Marketing strategy

A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

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Marketing strategy - overview

A marketing strategy tells you what to say, how to say it and who to say it to in order to make more sales. Our guide to the basics.

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Your marketing plan - overview

Start here - our simple guide to creating an effective marketing plan, why you need one, what information you need and what it needs to cover.

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SWOT analysis - overview

Where to start with SWOT analysis, what to include, where to find the information and how to use it to help your business survive and thrive.

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Branding - overview

No idea whether your business needs a brand? The basics of how to create a valuable brand and how to exploit it for business advantage.

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Pricing - overview

Your business needs to get pricing right. The basics on the different pricing strategies you could use, and what you need to consider.

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Exporting - overview

Successful exporting needs to be carefully planned to avoid expensive failures. Our guide to where to start and what you need to consider.

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Retail - overview

How to attract customers and make a success of being a small independent retailer, whether on the high street, selling online or both.

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Cost-effective marketing - overview

How to market your business on a shoestring, and why measuring, testing and fine-tuning is the key to getting the biggest bang for your buck.

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Your target market - overview

Our introduction to identifying market segments, and how it can help you tailor your offer to meet their needs - helping you sell more effectively.

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Product development - overview

Our guide to product development, including customer research, market positioning, the product life cycle and how to keep your product range fresh.

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Building a brand - checklist

A memorable brand can reinforce your identity and encourage customer loyalty. But there's a lot more to a lasting brand than a well-designed logo.

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Creating a brand

Small businesses can create an effective brand by examining how the business works and what it means to customers. Our guide to SME branding.

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Design

Effective use of design in your business can increase sales, reduce costs and present a new image to customers. Our guide to getting design right.

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Developing new products - checklist

Use this checklist to help to develop new products, from developing new ideas to setting budgets, deciding on product specification and prototyping.

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Export finance

Exporting can be more financially complex than selling in the UK. How to negotiate payment methods, choose financing and deal with foreign currencies.

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First steps to exporting

How to prepare for successful exporting, including researching the market, organising transport and distribution, and the paperwork involved.

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Innovation

Innovating isn't a luxury, but an essential if you don't want to be left behind. How to use innovation to improve and expand your products.

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Managing your cash flow

Effective cash flow management is vital so your business has the funding needed to keep trading. Our guide to controlling your cash with confidence.

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New product development

Once you've come up with the idea for a new product or service, you need to develop it, test it and take it to market. Our guide to the key steps.

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Planning to export - checklist

When planning for exporting, thoroughly research the market and potential problems and take advantage of the support and information available to you.

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Planning your marketing

Successful marketing starts with a solid understanding of your customers, finances and opportunities. Our overview of marketing planning.

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Planning your PR - checklist

PR activities can help spread the word about your business for little money. This checklist explains how to promote your business through the press.

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Price your product or service

Your prices can have a dramatic effect on sales and profits - the right price is competitive while protecting your profit margins. Our overview.

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Research your export markets

It's essential to carry out thorough research before you start exporting, to avoid costly mistakes and boost your chances of success. Our guide.

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SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis looks at your strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats your business faces. Read our guide to completing a SWOT.

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Ten ways to improve your offer

As they keep a tight hold on their purse strings, customers are looking for better products, services and value for money. How can you tempt them?

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Don't compete on price

Competing on price threatens your margins and your reputation. Ben Dyer explains why small business owners should avoid price-cutting.

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Great infographics made easy

Kira Lauber explains the importance of creating a narrative and using a metaphor to present complex data in a clear and attractive way.

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How we set up our niche businesses

Many small firms offer specialist products and services aimed at niche sectors. Bruce Townsend finds out how small can be beautiful.

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Is your business in a rut?

Like people and relationships, businesses can fall into a rut. Three experts tell us what the symptoms are and how to get your business mojo back.

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Pop-up businesses

Simon Pitkeathley, chief executive of regeneration agency Camden Town Unlimited, explains how to set up a pop-up business

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12 tips to help your business grow

12 golden rules to help grow your business in a recovering economy and exploit new opportunities, whilst still keeping your customers happy.

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A guide to price comparison websites

Price comparison websites are valuable tools to help you analyse competitors and check out price fluctuations. We guide you through the key sites.

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Benchmark your business

Benchmarking provides a means to compare your firm against other businesses, and identify areas where you can improve your performance.

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Branding on a shoestring

Every business has a brand that it needs to promote and protect. Even with only a small budget, small firms can create their own powerful brand.

