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Key steps to marketing your business from the small business experts - just in time for Christmas

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Wise Bird Founder Sascha recently chatted to Rosie Jacobs at Independent Oxford about her top marketing tips, planning for Christmas and why she and Jo are so passionate about independent businesses


TELL US ABOUT YOURSELVES AND WHY YOU DECIDED TO SET UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

Jo and I are both experienced marketers and have worked with some of the UK’s most well-known brands including M&S, Tesco, BBC and BT – Jo in publishing and me in ad agencies. We met while working for the women’s lifestyle platform Muddy Stilettos, Jo was the commercial director and I was marketing director.

A picture of Wise Bird Marketing Founders Sascha Way and Jo Sutherland working together two women in an office laughing and chatting

During this time we were working closely with independent businesses across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. We saw first-hand just how passionate and dedicated they are, and just how many aspects there are to running your own business, and that this often leaves little time to focus on marketing with all the areas it covers and the expertise required.


It was because of this that Jo and I decided to set up Wise Bird Marketing – we’ve designed everything around the needs of small indie businesses – taking into account what they need most from their marketing, cutting out all the jargon and creating a range of affordable marketing packages they can choose, alongside advice and recommendations on their marketing strategy and planning


WHY DO YOU THINK INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES ARE IMPORTANT?

We don’t think there’s ever been a time when independent businesses have been more important, particularly after Covid struck and we went through the lockdowns of 2020/21. Despite the huge challenges, independent businesses basically kept everything going, quickly adapting and innovating in response to customer needs. Indie businesses are vital for the local economy and local communities. They are the life blood of villages, towns and city neighbourhoods and play a big part in people’s decision to live or move to a particular area. Their role is becoming even more significant with the growing imperative we all face to deal with climate change and the need to adapt our consumer choices and ways of living.


Picture of the owner of a deli in her shop wearing a blue stripped apron with shelves of fresh bread, cheeses , jams and local fresh food
Independent business retailer and deli owner

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 MARKETING TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?

  1. Have a very clear understanding and expression of what it is you offer and what makes your business different; What is your purpose? How does your business and product enrich, enhance or make people’s lives easier? If you aren’t able to articulate this, it’s unlikely your customers will understand why they should buy from you.

  2. Create a strong brand image, including your logo, tone of voice and personality. This will help you stand out and will act as a shorthand for you customers to understand who you are, what you do and to recognise and remember you.

  3. Make the most of the free channels available to you as a small business such as Facebook, Instagram and Google My Business. Get to grips with how they work and keep on top of the constant innovations.

  4. Don’t rely entirely on third party platforms. Develop your own channels and own your data i.e. your website and customer information.

  5. Keep in touch with your customers; keep thinking about what it is they are looking for, how you can incentivise purchase and reward loyalty – it’s much more cost effective to have loyal customers that return than to continually having to find news ones.

WITH CHRISTMAS JUST AROUND THE CORNER, WHAT SHOULD SMALL BUSINESSES BE FOCUSING ON NOW?

After last Christmas with all the restrictions of lockdown, Christmas 2021 will be even more significant for families this year. Following our 5 marketing tips will be crucial. Make sure you have a clear idea of your Christmas offering – prepare your social campaign with great images and photography, think about headline offers and incentives. Check your website is up to date and communicates this, and that visitors to your site can easily navigate and purchase your products and services. Be ready to communicate your Christmas offering from the end of October (if not sooner depending on the sector you operate in).


WHAT NEW TRENDS ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT IN THE MARKETING WORLD?

The continued growth of localism is very exciting and a massive opportunity for independent businesses – it’s disrupting retail and changing the way people consume products and engage with brands.

A picture of a chalk board with the words 'Thank you for Shopping Local'
Shop Local support local

The changing landscape when it comes to privacy and data sharing is likely to challenge all businesses – for example the new Apple privacy regulation have put Facebook in a flurry as they struggle to track response rates from iPhone users (this is about to affect email open rates too).


However we think this is going to shake up the way things are done and will force a change in the kind of relationships businesses nurture with their customers – trust, authenticity and regular contact will be vital. This is also why developing your own channels and owning your customer data (aka first party data) is so important for independent businesses.


Read the full version of this blog in Independent Oxford





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