Many small businesses feel that having a brand is not something necessary to successfully market their products or services. Some think it is something only large companies need. And although some might invest in a logo, they miss the fact that a brand identity is so much more than just the visual impression of your business.
Small businesses have many marketing challenges, but one of the hardest things small business owners need to do is determine what makes their business stand out from the competition and present it in a way that attracts their ideal client. Being able to differentiate your business by communicating your unique capabilities that your competition does not have is paramount to attracting your ideal client.
Marketers like to talk about the benefits of creating a marketing plan for your business. While doing so is important, there is more to implementing a successful marketing campaign than just creating a marketing plan. To implement your marketing plan, you need a process for each marketing campaign or initiative – lead generation, content marketing, email marketing, search marketing or social media marketing to name a few – so that it achieves a significant ROI.
Did your marketing help you increase visibility, generate more leads or find new lucrative clients? Whether you feel your marketing was successful or not, it is the perfect time to conduct a marketing review prior to putting your marketing plan in place for the new year.
Keyword research is one of the most important and valuable activities in marketing, not just search engine marketing, but marketing in general and should be the starting point of your marketing plan. We know that people are doing more and more of their research online to determine what they want to buy and who they want to buy from. Consider keyword research as a component of market research that helps us better understand what our target markets are interested in and what terms they use to find what they need.
Selecting the best target market for your business is the most important but difficult part of the marketing plan. Business owners will make many excuses when asked why they have not chosen a target because they believe that targeting limits their opportunities.
Your value proposition is an important part of your marketing strategy that is often misunderstood. Although a key concept in marketing for decades, it is now just as important in the online world where you are trying to get people to click on your ads or convert on your landing pages into qualified leads.
How do you view marketing when it comes to your business – an investment or an expense? If you pick investment, then spending money on creating a powerful web presence is something you will do willingly because you know it will help your business grow and succeed. If you pick expense, then you will cut marketing when things get a bit tight (if you spend on marketing at all) and make irrational decisions when it comes to your web presence.
Marketing your small business is very much like playing golf. In golf, the goal is to play each hole to get the ball from the tee into the hole on the green in the fewest number of strokes possible. To achieve that goal, you need a strategy for each hole such that you get to your destination successfully. Your action plan is to execute each shot as planned, resulting in the par score.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” Yogi Berra had a humorous way of stating the obvious but when it comes to your business, winding up somewhere unknown is not funny. Most business owners understand the value of having marketing goals, but many never take the time to set them, evaluate progress and adjust them as necessary.