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Building a brand FAQs

Read these handy FAQs and find out how to build a brand, including creating a logo, registering a trademark and branding on a budget.

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Choose a pricing strategy

Pricing is one of the most important aspects of your business to get right. Find out what you need to do before putting a price tag on your product.

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Choosing a name for your business

The first thing a customer will notice about your business is its name. Creating the right first impression is essential, but not as easy as it looks.

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Cut your costs with marketing

Knowing what your customers value the most about your products can help you to identify areas where you can cut costs without losing product value.

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Design FAQs

Answers to FAQs to help you use design to boost margins, improve existing products, and meet any standards required for new designs or packaging.

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Developing a marketing training plan

A marketing training plan sets out what your training needs are and how you will meet them, and will help you get the most out of your budget.

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Do you need to rebrand your business?

No business can afford to rest on its laurels. Your business may be keeping up with economic and market changes but is your brand keeping pace?

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Effective PR FAQs

PR is used to raise the profile of a business and portray the business in a good light. Here are 10 FAQs on how to use PR in a small business.

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Employing a designer

Commissioning a professional graphic designer can ensure that your stationery and marketing collateral impress, but how do you find the right one?

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Exploiting gaps in your market

Spotting a gap in the market is only part of the battle: taking it successfully to market presents a far bigger challenge. Find out how it's done.

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Export opportunities

A wealth of overseas opportunities and UK government support means now could be a great time to start exporting. But where should you start?

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Finding the right marketing training

Understanding your marketing training needs is only a first step to improving your employees' skills. Learn how to find the right training provider.

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Franchise your business

Turning your business into a franchise could offer an effective and less risky way to expand significantly. Find out what it involves.

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How do you market an expensive item?

There are no quick tricks when it comes to selling expensive products. But with the right marketing you could seriously improve your sales.

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How I chose my business name

Neena Trehan of Surrey-based beauty salon Spa Fabulous explains how she came up with the name for her business and offers advice to others.

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How to attract more local customers

Technology is allowing business marketing to be increasingly localised. Find out how you can use technology to attract local customers.

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How to brief a creative team

The AdCracker website has some useful sample briefs to help you if you've never briefed a creative team before. Or even if you have.

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How to build a brand

A memorable brand can reinforce your identity and encourage customer loyalty. But there's a lot more to a lasting brand than a well-designed logo.

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How to compete with bigger rivals

Big companies have staff and resources that small firms can only dream of. So how do you compete against bigger rivals when you are a small firm?

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How to look like a bigger business

Customers can worry about small firms, fearing they lack the capacity and experience to match their bigger competitors. So how can you look bigger?

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How to market a professional practice

Marketing is vital for accountants and law firms that want to bring in new business. But what are the key principles for promoting professional firms?

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How to price your service

Pricing a service can be trickier than pricing a product. Getting it right means accurately valuing your time and expertise. Pick up other advice.

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How to relaunch your business

Sales not what they should be? Shrinking market share? Your business might even be stuck in a rut. A relaunch can help, but what does it involve?

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How to set up a delivery service

If you make deliveries, your service must be reliable: it can differentiate you from competitors. How can you make your delivery service superior?

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How to stand out from the crowd

If you want to sell more than your competitors, you need to remind your customers why they should buy from you rather than a rival. Here's how.

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How we started selling overseas

Find out how UK based business Warmup successfully expanded into overseas markets, to support their high level of domestic growth.

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I'm too reliant on a single customer

Reliable customers are the lifeblood of every business. However, it can be risky to rely on them - if their business flounders, so might yours.

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Intellectual property healthcheck

Use this handy tool from the Intellectual Property Office to find out what intellectual property you own, and how you can protect and exploit it.

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Keep up with competitors' price cuts

What do you do when your competitors drop their prices? Just because your competitors have, it doesn't mean it's the right decision for your firm.

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Knowing your customers

Creating a loyal band of customers through good service is a great achievement, but you've got to keep working at your relationship. Find out how.

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Make customer segmentation work

Reaching potential buyers with a targeted message at the right time is key to maintain sales growth. Make sure you identify who spends what when.

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Managing marketing employees

As a business owner you have a vital role in leading the marketing effort and maximising the effectiveness of your sales and marketing team.

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Market yourself as a small business

Small firms have the edge when it comes to quality, service and exclusivity. Afsheen Latif discovers how you can turn size to your advantage

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Marketing and sales recruitment

Marketing and sales recruitment is a vital part of building a solid marketing and sales team that can move your business to the next level.

