Marketing planning, strategy, information and resources.

We are hosting the Bath indie chat hour today and our topic of conversation is Marketing for small businesses. Our main 4 questions are listed below with our thoughts and advice covering each to serve as a support guide to fellow indie’s who need help with their marketing strategy.

Small business owners have many problems they face in marketing their business. In working with many B2B and B2C small businesses, we have found that there are four main problems that constantly surface that need attention to achieve small business marketing success.

1. How do you manage your time to concentrate on marketing?

Time management is the first big problem. If you are lamenting, you don’t have enough time in the day to get things done you’re not alone. Spending your time on the important issues separates those that achieve success and those that muddle along. Are you identifying your three to five daily rocks, the important and urgent priorities you need to address each day? These are the 20% of actions you take which yield 80% of your productivity. Here are four keys to successful time management they include:

 

  • Write down 3 to 5 of your most important & urgent marketing priorities daily.
  • Your daily tasks must be specific no vagaries allowed!
  • Hold yourself accountable for achieving your daily tasks
  • Be proactive not reactive with your marketing, plan your time wisely.

Many small businesses fall foul of the “all or nothing” marketing cycle. This being that when a small business is experiencing a busy period, marketing takes a back seat. Then when a quieter period arrives, we panic and throw out a torrent of marketing in all directions. Business picks up again and the cycle continues.

 

2. How do you identify who best to market your business to?

Target market identification is another big problem we often encounter. Many small business owners incorrectly describe their target market as everybody. If you hear yourself describe your target market as you can sell to everyone, then you may want to rethink that position. Everyone is a big target market.

Defining your real target market and knowing the size and scope of that target market is step one. Step two is to analyse within your specific target market how many different market segments there are that you can realistically serve. Now you are in a position to establish resource allocations necessary to efficiently and effectively mount the proper marketing campaign that will produce a satisfactory sales outcome. Thinking you can sell to everyone creates a loss of focus on your marketing efforts. Your resources of pounds, time and energy that are not focused will yield a poor result.

Try creating Client Personas. Client personas not being researched is a frequent missing marketing ingredient too. Not having researched and created client personas of a business’s ideal clients are just as important as identifying the target market. Why? Because defining a client persona allows you to uncover the important marketing communications message points you will need to reach, resonate and convert sales prospects to clients in your target markets. Creating a client persona will allow you to:

  • Immerse yourself in your customer’s skin.
  • Uncover client pain points, investigate their top 5 issues to their business and create a solution for them. Tell them how you can help!
  • Discover the language or terminology used by your prospective clients.
  • Learn where to look and find your potential clients, where do they hang out? Online, social media, business breakfasts, networking events?

These are critical necessities in developing customer-centric marketing messages in today’s content marketing.

 

3. Do you set a marketing plan and a budget to follow your plan?

No marketing plan and no budget! It is amazing how many small businesses have no marketing plan and no formalised budget. Expecting success without these marketing fundamentals is a sign of hoping for success instead of planning for it.

Planning your marketing and establishing a budget is not that hard to do. There are plenty of free resources available for writing a marketing plan and creating a basic budget. The benefits of performing these tasks are many.

  • Establishes business goals & objectives to evaluate success
  • Defines business opportunities
  • Instrumental in defining your target markets
  • Identifies your value proposition
  • Outlines key marketing messages
  • Eliminates knee-jerk wasteful spending

Investing your time and effort in a marketing plan and budget will increase your success and save hundreds of pounds in marketing expense.
Focusing on marketing tactics versus marketing strategy is the last most common problem with small business owners. Mistaking marketing communication channels as marketing is commonplace. Many people approach small business promoting “marketing” as telemarketing, email marketing, social media marketing, web marketing, etc. No wonder small business owners get confused. None of these activities are marketing, they are marketing tactics used as part of the overall marketing process to deliver your business’s marketing messages.

The solution to this problem is easy. Get a real marketing plan not a so called instant solution or waste money on the “hot” marketing fad at the moment. There are many good ways to distribute your marketing message. A strategic plan that evaluates which communications distribution options are best suited to reach your market and convert prospects into sales for you will prevent you from wasting your time and money.

4. Are you using multiple marketing techniques? Multi-channel marketing increases brand awareness and creates a larger spend.

