brand name becomes part of the English language.


Think toilet paper and what dog comes to mind? Cute, adorable Labrador puppies trailing Andrex toilet paper down the stairs, along the hallway and across the lounge. And that’s been going on for over 75 years! (the advertising not the loo roll!)


More recently a white labradoodle has made a multi-surface floor cleaning product both funny and memorable. Flash Dog regularly entertains us with a sing along advert that demonstrates the product’s cleaning power along with a reworded version of the iconic Flash superhero theme tune.


Don’t look into their eyes...

It can be a good idea in marketing to relate a product or service to something that your audiences love, something that will get their attention, and dogs certainly appeal to a lot of people.

Dogs have a knack of appealing to our emotions, they’re adorable, loyal and they make good companions. When you add these attributes to the ability to create something memorable it really can be an excellent marketing strategy.


If you’d like some help with appealing to your customers for your business or organisation, or you'd just like to tell us about your dog, then we'd love to hear from you.

Woof, woof!

Electric Bike vehicle livery design

Electric Bike Livery Design

Electric bike livery design

Great to see the FareShare Sussex eco delivery van out and about. Delighted to have helped design it along with fab illustrations from Sandra Staufer – looking good!


Vehicle Signage and Livery

If you have a company car, delivery van or better still an Electric Bike then it pays to consider using signage to advertise your services. Think about it, even when the vehicle isn't being used as a mobile billboard and is parked up, it's a constant advertisement for your business or company. No one ever walks up to the driver of a blank van and asks for their business card. A well designed service van creates confidence, trust and credibility among your customers, it also raises your profile and helps you stay in your potential customers minds.

Professionally designed signage helps to give the impression that the business owners know how to take care of their business and have pride in doing so, which in turns builds confidence in customers that they will be well looks after. The most effective wrapped vehicles are those that have solid design and utilise good branding. This may be an opportunity to look at your brand. Does it need refreshed? What could you do better?

When designing your vehicle signage or livery remember so keys points:

  1. Make sure your branding is consistent with your other marketing outlets, i.e. website, email marketing, social media accounts etc. This will ensure your customers will know they are seeing the same company or business.
  2. The message should be simple. If it's too text-heavy, for example, it will be hard to read. The most important information should be the largest and very visible; typically this is the company name.
  3. Don't try to mention everything you do or provide, you'll over crowd the design and layout and it will lose impact. Instead sum it up, what is your core business and what needs do you solve for your business?
  4. Remember to include your telephone number and website address. Obvious I know, but occasionally they get missed. Make sure they are clear and readable from a distance. If you can't read it when parked across the road no one else will be able to read it either.
  5. Make your design colourful and eye-catching. You are using your vehicle as mobile advertisements, so don't hold back when it comes to design. Make it fun, exciting, unique and distinctive.
  6. Remember to check your spelling, even better, ask others to do it for it. There is nothing worse that a typo in the signage, this will paint a bad picture of you in your customers minds.

If you'd like some help and advice about your vehicle signage and livery get in touch, we'd be delighted to help.


About FareShare

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of good food is wasted by the UK food industry every year. At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat.

Our work addresses these two issues by redistributing food industry surplus which would otherwise be wasted, to the people that need it most.

We provide food to charities and groups that deliver services in addition to meals, such as advice and guidance, health support, counselling and befriending, to help break the cycle of poverty and use food as a vehicle for good above and beyond alleviating hunger.

Checkout the great work FareShare Sussex are doing in these hard times, if you can volunteer, fundraise or donate, please do.


Using gamification in your marketing strategy

Gamification in your marketing strategy

Gamification in your marketing strategy

The term ‘gamification’ is is widely used these days  It’s also something that we’ve noticed is cropping up in conversation with our clients on a regular basis as they consider creating their own gamification marketing strategy. So, what exactly is gamification and how does gamification fit in to your marketing strategy?

The answer to the first question is fairly straightforward and has been covered extensively on sites such as Wikipedia:

"Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. It can also be defined as a set of activities and processes to solve problems by using or applying the characteristics of game elements. Gamification commonly employs game design elements to improve user engagement, organisational productivity, flow, learning, crowdsourcing, knowledge retention, employee recruitment and evaluation, ease of use, usefulness of systems, physical exercise, traffic violations, voter apathy, and more."