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Marketing and sales training

Marketing and sales training can deliver significant business benefits. Training your employees helps boost sales and improve customer satisfaction.

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Marketing job description

How to write an effective marketing job description, outlining the key elements of the job and the knowledge, skills and attitude you're looking for.

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Marketing plan template

Use our marketing plan template to create a detailed marketing plan to help identify key marketing activities for your small business.

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Marketing to older customers

This huge and lucrative market is no niche — it encompasses consumers from all walks of life who just happen to be over a certain age.

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New product development FAQs

Apart from a good idea, what do you need for successful development of a new product? These FAQs talk through the process from strategy to prototype.

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Packaging FAQs

Everything on choosing and sourcing the right packaging, passing on the costs to your customers and finding your way through the regulations.

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Planning your marketing FAQs

Profitable marketing for small businesses means identifying gaps in the market missed by mass providers. These FAQs can help you get it right.

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PR on a shoestring

Do you shy away from PR because you don't have a big budget? PR can be done on a shoestring and small steps can bring big rewards.

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Pricing FAQs

Need-to-know answers to ten questions frequently asked by small-business owners when they need to set prices for their products or services.

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Product positioning diagnostic

Use our free downloadable product positioning diagnostic tool to help identify the best way to market your product to your target customers.

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Protect your trade mark

A trade mark is a sign or symbol that enables your customers to distinguish you from your competitors. Find out how you can protect yours.

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Q&A: Sharpen up your sales force

Andy Preston of sales performance training company Outstanding Results explains how training can help you improve the performance of your sales team.

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Recruiting the right salespeople

Good salespeople are a major asset, because they deliver sales, yet finding them can be very hard. Learn how to find and recruit them.

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Routes to market

To maximise your chances of succeeding in business, you must focus on the most effective routes to your market. Find out how to identify them.

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Selling on eBay and Amazon

Amazon and eBay offer huge opportunities for small firms trading online. Chris Dawson, finds out what the future holds for small firms trading online.

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Seven ways to price your product

Ask people to pay too much and they will stop buying: too little and your profit margin slides. Here are 7 ways to price your product accurately.

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Should you pay for an intern?

For business owners in need of an extra pair of hands, the prospect of cheap, or even free, labour, can be very enticing. But what does the law say?

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Smarter marketing for ambitious SMEs

This video discussion about marketing strategy for small firms covers the value of social media, PR and exhibitions, branded vehicles and more.

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Spotting gaps in your market

Every business needs to stay fresh to be competitive. This may mean regularly refreshing your products or coming up with an entirely new offer.

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SWOT analysis template

Download this SWOT analysis template to help you record the strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats your business is facing.

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Ten fundamentals of export marketing

Before you leap onto the international stage, what factors do you need to consider when you’re marketing a company, product or service abroad?

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Ten ways to benchmark your business

Benchmarking provides a means to compare your firm against other businesses, and identify areas where you can improve your performance.

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Ten ways to increase your margins

Firms are always searching for ways to trim their costs and increase their revenue, in good times and in bad. Make your business leaner and fitter.

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Ten ways to promote a new offer

Try these road-tested techniques to make sure your target customers know you have an attractive new product or service on the market.

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The art of customer segmentation

Not all customers are the same. So stop taking a one-size-fits-all approach to your marketing and start segmenting your customers.

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The five principles of retail

If you are running a retail business — whether bricks and mortar or online — there are five core principles you need to adhere to.

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The truth about marketing to women

Marketing expert Robert Craven believes firms which don’t change their approach to marketing to women will get left behind. But not everyone agrees.

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Trade mark online application

You can register your trade mark to protect your brand (eg your product or service). Use the Intellectual Property Office's online service to apply.

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What is SWOT analysis?

An accurate SWOT analysis is a very beneficial tool which allows you to consider internal and external factors that could affect your business.

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What's your personal brand?

People don't only have perceptions about products, services and organisations - they also develop perceptions about the people they meet.

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Why it pays to profile your customers

Understanding your customers is the secret of successful selling. The more you know about them, the easier it can be to increase their spending.

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Why value-based pricing works best

Value-based pricing is about coming up with a price that your customers are willing to pay. Pricing strategist Mark Stiving explains.

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Your first steps to exporting

Moving into export is a big step - it’s important you consider whether your business is ready for the challenge, and prepare for successful exporting.