British businesses are competing. They are in a race with an estimated 5.4 million businesses to get their brand noticed — even if that means screaming, dancing or miming. At least, those are some of the tactics we heard about while chatting with the owners of great small businesses like Gleem and Lawyer Fair at The Pitch Bootcamp 2015.
The UK’s biggest small business competition, The Pitch, is gearing up for the 2015 finale. With that finish line in sight, we’ve put together 11 tips aimed at helping entrepreneurs in Britain and beyond grow their businesses and boost their brands.
1. Little things can make a huge difference
Notice how this is a list of top 11 tips? That’s because everyone else does a top 10. We’ve gone one better. Little and often simple differentiators like this are what makes people look twice — an invaluable asset in the quest for awareness in a busy online world.
2. What’s your story?
The beauty of a smaller business is that there are usually people behind it with a genuine passion for what they do. If you’re one of them, show it. Write blogs, post vlogs, become an industry spokesperson. Your business’s unique selling point is that it isn’t a faceless corporation. Shout about it.
3. Get personal
For businesses, social media can feel like a place where customers go to moan. But it’s important that your business is present, responding to queries and generally helping people out. Even if it is a complaint, you’d be amazed at how happy people can be with a friendly, human interaction, or just some acknowledgement. And there’s no better marketing technique than word of mouth.
4. Hashtag hijacking
If you see something trending on Twitter that you sort of, kind of, maybe think relates to your business, jump on the bandwagon. Send your tweet using the hashtag, and anyone who explores that trend will see your business. Congratulations, you’ve just grown your audience. One tweet is all it can take for your business to go viral. Just make sure it’s for a good reason.
5. Email isn’t dead
Despite what millennial think pieces might have you believe, email marketing isn’t a thing of the past. Email use is growing in the business sector, and by 2018, business email will account for over 139.4 billion emails sent and received per day. Email outperforms other marketing strategies, earning on average $43 for every $1 spent, and email marketing services are a great way to help you save time. For a monthly fee you can send out a certain number of emails, and services such as the GoDaddy Email Marketing tool will look after the automatic removal of bad addresses, duplicates and unsubscribes.
6. Get out of the office
It might feel like it’s impossible to find time to leave your workplace but trust us, it’s worth it. Attending events lets you mingle with like-minded business-owners, hear great ideas, and potentially meet the person who will take your company global. You won’t know unless you go.
7. Brush up on current affairs
At the risk of sounding like your college politics teacher, you should keep up to date with happenings around the world. Often journalists will tweet, using #journorequest, asking for comments from people on specific storylines. If the story suits your business and you have an angle, get in touch with them straight away and you might see your comment (and business) in the newspaper the next day!
8. Be and look professional
“Does a struggling salesman start turning up on a bicycle? No, he turns up in a newer car.” ~ David Brent, The Office
In business, perception is everything. And it’s never been easier to secure your business image. A professional-looking website will put consumer minds at ease. You could be operating from your parent’s basement but a shiny website will — in the mind of customers — conjure thoughts of a slick service, reassuring them that your company is reliable and well-known. Use your website as a virtual billboard.
9. Get the creative juices (and pints) flowing
Getting caught up in the day-to-day running of your business can make it hard to think outside the box. In terms of marketing, you want to do something different than your competitors. Go see your friends down at the pub and ask them what they want from your type of business. Why do they choose certain products or services? What catches their eye? Which brands do they know best, and why? Based on this information, you can start generating ideas that will get your business noticed.
10. Know your audience
It’s a common mistake to think everyone needs your business. Identify your demographic and target them with the right content. From newsletters to LinkedIn, the right materials and channels offer access to the right audience. You don’t necessarily need to cast a wider net, just one with stronger rope. Or something like that.
You need to find out what works and what doesn’t. From trying out a different subject header in an email to using a different font on your website, experimenting with your content will keep it fresh. Sure, it’s important to maintain brand consistency, but an occasional update will stop everything feeling stale.
Don’t miss updates on The Pitch Bootcamp final! Follow @GoDaddy and @ThePitch on Twitter. You can also follow #ThePitch15.