Marketing touch points are any methods or modes of contact between a company and the consumer. Touch points can be face-to-face discussions, promotional fliers, online ads and anything else that involves a business marketing message, brand name or logo reaching the customer. The amount and effectiveness of your small business marketing touch points can determine your level of success and the ways your marketing can be improved.

In Store.
If you have a shop, in store touch points vary by the type of small business you run. If you have a clothing store for example, your touch points are the team on the floor, the register at checkout, in-store point-of-sale and posters, leaflets or postcards in the customer’s bags and the receipt every customer receives after a transaction. These touch points can be used as marketing tools but will require separate approaches. For example: your team can inform shoppers of a sale on jeans so they know about current promotions. Point of sale posters, banners, leaflets or window displays will inform customers of sales or new products. Your cashiers can offer discounts on purchases or upsell complementary products and place printed marketing material in their bags. Your receipts can print with promotional coupons that offer 20 percent off the next purchase of £50 or more for example to give your customers an incentive to return.

Electronic. (Website and Social Media)
Electronic touch points can play a large role in your marketing strategy. Electronic touch points are more measurable than some others in their efficiency, because records of clicks, click-throughs and orders can be obtained in most cases. Electronic touch points include email communications, clickable banners, social media pages and any other means of creating contact with your customer base online. The people you attract with electronic touch points may be different than those you contact through more traditional means, and your marketing should reflect that difference. Electronic marketing will need multiple hits or views to deliver sales and if this is your only marketing avenue beware you may be missing out on a large proportion of your potential customer market. With so many like for like businesses competing for the same customers online, you really need to stand out from the crowd or risk getting lost in the barrage of social media and email marketing.

Mail and Print.
Print materials distributed in local newspapers, Magazine ads, by hand or through targeted marketing campaigns in the mail, bring your marketing message home. These more traditional marketing touch points are just as effective, as they do not require the client to initiate contact through in-person or webpage visits. Print marketing can be distributed to existing clients as a method of retention or randomly as an attempt to bring in new customers. In either case, print marketing touch points can be more costly than electronic and in-store campaigns but can bring dividends if your customer base is expanded. Printed marketing is tactile, hangs around longer and can generate higher spending customers with regular contact. Printed marketing can also help to drive customers to your website for more information or to take advantage of special offers or discount codes. Print is going through a renaissance currently. Receiving a well-designed, interesting, tactile and physical item in the post has become somewhat of a novelty as more businesses cost cut and promote solely online.

Customer Service.
The customer service experience is a valuable and difficult touch point to manage. It often has a tremendous bearing on the consumer’s opinion of your small business and whether or not they will continue to purchase your goods and services. If a customer has a difficult time with a customer service problem or leaves the situation unsatisfied, they will likely be on the lookout for a new place to shop. The customer service touch point involves more personal interaction than most other marketing touch points. It usually involves a client who is already unhappy with their overall experience and who has initiated contact with your business. As a small business, the personal relationship you build with each client can be the most important marketing touch point there is. Remember: people buy from people they like.

Finally.
When you’ve aligned and analysed all of the marketing touch points your small business uses to contact its customers, they can provide you with a guide to what is working and what isn’t. An in-depth analysis of this data can help to make your marketing more efficient by revealing which touch points are underachieving and which are overachieving, which cost too much and which are more affordable. A lack of touch points in a given area or an overabundance in another can also lead to less than ideal marketing return on investment. Understanding how and why your touch points should be spread out will help make your small business marketing more efficient and effective.

 

To conclude:
Knowing your marketing problems and seeking out solutions is the first step to achieving marketing success.

digiprintwebshop

31 DAYS OF SIGNAGE – DAY 26 Routed Acrylic lettering

Routed Acrylic lettering and logos are fantastic for giving depth and impact to your shop signs, wall displays, exhibitions, entrances and receptions.

We regularly produce precision cut routed lettering for all types of business to give them an image that literally stands out!

Digisigns produce high quality Acrylic Letters, Acrylic Numbers and Acrylic Shapes for various industries including Signage, Point Of Sale, Retail, Schools, For The Home and many other industries.

We have a large selection of colours and effects in Acrylic Sheet which enables us to offer our customers cost effective prices for their projects and requirements.

There is no minimum order so you can order a one off piece or you can order hundreds of pieces. All our Acrylic Shapes And Letters are produced within a couple of days usually and have the option for wall fixing standoffs and templates as additional services.
We have an expert in house design team who work daily with our clients to come up with ideas, designs and ways to ensure our customers vision becomes reality and all at a competitive price.

