Small businesses always want to grab the idea of the week. And small business owners are absolutely the worst at this because they’re doing a hundred things.
So the shiny object that makes the most noise this week is now the marketing plan. The thing is, if a business owner gets the strategy part right in marketing, he or she can surround it with just about any set of tactics that are performed and measured consistently. That’s how important the strategy piece is.
There are two very significant components to getting a marketing strategy down for a business: to narrow focus down to an ideal client, and to find some way to clearly differentiate one’s business.
Now those may not sound like earth-shattering ideas, but most businesses don’t think about them as thoroughly as they should.
Step One: Define your Ideal Client
Many small businesses try to be all things to all people and find it hard to really focus or succeed at serving narrowly defined market segments. And are often afraid it will make them lose clients to focus in. But it actually helps make you the expert.
A perfect fit may mean that the customer has the kind of need your company can really help with, but it also might mean the client values your unique approach and treats your staff with the respect the relationship deserves. A multiple red flag client, taken because they said they can pay, will suck the life out of a small business faster than almost any other dynamic.
Building Trust and Educating
By now small business owners are tired of hearing the phrase, “Content is King.” As true as it may be, today’s prospects instinctively gravitate to search engines to answer all their burning questions. The mistake many businesses make is that even if they churn out continuous content, they don’t make it part of their overall strategy.
Your content and publishing efforts must be focused on achieving two things: building trust and educating. These two categories of content strategy must be delivered through the creation of very specific forms of content, not simply through sheer volume. Every business is now a publishing business, so you must start to think like one.
To get the complete 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success click here to download the ebook.
Create a Total Web Presence
The Web and digital interactivity now represent the center of the marketing universe. Most marketing decisions must start and end there. Today’s small business must view its marketing strategies and tactics with an eye on growing the online center and radiating beyond with spokes that facilitate most of the offline transactional functions that drive sales and service.
All businesses, regardless of industry, have become what we like to refer to as O2O (online to offline) businesses. Their primary marketing objectives are focused on driving people online to engage offline. In that effort, the online core web presence has significantly heightened responsibilities.
Traditional lead generation tactics— directory advertising, trade show participation, half page print ads— are quickly losing appeal with small business owners. There are two very good reasons for this decline:
Traditional methods are some of the most expensive.
Traditional methods are proving less effective in terms of lead generation.
Message and information overload, technology to block ads, and the availability of information may make traditional and more expensive outbound marketing efforts a thing of the past.
To generate leads and be found, businesses must put themselves in the path of people who are learning about, asking about, and shopping for their particular industries. Lead generation does not need to be done exclusively online. Businesses should not conclude that they shouldn’t use advertising at all. What business owners should understand is that their online presence is the hub of education, and that online and offline advertising, PR and referral systems must utilize this presence to its fullest potential.
Wondering why your prospects don’t find you on Google? Why your website doesn’t generate traffic and leads like you thought it would? Why your competitors seem to show up for coveted keywords?
With our audit and the subsequent plan of action we build for you, you’ll have a complete picture of your current online presence and a roadmap to help you do the things you need to do to dominate your market.
Oftentimes, the quickest way to make an impact on an organization’s marketing results is to go to work on the lead conversion or sales process.
Not having any semblance of a systematic approach to selling is the biggest weakness for most small businesses. The focus of marketing is almost always on generating more leads. While leads are certainly important, the obsession with generating them consumes a significant amount of time and money.
Installing a sales system, one that everyone in the organization who is involved in selling operates, is the fastest way to improve overall marketing results. This is assuming you’ve also narrowly defined your ideal client, created a significant way to differentiate your business, and are consistently building trust through educational content.
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