Vonage has teamed up with Tim Campbell MBE, winner of the first series of The Apprentice, to create a set of informative videos on how to grow a successful small business. Tim draws on his experiences as an entrepreneur, including his work with Lord Sugar and setting up the Bright Ideas Trust.
In the video below, Tim explains how to reach potential customers through marketing that won’t cost a fortune. He shares some off and online strategies that anyone can follow, not just the tech experts and marketing gurus.
When you’re considering how to market your business online, the number of options may seem bewildering. A good starting point is to make sure you are up to date with social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, as your customers may well be active on these channels and they are generally free to use.
In the video, Tim explains that he is fortunate to be seen as ‘the nice guy’ from The Apprentice who wants to be helpful to people. According to him, this is an authentic perception, which is a key aspect of marketing. You must always be authentic in the way you present yourself to customers, otherwise they will see through you and lose faith in your enterprise.
Nothing speaks louder than the words of a satisfied customer. A real human face on your website that explains simply and authentically how your product or service has benefited them can be enormously effective. It comes from the old human instinct to trust something only if we see that other people have successfully used it first.
This needn’t be an expensive video shoot involving a full production team. Smart phones today are more than capable of capturing footage of a high enough quality. Perhaps interview a customer – with their permission! – just after you have delivered a product to them, and ask them a few questions about the service they have received and how they feel about your company.
A really smart tip is to include on your website the names of companies you have worked with in the past to show you are part of an unofficial business network. Seeing other companies they may have heard of mentioned will reassure customers that you are a trusted, legitimate and professional operator. Also, they can always contact those companies for a reference if the need arises. It shows customers who haven’t made up their mind that other companies have already put their faith in you.
Friends and family
There are plenty of off-line ways to market your small business. All your friends and family should be ambassadors for your business. Perhaps offer them a free trial of your product or service in exchange for their discussing it on social media, LinkedIn or Facebook groups. This is really powerful way to engage customers, because, once again, people trust other people.
Set clear goals
In order to make progress, you need to know where you’re going. You should set clear goals and aims for your business and your marketing, before developing a strategy and tactics to help you achieve them. For example, who are you trying to reach? What message do you want them to receive about your business? Make sure your strategy aligns with these goals and review it regularly to stay on course for success.