 

31 DAYS OF SIGNAGE – DAY 25 LED Light Boxes

Light boxes are perfect for displaying your sales and offers in-store or to highlight products, services or images with bright eye-catching designs.

We us light boxes in our window for displays and to promote during the evening with stand out backlit images. They really do work when dark compared to unlit posters or displays plus they can help with visibility in darker corridors or shops increasing attention by over 50%.

We deal with the UK’s best light box manufacturer.

 

We offer 3 basic models of changeable graphic LED Light Box:

20mm This is our cutting edge model. Featuring an “easy change” clear PVC cover held to in place with mag tape to both vertical edges. The extreme low depth is achieved via our 10mm Technic LED Light Panel forming the core of the light box. A 15mm black border laminated to the reverse of the PVC prevents hot spots appearing on the image creating a frameless effect.

60mm Our most popular model, the 60mm slim light box is powered by backlighting for a real punch of clean white light to images. With the face and returns bonded from 5mm acrylic, the finishing quality and durability of this product is impressive.

120mm This delivers similar even and long lasting LED illumination as the other models for a fraction of the cost.

We also have a new range of fabric faced light box frames:

Our Ultra slim fabric faced light boxes are available from only 27mm in depth and range in size up to an impressive 3m in height and 50m in length, all with edge to edge even illumination.

The graphic is printed onto a stretch fabric and secured in posistion by a silicone strips ideal for quick and easy replacement. This is illuminated by an LED Light Panel, LED Matrix Panel or Flourescent tubes.

This is ideal for retail environments where high impact, easy to change, cost effective graphics are of major importance.

Freestanding, wall mounted, hanging, double sided, framed, curved and custom builds are all available.

31 DAYS OF SIGNAGE – DAY 24 Snap Frames

Snap Frames are a great cost effective way to display posters, information, offers and promotions throughout your workplace.

We keep several sizes in stock and all based on the “A” paper sizes. Our Snap frames are made with quality materials and can be fixed to walls with screws or for smaller frames sticky fixers or double sided tape can be used.

Each frame comes with a crystal textured antiglare pvc cover sheet to protect your prints and you can view our full range of basic and premium frames here digiprintgroup.com

Get 15% off In May

31 DAYS OF SIGNAGE – DAY 20 Banners

Banners are a great cost effective way to communicate your message to a wide audience where size and scale are required. We print banners in-house on our eco-friendly Latex printers and they can be seam sealed and eyeletted for hanging safely and securely.

Banners can be produced in any bespoke size up to a maximum width of 1500mm and up to 10m long in one piece.

Scrim banner is tough, durable and above all, long lasting. digisigns can print your banners quickly and cost effectively in-house. We use the latest high quality machines to print vibrant colours that are fade resistant and scrim reinforced heavyweight material for a quality banner. Beware of cheap online only options, they can often not be what you expected!

Get our most popular 3x1m banner for just £87 reduced from £114

Banners are everywhere these days and probably the cheapest form of wide format printing that gets you noticed.

We print in-house using our solvent ink machines to thick quality grade banner materials and flag scrims.

Pop in to our showrooms to see samples of hardware available and to discuss your requirements.

For £10 per linear metre the banner can be seam sealed, this protects the edges and prolongs the banner. Adding eyelets not only allow you to hang the banner, but also strengthen the corners. Alternatively corner clamps can be used, or poster hanger bars are also available.

  • 510gsm Scrim Banner
  • Printed environmentally with Latex inks
  • Full colour coverage or single colour text
  • 1.2m wide by any length
  • Seam sealing and eyeleting an option
  • Ask about our double sided banners
  • Suitable for high streets, fences, displays, shop signs, promotional events
  • Design services available.

31 Days of Signage – Day 18 Printed Wallpaper

Wallpaper Can be produced with ease at digisigns and we have produced some stunning images.

Digital technology has now come of age and has revolutionised the industry for wall coverings. We can print as many colours as we want, or have huge repeats. It also means the minimum print run is just one metre – with no tooling costs! This has transformed the playing field, making it much easier to test print or to produce small sections for walls.

Full image murals:

With such a huge library of high-resolution digital photography at our fingertips, another growth area is whole-wall murals. Until now more commonly provided to the trade sector by large companies and an expensive option, digisigns produce wall coverings on HP wallpaper material to bespoke images.

