You can have the best idea, the most dedicated staff, and a life-changing product – but it won’t matter if no one knows your business exists.
Marketing is imperative for small businesses because it helps create visibility in competitive and oversaturated markets. Believe it or not, something as simple as an ad, flyer, or social media post can be the driving factor behind a customer choosing to shop at your business as opposed to a larger, more well-known corporation.
Our team understands the challenges that come with starting a business. Not only do entrepreneurs need to come up with a business idea, but they also need to evaluate the logistics of launching their business. For example, developing a business plan, obtaining proper permits and licenses, and selecting an ownership structure – to name a few. Then, when business owners think they have it all figured out, they’re required to adapt because the world is always changing.
We want to support your marketing journey! That’s why we interviewed one of our SCORE volunteers, Shawne Angelle, to get her perspective on marketing.
Marketing Tips from SCORE Mentor Shawne Angelle
GH: Tell us a little about yourself and your volunteer work with SCORE!
SA: I had a 32-year career with Verizon where I led Sales, Marketing, and Operations organizations – regionally, nationally, and globally. When I retired from Verizon seven years ago, I led the Small Business Sales and Marketing organization, which was a $2 billion revenue business unit.
I joined SCORE in late 2017 and became a SCORE Certified Mentor. I have been actively mentoring startups and Small Business owners since then – both at the Greenhouse and virtually for clients who apply directly on SCORE’s website. I also serve on SCORE Pinellas County’s executive leadership team, where I am responsible for maintaining our website and serving as the Greenhouse Relationship liaison.
SA: After retiring, I took a year off from business to explore different volunteer opportunities. I learned about SCORE and realized how much I missed mentoring others in business. It was a big passion of mine at Verizon where I mentored many internally and externally through Menttium.
GH: Why is marketing so important for small businesses?
SA: I firmly believe marketing is table-stakes for any business regardless of size – and especially critical for small businesses. The reasons are simple: building brand awareness, attracting customers, building customer loyalty, generating revenue, and outpacing competitors.
GH: What marketing strategies did you use to become successful?
SA: I utilized many strategies while working in both the business-to-consumer and business-to-business markets. My biggest takeaway was the power of customer relationship management and customer retention.
SA: First and foremost, define and understand your target audience, also known as your ideal customer, so that you can create a focused and effective marketing campaign. Understanding your customer’s needs and pain points is critical to ensuring you have a value proposition that speaks to your audience.
Second, establish an online presence. It’s essential in today’s digital world. At a minimum, have a website and social media that appeals to your target audience. I’d also recommend being listed on Google, Yelp, and Nextdoor if you market to consumers.
Third, develop a content strategy. Publishing relevant content is a great way to attract and retain customers.
Fourth, consider doing Email Marketing. It’s still one of the most cost-effective means of marketing, and it’s a great way to stay in touch with your customers while keeping them engaged with your brand.
Fifth, partner with other businesses. You don’t have to do this on your own. There are many opportunities for cross-promotions where you can help each other grow your customer bases.
And finally, use referral marketing – whether it be a formal referral program or simply asking your customer to refer others.
We are here to help.
If your marketing strategies need improvement, we have you covered. The Greenhouse wants to ensure business owners are equipped to conquer the remainder of 2023. That’s why we’ve dedicated the April workshop theme to “Marketing.”
We invite you to join us at The Greenhouse for our live and virtual workshops, where we cover topics such as:
- Elements of the Marketing Plan on Thursday, April 6, at 6:00 p.m.
- Register here.
- Content 101: The 365 Hack to Making Marketing Content All Year Long on Wednesday, April 12, at 6:00 p.m.
- Register here.
- 360º Marketing: Using your Brains Before Spending Your Benjamins on Tuesday, March 25, at 6:00 p.m.
- Register here.