The answer to the second question has been surprisingly established for some years. Gamification has been embedded into marketing strategies since day 1. Incentives have been central to both marketing and gaming strategies; encouraging us all to better ourselves with the latest products, improve our skills with the most difficult challenge or by simply offering us an escape from reality.

Gamification takes the essence of what makes games so “fascinating and irresistible” and integrate them into non-game experiences, i.e. marketing strategies and campaigns. Adding elements to your site or app like: rewards, challenges and incentives triggers a sense of achievement and makes use of the competitive nature in people, encouraging them to use your app or website even more, because they’ll enjoy it.

Why does gamification work?

  • You create a fun experience for your audience, which will lead to a longer and more engaging relationship.
  • It motivates your customers to participate: there are chances to be rewarded, to win something or to gain recognition.
  • It gives you an emotional connection with your customers, increasing the possibility that they’ll also become more loyal to your business.
  • It’s for “all-around” uses since you can add game elements to different areas. Think project management, recruitment, marketing and more.

Gamification can increase the engagement of customers, prospects and partners. Rewarding them (it doesn’t’ have to be something materialistic, it can also be recognition or even valuable content) can increase their loyalty and positive feeling towards your business. It speaks to the sense of achievement & competition of the people. People want to be noticed and get rewarded. Performing better than their peers will leave them with a sense of achievement. It will help your prospects identify each other. Having gamification tools, can help you segment your prospects, so you can make them a more personalised offer.

Gamification in your marketing strategy

  • Incentive - Is there a valid reason for introducing gamification and, if so, a strong incentive to ensure it is a success? From rewarding users with improved status, access to new content or just free stuff, being clear about how you intend to motivate your audience is a vital gamification technique.
  • Process - Are there existing processes in place that can be adapted and, if not, how will the gamification of your products, services or content be managed? If you can identify activity that your users are already performing and ‘gamify it’ then you can instantly add value.  Alternatively, if you’re trying to convert your users to new behaviour then make sure the gamification process is easy for them to buy into.
  • Context - Is it the right audience on the right platform? In simple terms, if you want to use gamification as an HR tool, make sure that the technology is accessible to all as a web service and not just as an app.  If your target audience are already using a particular device then go with the flow and develop a solution around their technology choices.
  • Objective - What do you hope to achieve from the gamification process and is it a short or long term objective? Using freebies as an incentive is a quick win but being able to give your users improved status amongst their peers or giving them ongoing access to exclusive content has the potential to create brand loyalty in the long term.
  • Scope - How long will this take and how much will this cost? An obvious question when undertaking any marketing or communications activity.  However, if this is something new to your brand or business then scoping out the project properly in the first place will provide your creative and technical partners with a much clearer understanding of your expectations.

Entertainment, education and engagement through gamification can help you to engage with different target audiences and build long term brand loyalty. There are many stablished webinars and conferences that specialise in gamification, such as Gamification Europe and Gamification+.

What ever you decide to do, make it fun!


Marketing your business – 5 things to do now

Marketing your business – 5 things to do now

With the current Coronavirus situation giving cause for concern about the lack of business trading, it goes without saying that many people are wondering what to do for their marketing.

We have had to change the way we are marketing and the voice and message of it to adapt for the changing times. Invariably with a glut of advice telling what to do it has become overwhelming and causes businesses to hesitate with their marketing. History tells us that in times of recession it's not the time to stop your marketing, rather to increase it. 

So with this in mind, we took a step back to look at our own marketing realised that the basic fundamentals needed some attention. Without these building blocks in place you run the risk of any marketing activities, drives and campaigns being ineffective. Here are 5 things you can do now to improve those foundations on which to build your marketing further.


Social Media Profile

1 – Social Media 

Now is a good time to look at your social media profiles and update them to ensure that they work well for you. 

You probably already know that social media marketing is important for all businesses. But, simply having accounts isn’t enough. It’s important to align your profile to your ideal clients.

First, keep your account information updated and accurate. If something about your business changes, your social media profile should change, too. Make sure your website, address, hours, logo and photos are all current. Ensure your branding is up to date and consistent. Make sure you describe what you do and who you do it for clearly and accurately.

