If you have recently launched a small business, you will need to examine ways to market your product. You need to establish your product in the consciousness of your market. There is little good in producing something, however amazing it might be, if barely anyone knows about it.
There are a raft of available options; this article will outline them briefly and explore the various merits and drawbacks of each.
Whatever the size of your business, you will need a website. Depending on the nature of the business, the website may serve a variety of purposes. You may, for example, intend to sell things directly through your website. A well-designed website can also serve as a form of free advertising for your business.
Once you have set up your website you will need to promote it. This is principally done through search engines. It is vitally important that those searching for your business via Google are able to reach it within the first page of results, as the vast majority of users will not look beyond the first page of results.
The techniques which will place your website further up the rankings are known, collectively, as Search Engine Optimisation. Such techniques will give a web-based business a vital edge over its competitors. The techniques are evolving constantly, as Google and the other search engines make changes to their algorithms. It is therefore often advisable that the services of a dedicated SEO marketing company be sought.
Social networks are a powerful and relatively recent avenue open to those seeking to market their business. Through social media you can inform people of your business’s activities and any new products you might be seeking to promote. As well as this, you can solicit feedback from your customers.
When most people think of marketing, they think of advertising. Advertising is the most overt method of getting your product into the mind of your target market – you are directly informing them of it.
Television advertising is possibly the most expensive and so only worthwhile for large-scale ventures with a universal, nationwide appeal. A new breakfast cereal being sold nationwide would benefit from a nationwide television advertising campaign for example, since virtually everyone eats breakfast. Such a campaign would be of little benefit to a local business however who only need target the population local to their business. In such cases, advertising in local newspapers would be of greater benefit.
Similarly, those seeking to sell specialist products, such as musical equipment, would get better results advertising in a specialist publication, such as a music magazine. This is because the audience of such a publication is already inclined to want to buy your product.
Before contacting a publication to enquire about a possible advertisement, it is worth first establishing its circulation and readership. For larger publications, the circulation is audited by an independent body known as the Audit Bureau of Circulations. In the case of smaller publications, the figures put forward by the publisher are all we have to go on. A list of rates charged by a range of publications can be obtained via a similar organisation, known as British Rate and Data.
Product sampling, as the name might suggest, consists of offering a customer a free sample of your product, in order to persuade them that they might want to buy it. If you’ve ever been wandering through a supermarket and been offered a complimentary biscuit, then you’ve been the target of product sampling.
An example of Product Sampling – http://verve.ie/
This is a relatively expensive form of marketing, as it requires that you give away your product. However, the results can be worth the expense. Product sampling tends to have a far higher conversion rate than other sorts of marketing; depending on the product, it can be anything up to ninety percent. This conversion rate will be higher for products whose value can be ascertained quickly – a sweet snack will garner more impulse buys than, say, a stock cube.
You can also offer free samples via your website, though, unlike field sales, this will involve the further cost of postage. Perishable goods, such as fresh food, will be unsuited to this.
As is the cases of search engine optimisation, it is often best to seek the services of a business dedicated to the task. This option is often attractive to small businesses, as dedicated marketing firms have a large amount of experience and knowledge to draw from in marketing your product.