By Philip Likos-Corbett, Information Architect, Spot Studio

In our capacity as a digital agency we find that many small businesses lack a real objective awareness of who they are or what their market place is. There is a lack of consistency in their branding or marketing materials; a jumbled approach that has been tacked together over time, rather than a coherent plan of action.

Most business owners do this - they get caught up in the excitement of their first venture, or grow at a rate they never expected and find themselves up that idiomatic creek without a paddle. As in all situations, don’t panic. Gather your thoughts, follow the following steps and you will be sure to have everything under control, and be attracting larger clients in no time.

1. Understand Your Clients!

It’s not good enough to just know that people will buy your products or services, you need to know why they have bought them. This is the most fundamental stage of your business development. Properly understanding who your clients are means that you can be sure to engage them in the right way!

One of the things that we do for our clients is get them to review their existing client base, dividing them into two groups:

• those they want more of / those that bring genuine value and are fun to work with
• those that don’t bring them value and they want less of

Discerning personas for these people, you need to start generating client journeys to understand just how you are attracting those you want and those you don’t. Then simply focus on improving the client journey for those bigger purchasers!

2. Generate A Long Term Marketing Manifesto

Based on your findings on the previous stage, you need to come up with a proper long term plan for your marketing that covers those clients on all stages of the buying cycle:

• Awareness
• Research
• Decision
• Purchase
• Loyalty

You need to be sure that those clients that you want to appeal to are catered for at every stage. Your marketing plan should be at least 6-12 months long. Setting out KPIs alongside each action point, you need to make sure that there are metrics put in place which will allow you to gauge the success of your plan.

Don’t be afraid to correct the failing plan, but ensure that you have considered what may fail before you put it in place!

3. Develop Consistency Across All Your Marketing Platforms

Re-evaluate how you are displaying yourself across all of your social media channels, your website and your advertising campaigns! In this digital age clients will research extensively who they are buying into because it is very easy to find out a whole treasure trove of information.

It’s no good having a stellar website, but a sloppy social media presence which doesn’t tie in with the style you are trying to portray. This sort of dissonance could be the difference between landing that large client and never knowing that they were even interested in you in the first place…

4. Leverage The Fact That You’re A Small Business

This might sound counter intuitive, but in certain cases demonstrating the fact that you are a small, boutique business can do you a world of good. A larger company using your services will know that you are going to give them a personal, handcrafted service, which in the world of big business today is invaluable.

Don’t be afraid to publicise your strengths; demonstrate why your team is made up of your staff and why precisely you guys are the commandos that you are. People like working with other people, not machines, and that close knit company that can demonstrate their strong ethos, web presence and belief in their core team will outshine their larger competitors!