Second, post fresh content. You must regularly post new content on your social media pages. Don’t create an account and then forget about it. Frequent posts keep you in front of customers’ faces. Post about new products and services, events, industry insights and news and show your followers what you and your business are up to.

Remember to check all your social media channels; LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, YouTude etc. It’s a good time to also check any listings you have with Chamber of Commerce directories or any other business directories.


Website Design and Development

2 – Website development  

We’ve all had it in mind to revisit our websites and look at what we have written and the services we provide.  It’s always good to make sure that you have included any new services or changes to existing ones. It’s equally important to consider whether the content you include is clear, accurate and compelling. Does it speak to you in a matter of fact way or does it speak to you in a personable and friendly way? This can make a big difference to conveying your brand values and encouraging engagement with visitors to your website.

It’s important to understand your value proposition. It’s the reason for existing, the reason to be chosen over your competitors and the promise of value that will be delivered to your customer'.

Why is value proposition important? – If you are unable to communicate your value to your customers, why should customers place value in what you offer? If you are unable to tell customers why they should choose you and why they should pay what you are asking, why would they?

Branding – Is your website up to date and consistent with your branding, is your logo up to date, are you using the same colours and fonts across all your marketing, does the imagery help convey your messaging? If not is might be time for a visual refresh. 

Is your website easy to use and navigate and what is the user experience (UX) when they arrive at your website. Can they find what they want, is it easy to get to the relevant pages or is it buried within the website? Do you use a Call To Action (CTA) on pages and posts? Visitors need prompts on the next step to take once they have found what they are looking for.

SEO – Are you being found for what you provide? The content of your website plays an important part in making it SEO-friendly which leads to  a better UX. So if you want to be found for specific services or products think about the questions people ask when searching online. Try and build these into the content and think about how you answer their questions. Check whether you are using the perfects keywords, meta tags and descriptions.

Links – Now that you’ve reviewed your content, branding and SEO, there is one thing that many forget to check. Are all the links working on your website?  It’s always surprising how many links are incorrectly adding and not checked, or perhaps the link is old and no longer available. It’s work running your website domain name through an online link checker. There are many free broken link checkers, such as Dead Link Checker, that you can use.

Remember, if you are unsure how to implement changes on your website contact your website developer or provider, they should be able to help you. Alternatively, contact us if you don’t have a web developer.


Get client testimonials for your website

3 – Get testimonials 

Your clients are valuable to you in many ways, not least of all in the testimonials for your good work. Before people buy something, they often look for reviews that validate their purchase. People want to know that they’re spending money on quality. And, they want to know if what you have to offer is better than what your competitors have to offer.

Remember as well as using testimonials on your website you can ask clients to submit them to LinkedIn, Facebook, Goggle My Business etc., and that’s good for being found through SEO too.


Research your target audience and competitors

4 – Research more

Research what your audience wants, and what your industry needs. Research what people are looking for, and create the answers to the questions that they have.

Research is what will make a difference. Research what other people in your industry are doing. Do it better or differently. Use Google, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Look for what people are talking about and create better content around that.


Blogging and posting

5 – Get blogging and posting!

You’ve done your research and have ideas about what customers need or want and why you have the answer. So become an expert – you can improve your business marketing by positioning yourself as an expert. Becoming an expert is one of the long-term marketing tactics for small business, but can provide great results.

Link back to your website and think about the customer journey from that first point of contact, whatever it might be, to that point at which you are actually speaking to them. Use visuals too, they are invaluable in gaining attention top you blogs and posts.

Remember to engage with people and businesses. Join in the conversations, ask questions on other people’s posts. It’s just as important as posting your own content in raising your profile and building relationships.


Where do I start with my marketing? Which building blocks do I start with?

Start with one thing that you know you need to do, and do it well. Sucking eggs comes to mind when I say that, but we are as guilty of trying to do everything at once as anyone. It pays to do things logically and methodically in a manageable way, the feel good factor of ticking it off that list is what will spur you onto completing the next task or goal.


So, what’s next when this is all in place…

You’ve diligently taken the time to ensure the basic elements of your marketing channels are up to date, accurate and compelling. Now it’s time to make a strategy and plan to reach those potential clients through the use of your brand proposition, values and messaging in tailored campaigns.

