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Foothills Honey in Okuku

Marketing is a vital component of your business. If you aren't sending people a great and attractive message about what you do it will be very hard to get people to use your service. Many good businesses have failed simply because they didn't communicate well to their audience or people weren't even aware that the business existed.

Marketing strategies rely on your business vision. What do you want to achieve and what are your values as a business? Having a solid business vision gives a good basis for creating a coherent and consistent marketing message. Keep in mind who your target market is and ensure that the message you communicate is 'in their language' so that you can aim your marketing at them and the channels that will reach them best.

It is good to think about your brand. This is how your business is perceived by others. A brand is far more than just a logo. If you think of a person, their brand is the entirety of how you interact with them. You may make your first judgement based on the clothes they wear, but you will form your long term opinion of them based on their personality, whether they do what they say they will, how they treat other people. A business brand is the same - it's not just the visuals of the marketing or of your location - it's also whether you treat your customers with respect, offer more than they expected and provide a great and friendly service.

There is no point in having a great marketing campaign if you then put people off when they walk in your door. The actuality of people's experience needs to match what your marketing promises, otherwise you will be simply wasting the money you have spent. Try not to launch until you are ready. If people decide to try you out and don't get the experience they wanted, they won't be coming back. When you are thinking about your marketing don't just think about the launch of your business. Also consider how you will continue to attract new clients. Most businesses start off with a lot of people showing interest, but those numbers can quickly dissipate and it can be a hard job to bring them back in again. Try and create as many repeat customers as you can. Repeat customers are your most important customers. Make sure you don't take them for granted.

There are a good number of affordable ways to market your business that may be useful while you are starting out, but you should plan for the long term - cheaper does not mean better.

An essential aspect of marketing is measurement. Try and find a way to measure the impact of every dollar you spend and every message you write. There is only one metric that matters - how many sales your marketing leads to. Measuring results means you can discontinue marketing that does not work and try something else.

There is no magic formula for marketing. Every business is different and your should be willing to try new techniques out.

Whatever your business is, you should have a website. That is a basic requirement in modern society. The first place people look when they hear about a business is on the internet. If you don’t exist on the internet then they won’t be able to find you and they will go with someone else instead. You will never know about the work that you lost.

Most businesses don’t need anything too fancy. A website that portrays your business well, shows what you offer and makes it easy for people to take the next step is usually enough. There are free services that will enable you to create these websites such as Wix or Squarespace. If you have basic design skills and the time to fiddle about, these sites are a good option. Make sure that you do not use pictures or graphics that are copyrighted. Pixabay gives you access to a wide range of pictures you can use for free. Or use your own.

If you want to have a professional looking website with special features (such as a shopfront) then you are best to get a professional to design this for you. If you do, this make sure that you will own the content and the url (the web address). There are some dodgy web designers out there who will try to lock you into using their services forever. The good ones know that you will stay with them because they are good at what they do.

Professionals will also help by making sure that your website is easy to find and ranks as well as possible on search results.

Having a website is not enough though, people still need to know you exist or they will not be searching for you on the internet.

Word of mouth is a fantastic way to get people to use your service and tends to be the key for most successful businesses. The only real way to get word of mouth referrals is to be a business worth recommending. That takes a lot of hard work. It requires providing excellent goods and superior customer service as well as having seamless processes. It involves meeting and exceeding customer expectations

Social media is a great method for promoting your business. Most businesses use Facebook, but many businesses also use Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and many others. If you are not overly confident with social media then you should probably just concentrate on one social media channel with which you are comfortable, and which your target market generally use.

Make a social media plan around what you want to promote and think about the conversations you want to have with your customers. You need to be interesting. If you do nothing but advertise you probably won’t get many followers, but if you are posting useful information then over time you will become more and more popular.

Paid advertising on social media is a great way to get your message out there. We recommend attending a course on making the most of social media. ENC runs these courses as does the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce and many other providers. The money you spend on understanding how social media works will pay great dividends.

Personal branding can be great where you and your business are inextricably linked. This is usually done by professionals in very specialised roles where the business is unlikely to be sold (in the long term) and the business owner will always be the figurehead. Your personal brand allows you to stand out from the crowd so that when people see you they automatically think about your business. Think about how you want others to perceive you and dress, act and promote yourself accordingly. Politicians are a great example of this.

Examples of business-people who have used their personal brand successfully are Sir Richard Branson, The Mad Butcher or the Big Save Furniture Lady. However this can lead to problems when you sell the business, given that so much of the profile is tied up in your personal brand. On the flip side, if you start another business you can use momentum that your personal brand has already built up (such as with Sir Richard Branson’s multiple businesses).