One-off designs:

The ability to change the scale or colours of a design at the click of a button has opened the door onto a fabulous new world of customisable papers that simply wasn’t possible before digitalisation, except at the very highest end of the market. Without the limitations of minimum print runs, digisigns can make anything just for you, tapping into the current trend for personalised interiors.

Get bespoke printed wallpaper for just £20 per square metre this May.

31 Days of Signage – Day 17 print and cut Vinyl Stickers

Stickers! come on everyone loves stickers!

Ok so we are not talking about the child’s sticker packs here although we have been asked to produce bespoke sheets for birthday parties before! In the corporate world though we produce hundreds of thousands of bespoke vinyl stickers for anything from product labels and branding up to safety labels and equipment security labels.

Our sticker printing process uses our state of the art HP Latex printer which will run a roll of vinyl 1.5m wide by 50m long! so we can get fast production of quality high definition printed vinyl. Cut to any size or shape!

Our prints are then sent to the cutting machine where we can kiss-cut out any shape, size or quantity required. It is a fun process to watch and slightly hypnotic seeing your stickers cut out before your eyes. Give us a challenge we would love to design and print a run of stickers for you and your business.

They could be used for branding purposes, to give away with products for marketing, to use for labels, there is no end to what can be done with them and with our bespoke range of vinyls we can make some pretty special designs.

31 Days of Signage – Day 16 Canvas Prints

Canvas Prints are a great cost effective way to bring colour, design and interest to bland office walls, homes and shops.

Our customers love the fact that digisigns have both in-house canvas printing to real cotton material and in-house custom stretching over kiln dried chunky wooden frames.

Our canvas range starts from a simple A4 size and goes right up to A0 in size for huge impact. We produce professional canvases for local artists including some of the most popular Bath artists that are sold in shops and stalls all over the city for short limited edition canvas runs.

One of our customers creates stunning images of world maps and we produce special canvas prints for his customers on a very regular basis. The results are amazing and as you can see below the quality is of retail class.

We have an A2 canvas on offer this month for just £40+vat reduced from £50 so you can save and improve the look of your walls throughout May.

31 Days of Signage – Day 15 Sign Boards

Sign Boards are the focus product to kick off yet another week of signage and display promotions. We make a vast number of very bespoke sign boards and panels for businesses and individuals at digisigns.

Our customers love the fact that we use a range of panel thicknesses and material that they can choose from including; corrugated pvc correx board, 1,3,5 and 10mm foamalux or foamex panel, 3mm dibond and allupanel aluminium composite board and kapa internal foam mout boards.

Whatever you need, we have the material and service to help. It could be a small A4 size board to go outside right up to a row of 8ft by 4ft hoarding panels around a construction site. At digisigns we have the production capacity to do the lot. We regularly produce bespoke panels in large numbers for manufacturing companies that wish to send out branding information, display POS and info panels to their re-sellers. With a print run starting from just one panel going up to 100’s or 1000’s we have just the right service to get your message out there.

All of our sign panels are printed with the latest eco-friendly HP Latex print technology which gives superior image quality and durability in outdoor conditions plus we laminate with a clear film over the top to provide extra protection from scratches and water or dust.

During May we have 10% off all and any printed sign board product from our standard range so if your walls need a re-fresh or you really need to update those menu boards at the restaurant or directional panels in the office now is the time to buy!

31 Days of Signage – Day 14 Speciality Vinyl

Speciality and special effect vinyl is showcased today. So we have reached the end of another week of information and offers for our digisigns signage department and the feedback has been great so far.

To round off our focus on cut and applied vinyl graphics week we have some really interesting options that you may not have seen at other sign and print companies.

We work with some of the best vinyl manufacturers and have innovative special effect vinyls to make you stand out from the crowd. you could be looking to wrap a van or car, or maybe want to upcycle something in your office to bring it in line with your new branding, or maybe even have a display or retail area that could do with a spruce up. The possibilities are endless with what we can do for you so let your creative juices run wild and pop in to see one or our signage design teams at Bath or Chippenham for advice and pricing.

As an example of uses; we have covered an old sales counter with leather texture vinyl for a business that wanted a fresh look, created bespoke lettering in glitter vinyl for a display wall, and even wrapped toilet seats with carbon fibre for a customer!

the possibilities really are endless and we are very open to suggestions or ideas plus our team love an interesting job or problem to solve.

Give us a call or pop in to discuss your needs: Bath – 01225 424821   Chippenham – 01249 655778