If you are unsure what to what to do next, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us for a free consultation and chat about your marketing your business.

Online Productivity Apps Trell Mural

What online productivity apps have helped you?

What online productivity apps have helped you and what do you like about them?

Useful online applications (apps) that help productivity have been on the rise for sometime. Innovation, usage and development ensure they evolve constantly, not least in demanding times. 

Productivity apps can help make your work and personal tasks easier and more efficient to complete. Whatever your profession or sector, the right productivity apps can help you reach your deadlines and goals.

Two apps that have really helped us here are Trello and Mural.


online productivity apps


Keeping track of your projects while collaborating with teams of employees, freelancers and suppliers is vital for workflow efficiency. Trello lets you organise your projects into boards where you can see who’s working on what and where they are in a process. It’s a bit like having that project work board up on the office wall, only with this app it’s easy to invite users to interact and update. We’ve found it to be particularly good for workflow and project status. Being able to set email reminders or notes is useful too and the archive facility has also proved really useful on more than one occasion.


online productivity apps


Part of our work process involves a lot of brainstorming and mind mapping, particularly in forming brand and marketing strategies/planning. Mural provides a great space to visually collaborate online with teams, employees and clients. It’s like a digital whiteboard, very visual and allows for lots of sticky notes, charts, diagrams, lists, flowcharts, frameworks and drawings. Very straightforward in its usage, secure and integrates with other apps such as Microsoft Teams, Dropbox, Slack, Excel and Word among others.

We’d love to hear about what works for you and why. In the meantime if you're not already using these apps check them out:



Marketing plan for business

How to Form a Successful Marketing Plan

Marketing plan for business

How to form a successful marketing plan

A good marketing plan is the pillar of any business marketing strategy.

It provides an honest view of the strengths and failings of your business, and ensures you consider the market as a whole; what your competitors are providing, and what customers really want.

It should outline all of the tools and tactics that you will use to achieve your sales goals, and act as a continual point of reference as to what it is that you are going to be selling, who will want to buy it and the strategies that you will use to achieve those all-important sales.

This article will show you how to write a thorough marketing plan including:

  • Situational analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Marketing goals
  • Marketing budget


Situational analysis

Before you start considering the future of your business, you have to look at its current position. A situational analysis enables you to investigate your firm’s position from new angles.

Simple questions, such as ‘what is your product?’, ‘what position in the market does your product occupy?’ and ‘what are your sourcing choices/options?’ force you to analyse in detail how your company is run, and whether you feel it is streamlined or not.

The SWOT analysis considers your business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats; it is only by assessing the internal factors (strengths and weaknesses), that the external factors (opportunities and threats) can be considered.

SWOT can be used to make informed decisions, and as Linda Pophal, owner and CEO of Strategic Communications says, this is actually ‘…the area of strategy development where organizations have an opportunity to be most creative and where innovative ideas can emerge, but only if the analysis has been appropriately prepared in the first place.’


Competitor analysis

Competitor analysis inherent to situational analysis, but to really understand your market and prepare for changes, you need to understand your competitors. This can be achieved through a ‘competitor array’, an example of which can be seen below:

Key Industry Success FactorsWeightingCompetitor #1 ratingCompetitor #1 weightedCompetitor #2 ratingCompetitor #2 weighted
Extensive distribution0.462.431.2
Customer focus0.341.251.5
Economies of scale0.230.630.6
Product innovation0.170.740.4


A competitor array allows you to consider the factors most important in your industry, and then lets you rank your competitors based on these factors, showing you their strengths and weaknesses. A such you can perceive gaps in the market.

To predict the future strategies of your competitors, you may have to extend your analysis into what their strategies are and have been; try contacting suppliers, or former business partners of that company, but make sure that all information is obtained legally.


Marketing goals

Companies often set the bar too high or too low; a good situational analysis will help you pitch achievable goals. The key is not to overburden yourself; obviously you want to see growth in your company, but too many goals in your strategy, will spread your skills too thinly and dilute your strengths.

