The US lessons for UK small business marketing

We may resent some perceived US traits and influences but there is much for UK SMEs to learn from their stateside counterparts.

Americans are five times more likely to be self-confident than Brits, according to research by psychology and data specialists, VisualDNA.

This confidence is one area where Brits can learn from Americans about embracing online marketing, says Michelle Cachucho of Best Minds Marketing.

Embrace online marketing

“Google did a study on how people make their purchasing decisions. It’s called Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). “It found that the internet has changed how we decide what to buy. Consumers do their research online now. The US have got that. In the UK, small businesses know they need to be online but finding out the ‘right’ way to do it can leave them overwhelmed”.

Email marketing

“I specialise in email marketing,” says Cachucho. “It’s the cheapest form of marketing online and provides the most return on investment. It’s not about spamming customers with sales emails; instead it’s about starting and continuing a conversation.”

Emailing customers about a refer-a-friend scheme, for instance, is just one example of email marketing that can add value. Cachucho adds that email marketing can “lead to additional revenue small business didn’t think was possible”.

Target existing customers

Alasdair Inglis, MD of small business marketing agency Grow, agrees. “A small increase in referral and repeat custom can make a huge impact on profit.

“For example, if you’re a hairdresser, partner with the gym down the road to offer a discount to each other’s clients. Each business could leverage the value of its email list really easily by emailing its clients to promote such a deal.”

Social media marketing

Brits can also learn from Americans when it comes to social media marketing, says Inglis. “Small businesses can punch above their weight with paid advertising on Facebook. It has all this data on its users – who they are, where they live, who’s getting married, ages of children and more. So for just £200–300 small businesses can place an ad targeting their ideal customer and get results.”

Outsource business admin

Inglis says he sees many business owners spending too much time on business admin and not enough time on marketing. “If you want your business to grow you should be doing the work that’s high-value so delegate or outsource your admin.”

Learn marketing skills

Business owners can be scared of using marketing, Inglis says, and may not know where to start. Remember, you don’t have to do it all yourself, he advises; there are many marketing freelancers who specialise in helping small businesses. Sign up to LinkedIn and search ‘Marketing Freelance’. Check out what companies they’ve worked with before, if they’ve been reviewed and click on their website to see if they’ve got the knowledge to make your presence online really sing.

But even if you do employ marketing help, make sure you take an interest. Inglis says: “Successful business owners are those willing to learn and develop an understanding of marketing.

“Take online courses and speak to experts to build up your knowledge base. And remember it takes time for great marketing to work.”

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