For small businesses and entrepreneurs, marketing is an essential activity but often your budget can’t stretch to meet your objectives. So, I thought I would give you a helping hand and give you guidance on which marketing activities you should devote your marketing spend to in 2021 for the best return.

Why branding is the starting point

My belief is that you need an identity. I am all about visibility and your audience needs to be able to identify with your brand. You should choose a name that is easy to remember and represents what you do. Name, logo, colours, and values should all form part of your brand strategy process. A dilemma for lots of new business owners is whether you should use a personal or corporate name for your business. I highly recommend you try this quick quiz to find out

Investing in your brand identity can range from £50 for a simple logo to thousands for a full-on strategy. Choose what’s best for you but it is affordable so don’t be put off and do devote time and budget to it.

Having a website should be a priority

Your website is your own intellectual property and in my opinion, is an essential tool for every business today. I don’t say this lightly, but I urge you to consider having one if you don’t already. For your website, you have total control over your content, and you ensure that it is properly optimised for search then it can be a great source of driving relevant clients to your business.

Once again budgets vary wildly but you can get a perfectly good and functioning website for £300 but you can also spend thousands. This would increase if you need e-commerce functionality. My recommendation is to go for a WordPress site as these give you the best functionality as you grow. Off-the-shelf sites like Squarespace and GoDaddy have a lot of limitations when it comes to optimising for search too.

Grow your audience with social media

I am all about visibility and social media gives you a great opportunity to grow your audience, but you should be strategic. Think about where your audience hangs out and research, research, and research some more. Do not try to be on every social media channel. Pick two and do them well. Creating content and regularly posting on social media is time-consuming and if it’s not your thing then choosing a specialist Virtual Assistant (VA) to outsource this to should be something you consider.

If budget allows promoted posts and ads offer a great way to extend your reach. To give you some guidance you need to be allowing around £5 per day to get value from social media advertising. While it’s possible to do it yourself having an expert so that you get the best return is advised.

Why online courses can be a great help

When it comes to learning new marketing skills there are a host of online courses that you can turn to to skill-up. There are also lots of Facebook Groups where you can glean a lot of free advice like my group Get Yourself Noticed. I host a live in here every week on key topics to make you more visible. Online courses are a great option for small business owners as you can learn a highly valuable skill that helps make your business more visible for a relatively low investment. You can invest in full-on Masterminds where you learn an end-to-end process or you can go for spotlight course which focus on a particular skill such as blog writing, Instagram reels and how to write emails, for example.

Outsourcing to an expert

A lot of what I have mentioned still requires a lot of time and investment on your behalf. While there is no getting away that as a small business owner you need to invest considerable time in marketing activities you can choose to outsource to an expert who will look after the process entirely which might be quite attractive. I offer an entry point 1-2-1 session for £99 which is a marketing strategy session that gives you clarity, direction, and a plan on how to move forward. Contact me via hello@zappcommunications.co.uk for further details.

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