You can hire someone to be the personal brand of your business (such as the Briscoes Lady), but if they decide to stop working for you then you will need to redesign your marketing campaign from scratch.

Sending e-mails and newsletters is a great way of get way of encouraging repeat customers. This is done by building up a database of customers who want you to communicate with them and sending them notifications or newsletters that are interesting and keep them informed. They advertise product, but often have related items that are interesting but do not lead directly to sales.

Think about what your customers want to receive. Not many people want wall-to-wall ads, but most don’t mind ads mixed in with stories that are interesting to them.

Businesses that are very successful at e-mail marketing build a good database of customers and break down what they are interested in. They then use automated systems that send notifications to customers that perfectly fit what the customer wants to know about, or personally tailored newsletters, such informing an individual customer about a new item coming into stock that they had registered an interest in.

Only send e-mails to someone who has expressed an interest in receiving your messages. No-one wants spam and you could be fined if you continue to send spam to people.

Coffee cards, Flybuys points, discounts for referrals of new customers – all of these loyalty schemes are designed to get people into your business in order to earn a ‘reward for loyalty’, or to use other people to bring new people in. Businesses do these because they work.

Community Sponsorship is good for your brand. You may not see many direct sales from it, but it makes a wide group of people feel more positively inclined to use your business. That means that in the long term you should see long term benefits from it while you are helping your community.

Don’t just give money away to a worthy cause though – put a little strategy around your largesse.

  • Make sure that your target market interacts with the group you are sponsoring or funding
  • Ensure that the group you sponsor promotes you well in exchange for your help
  • Use it as an opportunity to get your enhance and promote your brand

These can be a good option for advertising, but they don’t work for everyone. If you are going to advertise in printed media or through the radio, make sure you do it well and make sure you have a method to measure the results. It can be an expensive option, but for some businesses these forms of media bring great results.

Every region has the opportunity for you to attend business networking functions and groups. This can be particularly useful for any business whose target market is other businesses. Go in expecting to talk to people and push past your comfort zone to actually say hello. If you can find out who will be there before you go that can help you to identify who you want to talk to. There are a mix of different types of networking priced from free to very expensive and they all have different flavours. Decide which ones will be useful to you and attend a few to see how they go. It’s also a great chance to talk to other business owners and can act as a good way to build friendships within the business community.

Setting up a website

  • Site Builder Report  – A complete guide to creating a great website, written for beginners
  • Squarespace – A good site for setting up a free website
  • Wix – Another free website page with good templates
  • WordPress – popular, but we have found it harder than other options to set up a well functioning, good looking website. Lots of good plugins.
  • Shopify – not free, but an excellent site for those looking start an online store.
  • Facebook – not a website, but many businesses use Facebook as a defacto website

 Media Tools

  • Pixabay – A huge repository of copyright-free images
  • Unsplash – Another good source of copyright free images
  • The New Zealand Story – Free professional resources for promoting NZ products/services overseas
  • Canva – a tool for creating images for social media
  • Photopea – a free online image editor
  • Clipchamp – a free online video editor
  • Google – there are so many resources out there that a simple google search can often find you exactly what you want.

Social Media options

Social Media is a great way to communicate with your customers, but different businesses will suit different social media types. Think about which ones will be more likely to be used by your clients. You are better to use one or two social media channels well, than to have many but not have the time to keep them vibrant.

  • Facebook – the bohemoth of social media. A good way to connect with most customer groups
  • Instagram – good for businesses that are highly visual. If you want to show your customers lots of pictures this one is for you.
  • LinkedIn – aimed firmly at the business community. If your customers are other business owners, this might be a good one for you
  • YouTube – a video based platform. A good one if you have lots of interesting video content to share.
  • Pinterest – generally used by hobbyists, home renovators or those planning journeys.
  • Tik Tok – A good avenue for connecting with a younger demographic
  • and many more 

Email Campaigns

When you build up a customer database, email campaigns are an extremely effective way of generating sales. Many email campaign platforms are free initially, and start to cost more as you add features or get above a certain number of customers on your database. So come with built in database management tools. It’s worth looking carefully so that the one you choose now will work for the business you are planning to be.

  • MailChimp – a good option, easy to use and free if you have fewer than 2000 contacts
  • Hubspot – another good option, easy, free and well known.
  • Zoho Campaigns – Not as easy as MailChimp, but is aligned with a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management software).
  • and many more

Marketing Training

Other Marketing Resources

Bianca Punt from Attraction Studio - Marketing a New Business

Customer Journey Sales Funnel

Product to Market Fit

Marketing Communications Strategy

Simon Sinek - How Great Leaders Inspire Action

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