Shanelle Mullin, Director of Marketing at Onboardly suggests to ‘…choose 1-2 core goals that impact the bottom line and 3-5 supporting goals’. Your marketing plan should be for the whole year ahead, so break down these goals into daily or weekly targets. This will ensure the people working for your business feel a sense of achievement, and morale will stay high.


Marketing budget

To set a marketing budget, look at your company’s revenue, and be realistic about what money you have to spend. Issues to be taken into consideration include:

  • How quickly you want to grow, and by how much
  • Turnover and outgoings
  • Whether you are introducing something new to the market, or marketing existing products
  • How much your competitors are spending on the market.

While each business has its own budget priorities, market research suggests that firms should spend about 5-10% of their turnover on marketing (and this percentage should be higher on companies with a lower turnover).

As outlined by co-founder and VP of marketing at E2M, Pratik Dholakiva, measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaign can be tricky, especially when trying to glean ROI from something as apparently ethereal as social media. Ultimately, all your strategies need to boil down to real numbers, especially where leads, profits and sales are concerned.

Among other key steps to take, Mr Dholakiva says it is important to keep ROI analysis simple regarding money in and going out so that you can place a financial cost of putting a new strategy in place. It sounds a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get bogged down in details and far more important to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Be sure to define your strategy and understand what you’re trying to do. Isolate the differences compared with previous campaigns, and work to improve those former strategies.

Furthermore, many marketing strategists fail to analyse to the right depth. While marketers may not have access to all company data to be able to account for a seemingly inexplicable peak in web traffic, an effort should be made to access all information available that could be used to glean insight. Consider what other factors are influencing revenue and traffic and integrate these into your model.

It is important to consider ways in which you can easily cut costs. Social media is an amazing way to market your business and is in many cases completely free; having a hands-on approach to social media will also allow you to keep your business relationships strong.


Using social media correctly

Coke is an FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) company, paving the way for social media innovation, their multi-faceted approach to guiding consumers back to brand is both inspirational and informative to any marketer.

Who can forget Coke’s ‘name-on-a-bottle’ campaign, which encouraged us to #shareacoke? Feeling in need of a friendship top-up, we dutifully searched for our names on our favorite soft drink bottles and Coke sales increased by 2.75% in the UK alone. The drive was recognised by the 2013 Cannes Lions as “the most successful campaign in decades.”

Creating a detailed but focused marketing plan for your company is hard work, and takes time. However, with one in place, you will be able to make smart, informed decisions and concentrate on the growth of your business.

Marketing Advice

Marketing Tips and Tricks

Marketing Advice

Marketing Tips and Tricks

1. Leave clear actions

You don’t need to speak in generalities. The goal is to increase sales and improve your marketing strategies. It is important to let people know about clear actions they should do before taking the buying decision. Using a right call-to-action can guide clients to perform a target task and build certain promises. Make sure that promises provide with more effective efforts and keep your business inside the sales organization. To get readers’ attention, actionable verbs and phrases sound stronger than others and make readers to take an action.

Clarity for calls to action is very crucial. People should clearly understand what they should do and how it will be useful for them. Use simple language and avoid confusing works for writing a call to action. Adding the sense of urgency and time limitation will reinforce your calls to action and build a feeling of importance.


2. Offer sales and discounts

Discounts and multiple sales can be a significant way to drive sales and convert buyers into qualified leads. There are lots of different ways to offer sales and discounts, many companies offer at the end of a month to boost revenues.

Amazon has special product categories under the name “Hot Deals”, “Coupon Deals” and “Upcoming Lightning Deals” that can generate a large amount of traffic. This approach guarantees better exposure of your products on the page, allows users view all offers and deals at once and encourages them to buy products at half price.

To get more sales and promote your deals to customers, you can focus on building an extensive email list to deliver your discounts and offers on time. You will get the chance to increase conversions and market your products in the future.

If you are going to constantly use discounts and sales, you won’t reach business goals. Every online business should keep in mind a clear goal about your brand and some experiments to build customer loyalty and boost revenues.


3. Provide something free

As you know people love free things. If you have inexpensive products of cheap quality and you are sure that they are not worth good money, you can offer this item as a bonus freebie. Selling expensive and luxury goods, there is a sense to offer a free shipping because of a higher quality and the desire to pay more for this item.

