Icon has put together a list of the Top 5 marketing tools any small business needs to succeed.

1. A strategy A lot of new businesses have a great idea – they are awesome at providing a specific service or making a great new product, but without a strategy, how are you going to turn this idea into a profitable business.tool-chest

Before running headlong into building your business, ensure you have a clear business and marketing strategy behind you. Know who your target audience is, what it is that differentiates you from the competition, and how you can communicate with your audience.

Spending some time upfront building your strategy, gives your activities and programs a backbone to continually check against and work towards. Having a clear marketing strategy in place will save you jumping in to a million different – and at times expensive – advertising or marketing programs that may not work. With each new opportunity that arises, check it against your strategy as a good starting point.

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2. A logo – Every business needs a logo to clearly differentiate you in the marketing place. Your logo and ultimately your brand, needs to relate to your business or communicate what you do.

When developing your logo or working with a branding agency, keep in mind that your brand is about so much more than the colour or font of the actual brand image. Ensure that instead of just working with a designer to talk about these elements, brief them on your company, your business vision and goals and target audience. A good designer will take these elements and create a powerful and appealing logo for your brand to market.

essential-marketing-toolsTIP – when coming up with your company name, perform a search to check it isn’t already being used in your industry. Also check with any domain name provider to ensure you can own the domain name and buy it straight away. If you can’t get the domain name, consider changing the business name.

3. Build your brand Notice we are differentiating your logo from your brand. Your brand is the all-encompassing experience your customer has with your business. From the interaction with your sales people, their experience with your product or service and the follow up they receive from your company.

Spend time building up and then communicating both the tangible and intangibles of your business.

Tangible - This is the part of your product that you can physically touch – i.e. the product itself.Branding

Intangible - on top of the tangible product itself are the intangibles that increase the value of your product. The intangibles can include guarantees, service, credit facilities, delivery, installation, training etc. The intangibles can be defined as anything that you cannot touch or see but is valued by your customers.

The understanding of the tangible is at the very heart of good positioning and branding. The greater the value of the intangible the greater the understanding of the positioning and the brand value for your customers.

4. A website With the power of Google search being universal, claim your business space on the web with a well-designed website; an easy to use and informative website that people can easily find. Look for web designers or developers who utilise an easy to use platform that you have full access to so you can continue to update your own website, keeping it fresh for customers and new visitors.

5. Social media integration There isn’t a company out there who relies on online search for business, who shouldn’t be using one form of social media or another. Google organic ranking placements include a factor called ‘Social Signal’ – this is built upon your usage, frequency and influence in social media – which impacts helping you be found online. It is also a core factor of customer engagement.

Not sure which social platform is right for you? There is a lot – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, +Google, Pintrest, YouTube and the list goes on . Do some research, see where your customers are in these social sites, monitor how other company’s interact and then get in there.