We are repeatedly asked a range of marketing questions. To aid existing and any potential customers we have created a list of the most popular questions.

Why do I need a marketing consultant?
A marketing consultant is a trained and experienced professional who assists businesses in reviewing, creating and implementing effective marketing strategies to promote their services and products. As a small business owner are you an expert in many different marketing techniques and strategies? Have you got the time to operate your business and able to handle any issues or problems that may arise during your marketing campaign quickly and efficiently? Are you able to look objectively at your business?

What is social media marketing?
We have all heard of word of mouth. Social media marketing is the process of increasing your digital word of mouth and gaining website traffic or attention through social media channels. Social media marketing usually centres around creating and implementing a content strategy, that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it across their social networks.

Why do I need SEO?
Google is not only the largest search engine in the world. Your customers may also view it as a reputation barometer, therefor if you are not showing high in the results what is that saying to customers? The world is fast becoming more and more digital. It would be folly for any business not to have an online presence. However long gone are the days where you could build a website and be found on Google. To be shown high on the SERP takes skill, time and effort.

What is SMO?
Social Media Optimisation, this is using social media marketing to drive traffic to your website. Through matching the content to the linked landing page you can and will increase traffic to your website.

Which social networks should I be using?
Simple answer the same networks that your customers are using. The hard answer is finding out which networks and what your customers want to hear.

Why can’t I just run adverts on Facebook?
If every time you saw a business it was constantly selling to you would you lose interest? The skill to achieving the most out of social media is managing the balance between selling and informing. Businesses that are excelling on social media are constantly reviewing what and how they are engaging with their customers.

I want to improve my company’s online brand and market exposure – what are my first steps?
Set yourself some SMART objectives, include budget and time frames in those objectives. Have you audited your current activity? Do you have the internal expertise to achieve the exposure you desire? What are your competitors undertaking?

What should I be using to measure email effectiveness?
Are you split testing your email marketing? What objectives have you set for your email campaigns? Are you looking for click through rates, open rates, clicks within the email?

Is Social PPC better than Google PPC?
Have you tested them against your objectives? Are you looking for sales, brand awareness, increased followers? I would run a couple of small split tests on each to see which is best suited to your company.

Do I need a marketing strategy?
Your strategy is the route map that defines how you will achieve your marketing objectives. As a rough guide there are four marketing objectives for most businesses.

Increase penetration into existing markets with existing products or services.
Develop new markets for existing products or services.
Innovate by developing new products or services.
Diversify into new markets with new products or services.

Most small businesses do not have the resources to attempt all these objectives at once. You will do better to focus on just one or two of them.

How often should I audit my marketing?
Depending on the pace of your business you should check on how you are achieving your objectives at least monthly. If you are achieving them, then a more in-depth review can take place bi-annually. However, your marketing activity is primed for short bursts you should monitor the outcome of each burst immediately and adjust your bigger picture plan if necessary.

Final word on marketing for your business.
Planning and preparation is everything, yet I have found it is the most frequently ignored element on the part of many a small business. Planning your marketing is a logical and practical process, which can and should be measured and, if necessary, adjusted. Use Market, Consumer and SWOT analysis to provide the background facts which will shape your plan.

Those businesses that get it wrong tend to be those who either don’t plan or whose plan is based on hunches or unverified information. Guesswork is completely free – but completely unreliable. The only sensible way to move forward is to know in advance where you are headed.