It may seem kind of weird, but when people view something free or discounted, even of a low quality, people still want to get this item because it costs them nothing. Over time people get confused about the quality and they decide to look for other items to find value. For example, if people buy a luxury car, they think like the “free” GPS of high quality as well. But they are mistaken in believing.


4. Use social media

Good design, a wide range of items, web navigation, all these things are great. But without interesting stories, videos and images you can’t reach a significant effect. Focus on quality over volume and find right social media channels to share your content with customers.

You also need to be involved while promoting your content in social media. Your goal is share something useful and interesting with your followers to increase your sales. Find a few minutes to learn and understand your audience, what they are interested in and who consumes your content.


5. Use the power of customer reviews

Everyone knows how important is use the power of customer reviews. Based on the SEL research, 88% of clients trust online reviews and personal recommendations. If you know people who have already enjoyed your services or product, you can kindly ask them to get reviews from them.

You’ve noticed that most buyers on Amazon and eBay like to leave feedbacks about their purchases. It is good practice to focus on the importance of seller performance. No matter customers provide positive, negative or neutral comments, you can increase your brand credibility and rank your products in the top positions.

Some companies like Sleep Junkie create a list of reviews where they compare different brands and put their own product into perspective. This is a specifically good tactic when you launch a new product.

Client reviews help you boost your traffic and visibility. Make sure that services and products with ratings can sell up to 200% products than products without any ratings.  Focus on the optimization of your purchase tunnel that will generate more sales on your website.

Publishing customer reviews can give you detailed insight what makes your clients satisfied and what makes them upset. It will give you an option to find possible solutions to their problems and provide excellent customer service.


6. Match your fees to your promises

There is a common mistake, which loses small and medium sized businesses a fortune. It’s simply this:

Their marketing promises a high quality service, BUT they charge a bargain-basement fee. By doing this, they send a mixed message to prospective clients, which loses theme businesses.

Everyone knows that quality never comes cheap. We have been trained from childhood to believe that if something looks too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Promising people a high quality service for a low fee, creates doubt. That’s the last thing you want to happen in the mind of your prospective clients.

Make your services as valuable to the marketplace as possible and then charge accordingly. If you do, your prices will match your promises and you will have made it easier for future clients to trust your marketing message.


7. Focus on dissatisfied prospective customers

A common mistake made by small business owners, is that they fail to focus their marketing correctly. As a direct result, they get too few sales leads or client enquiries.

The most effective way to increase sales is to focus on people, who are dissatisfied with their current provider. When someone isn’t happy with their current provider, they’re actively interested in switching to a new provider. They are highly motivated buyers; the exact people you should be targeting with your marketing!

Despite the massive value of dissatisfied prospective clients, most small business owners market their services to less targeted groups. They waste their time and money marketing to people, who are happy with their current provider or who have no need or interest in the kind of product they sell. They go for volume over value… quantity over quality. This makes things unnecessarily difficult. It also produces anaemic results.


8. Form a strategy and plan, plan, plan!

It’s easy to just jog along making a few sales here and there, having some good times and then some not so good times.

A marketing strategy tells you what to say, how to say it and who to say it to in order to make more sales. Our guide to the basics.

Every time you speak to someone about your business you are involved in marketing. Any conversation about your firm is an opportunity to promote your business and increase sales.

A marketing strategy will help you focus. It will identify the different ways you can talk to your customers, and concentrate on the ones that will create most sales.

It tells you what to say, how to say it and who to say it to in order to make more sales. Because timing is critical, it will tell you when to say it, too.

A marketing plan explains how to put your strategy into action. It will set marketing budgets and deadlines, but it will also describe how you're going to talk to your target customers - whether that's through advertising, online through your website or social media, via offline networking and going to trade shows, through direct marketing, and so on. Choosing the right marketing method is vital to ensure you reach customers.

Crucially, it will also tell you when to talk to your customers. Timing your activities to fit their buying cycles will save money and maximise sales.

Finally, your marketing plan should look to the future: it should outline how you follow up sales and what you're doing to develop your offer.

As with any plan, progress should be regularly measured and reviewed to see what's working and what isn't, so you can set new targets as your market changes.