Getting a new business off the ground is tough. The usual growing pains that affect a business venture occur across companies big and small, but the less-established ones feel the strain a little more.
Some businesses market themselves sufficiently enough to ensure a steady stream of new clients, while others may have a limited knowledge of marketing practices and, as such, do not see that many clients coming in.
Whatever your marketing acumen, we’ve looked into some common growth issues that affect small businesses, and have come up with an inbound solution for each.
Problem: Having trouble increasing visibility?
One of the biggest obstacles that face young businesses is how to grow in the eyes of their audience, and put their services before them. This includes web visibility on search and engines as well as the kind of visibility that is affected by reputation.
Dependent on which industry you work in, we’re sure that it can feel saturated at times. Competition is high in many industries, so boosting visibility can indeed be tough. The key is this: The more visibility your business generates in its early days, the better you’ll stand in relation to your competition. The time you put in to boost your visibility will be worth it!
Here’s one way you can do it.
Solution: Share your best blogs on social media
Pick your best performing blog posts and, if they’re not already, share them on social! Take a closer look at your analytics and if you find a few gems or unearth some old posts that people are still visiting, it’s well worth republishing.
A bigger inside tip: if your analytics reveal a certain set of content is doing well, promote it heavily. When people are finding it despite lack of promotion, picture the numbers you’ll realise once you’ve put some social media marketing muscle behind it.
You can do this using HubSpot’s range of social media tools. They’re perfectly suited for inbound and give you a whole selection of techniques that are proven to amplify your brand.
Problem: Lack of resources?
We understand that in the infancy stages of startups’ life cycle, things like money, time and resources are worth their weight in gold. It’s vital you make the most of each, and capitalise where you can.
Budget is tight at the beginning of a business’ life, and you may have to further tighten your purse-strings to ensure you can make the hire(s) you need.
Solution: Create a marketing plan
Perspective and planning are great for solving resource issues. Planning accordingly will set you in good stead for whatever may come.
Put simply, if you have no real marketing plan to work with you've got an uphill battle from the start. You’re likelier to waste time and money pursuing opportunities blindly with no real priority.
It’s often been said: ‘lack of resources’ is ‘unable to prioritise’ in disguise. Map out what you’re working with by getting it down on paper and knowing what you can work with.
Here’s what your marketing plan should consist of:
- Your marketing goals need to be identified. Whatever your most pressing concerns for growth may be, address them early on.
- Your marketing goals need to be defined. How will you realise your marketing goals? With content marketing, and social media? Networking? SEO? Try not to limit yourself and dip your foot into a few different disciplines.
- Think about time frames, and be realistic. How long do you think you’ll need? Don’t forget that getting your business ranked through SEO is not an overnight thing. It’s gradual.
Problem: Keeping up with industry trends
Depending on the nature of your business, there may be new developments occurring left, right and center. New trends to keep an eye on, emerging services and even new job titles that didn’t exist before.
If this is the case, it can feel difficult to keep your head above water. But, trust us, it's vital you do.
This is something we’ve seen at Luminate HQ, and in digital marketing in general. The tide of SEO is constantly changing, getting more disruptive as Google continues to change the goalposts. Lesser marketers than us struggle to keep up!
By being up-to-date with industry developments (and then blogging about it) you position yourself as the experts, and people will soon come to you.
Here’s how you do it.
Solution: Make time to keep up (or hire someone)
Whether you dedicate time or hire someone to take over, keeping a firm finger on the pulse will ensure you’re on the digital frontline and you’re prepared.
Things change so quickly and, depending on your industry you could quickly get left behind. You need to be aware of all industry developments, and whether that involves subscribing to some industry literature or hiring someone, it’s well worth it.
Increasingly, there are online tools that can track sector developments and tendencies to inform your own content and social media marketing. Just be sure to avoid tweeting out insights from your competitors. These tools can also be used for influencing your own curation. Looking for inspiration? Buzzsumo, Pinterest and Quora are perfect.
Problem: Unsure who your target market is?
This is the foundation of your business growth and can steer you to success in the early stages. You need a clear idea of your target audience, and how to craft a detailed target audience profile.
In the formative stages of a business’ life, knowing your audience will save you so much time and resources that are likely wasted on campaigns with little or no direction.
This, you certainly can’t afford. Here’s what you can do.
Solution: The secret is customer profiling
Well, it’s not a secret really - more like an essential part of successful content marketing. To begin, you need to put together a short profile of your ideal customer, working alongside your team to flesh out the persona.
Once you have this, you can begin to work out what the persona’s pain points are, and the kinds of content they would be interested in and engage with. From there on in, every bit of content you create should keep your personas firmly in mind. Ask yourself:
- Is this relevant?
- Is this something my audience will engage with?
This will help guide your marketing and ensure is tailored, targeted, on-point and relevant to the customer journey.
All in all, our solutions alleviate the growing pains every fledgling business has: allowing them to spread their wings in the industry and swoop in on the competition.
Don’t forget to head over to the Luminate blog. There are plenty more insights where this came from.