When it comes to discussing the biggest business hotspots in the UK, few can ultimately rival Manchester. The city and the surrounding Greater Manchester area are thriving and full of talent, which is excelling in so many different industries, with research from Red Flag Alert estimating that more than 33,000 limited companies were launched in the region in 2017 alone.
While this figure is undoubtedly fantastic for the city and the local area’s economy, it does, however, put a spotlight on the challenges that new businesses ultimately face. Put simply, regardless of the sector you are involved in, there is likely to be a lot of competition and many rival firms out there looking to challenge you for customers and potential clients. With that in mind, it is fair to say that marketing needs to be a key tool in your arsenal.
A fundamental part of business
Being able to actively promote and showcase your offering is a fundamental part of growing a business, and many firms set aside a significant amount of funds in order to address the issue. According to a study carried out by Affilinet last year, UK small business owners were in fact dedicating around 16 percent of their annual budget to marketing and promotions.
Furthermore, they also stated that they were doing so for a number of reasons. These included that they had seen competitors enjoy strong results after investing in marketing, as well as the fact that they were wary a company could suffer without embracing modern marketing methods.
So, with all of that in mind, what should new businesses in Manchester be looking to do to promote their services? Ultimately, the strategies that firms employ are dependent on who they are targeting and the nature of their work, but we think the following ideas – which take in both offline and online strategies – may provide some food for thought as you start to consider your marketing options.
The aforementioned study by Affilinet found that 22 percent of firms were looking into social media marketing and it is fair to say that it is a good starting point. From Facebook to Instagram, such platforms tend to be free and allow you to quickly set up pages and engage with relevant communities.
In addition, using such services may mean that friends also lend a hand in sharing your page, becoming advocates for your business in the process. Of course, once you have a following you can also engage with them to open a dialogue and get a feel for the products and services they want.
If you’re using social media it may be useful to have somewhere you can point customers to. In this day and age, it feels essential for businesses to have an online presence. and a website is a great way to explain and illustrate what you’re offering and the services you provide.
It is a place where you can explain how people can get in touch, open up a forum for queries and often companies decide to publish a blog for further, more personal insights into what you’re up to.
It might seem old-school to some, but it is hard to argue against the effectiveness of a good flyer or business card. If, for example, you’re starting a takeaway or cleaning business, a few leaflets through letterboxes could really make a big difference as you look to generate leads.
There are a few firms around which could support you with this, including HelloPrint. The company offers a range of free flyer templates for your business taking in a host of designs. In addition, they also offer advice on how to send files to them so that your designs are always cropped and presented correctly, with no important details being missed. Finally, as well as flyer printing, the firm offers other services like business cards, custom banners, and even flag printing, so you can get all of your business stationery needs sorted in one place.
Whether online or in print, the benefits of a well-placed promotion in something like the Manchester Evening News or a campaign on social media should not be underestimated. Well-designed and well-placed advertisements are an effective way to extend your outreach to customers who may not have necessarily considered your brand beforehand. Again, the right promotion in the right suburb or part of the city center, or the right corner of the internet, may just be the boost you need.
According to the Affilinet study, 14 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) owners saw content marketing as a priority, seeing the need to produce content that is of interest to the reader while advertising their product. A digital marketing tool, it revolves around effectively creating valuable and sharable content to promote your organisation’s services.
It can come in many forms but it is undoubtedly a thoroughly modern way to spread the message about your business and what it offers.
Seven percent of respondents to the Affilinet research said this was a priority. Public relations could involve anything from you supporting and sponsoring specific events, like festivals across Manchester to simply sending out press releases regarding notable milestones you have achieved.
It is a chance to put a spotlight on your company and your products, with a view to building the mainstream reputation of your business along the way.
While social media may seem like a more modern way to engage with individuals, there is still a place for email marketing when it comes to promoting a business.
For instance, if you’re involved in retail it could be a way to contact consumers about a new sale, offers or send out a regular newsletter to stay in touch.
Spreading the word
There are so many things to consider when you first start a business but once the absolute essentials are in place, some thought has to be given as to how you intend to spread the word about what you’re up to.
The tactics highlighted above are just a few ideas you could turn to as you look to develop a presence and showcase what you do. Utilising these effectively could put you well on the way to significant business success.