As a business owner, it can be difficult to know exactly what you should be doing to properly market your business. Sure you’ve heard you need an effective website design, to be on social media and the importance of email marketing. But with so many avenues, what are the essentials you need to focus on?

At Birdcage Marketing, our small business marketing consultants have sat down and worked out the top steps you need to take as a small business owner.

Our essential marketing steps:

1. Cut-through branding

This doesn’t just mean a logo (although that’s the very least!). It means developing key messages which position you as a brand. There might be hundreds of plumbers or accountants all vying for the same target market, so you need to be able to articulate what sets you apart.

2. Invest in printed stationery

A business card, letterhead and with comps slips. These are essential printed collateral your business needs to have. Whilst most marketing is now digital, there’s just something about tangible, printed goods that leave a lasting impression.

3. Really good website design

These days there are so many options to suit every budget, there’s no excuse for your business not to have at least a 1-page website. Even if you only have a modest website, it still needs to be modern, easy to navigate and present a professional image. Remember, your website is your 24/7 salesperson and no one likes a badly put together dude that doesn’t make any sense.

4. Install Google Analytics

Now that you have a good website design, you need to be able to track how many people are visiting, what pages they’re looking at, and for how long. Google Analytics is a free service from Google and will tell you more than you ever thought you wanted to know about the traffic on your site.

5. Have a centralised email list

The good news is that if you’re a services business you most likely already collect email addresses as part of quoting and invoicing. That’s a great start. If you’re a bricks-and-mortar retail store you need to make sure you’re collecting email addresses at the checkout. You also need to go one step further and collect all this data in one centralised location. There are hundreds of CRM programs available from low-cost to premium and feature a range of options for you to track customers and their purchase behaviours.

6. Regularly check your online reviews

You might think that because you never signed up for a Google My Business or Facebook page that your business isn’t in the online space. You’re wrong. Customers can still review your business online even without you creating a profile. Ensure you’re regularly Googling your business to keep on top of any negative reviews. There are a few Best Practice rules you can use to handle bad reviews, but the key is to address them.

7. Get social

Almost every type of business would benefit from being on social media. Even if you’re not overly active on your account, Facebook Groups are a great avenue for online networking and connecting with other people in your industry. There’s a lot to be learnt from collaborating with similar businesses that might be servicing another market (i.e. you’re a builder in Mackay but you’re chatting with a builder in Newcastle with some marketing techniques they’ve had success with).

8. Facebook Advertising

It’s the paid advertising platform of the moment. It’s affordable, effective and targeted. We absolutely love it and think (given the right strategy implementation) you would too.