Sometimes we need to get back to basics when creating a marketing strategy for your small business.
In many conversations with small business owners, I have realized that my conversation with them seems to focus on the same topics. They want to do some type of marketing because “someone said they should”.
But not all businesses are the same. Even if you are in the same industry, what you should be doing for marketing may or may not be the same as your competitors.
You need to understand the various options available based on the type of business and the target market. Once we have that data, then we can determine whether a marketing activity is appropriate now, later or never.
Having this same conversation with many different people got me thinking. How many small businesses:
- Get distracted by the next shiny new marketing thing because they were told they should?
- Wasted time and money on marketing that wasn’t right for their business because they believed what they were told?
- Are frustrated now because they believe marketing is a wasteful expense?
Before you add any new marketing activities to your plate, make sure you know the following 5 things about your business. This will help you determine the most effective marketing strategies for your small business.
What is your vision
What is the vision you have for your business? Your vision is the key driver of your marketing.
If your vision is to grow your business substantially, then your marketing will be very different from a competitor who wants to stay the same size and keep the pipeline full. Knowing this helps you make decisions on how much marketing is needed.
This will help you make decisions about what to do to keep moving towards the vision you have set.
Who is your ideal client
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Narrowing your target audience can help grow your business. Knowing who you ideally want to work with and how you can help them makes marketing a lot easier. This helps you know what they want and why. You can then incorporate clearer messages into your marketing.
Successful small businesses understand that only certain types of customers will buy their product or service. If you can determine who those people are and target your marketing efforts toward them, you can develop that trust relationship that will in time, turn them into customers.
What makes you different from your competition
The secret to understanding how your business is different is knowing what your ideal client really wants and delivering it better than anyone else. Don’t be fooled – this exercise is not easy to do. It takes a lot of thought, brainstorming and sometimes some trial and error to see what works. Sometimes we are just too close to our businesses to see that differentiating quality that makes us stand out.
What is the value you offer
Your target audience will have different issues, goals and needs. They will be looking for a solution that works for them. You need to define your value proposition so that there is no doubt in their mind that you can help them solve their problem.
Remember that your value proposition is the value you promise to deliver to customers after they buy from you. It describes the benefits your customers can expect from your products or services. It should clearly convey:
- Value. The specific benefits you provide your ideal client.
- Relevancy – How you solve your customers’ problems.
- Unique differentiation. Why customers should buy from you and not your competition.
Remember to say who you work with, how you will help them and why you are the best to deliver on this promise. Don’t underestimate what you do. The value you offer may be something simple for you but complicated for others.
What are your available resources
How much time and money do you have to realistically spend on marketing? There are plenty of options available especially in the digital marketing arena. We just need to be selective and spend our precious resources on what will get us the best return on our investment.
Once you have decided on the best marketing activities for your business, be disciplined about how you spend your time and money. It’s easy to get enticed by empty promises and activities that don’t pay off for you.
Having a solid understanding of these 5 fundamental pieces of information about your business helps you determine your strategy, stay on course and measure your results. And when that new shiny opportunity arises, having this plan can help you quickly determine if the opportunity is worth pursuing.