Marketing strategy is anticipating, identifying, and satisfying customer needs. Meaning, you must predict what your customers want, build a solution for them, and finally, sell that solution to them.
Whether you’re in the process of launching a new business or already have one, having a solid marketing strategy for your brand is a MUST.
Small business owners need digital marketing. Not only is digital marketing a must-have for promoting your products or services, but optimizing your online presence is also critical to your business’s overall success.
For local businesses, it’s equally important to have essential and updated information readily available for potential clients.
If you’re a small business owner with little experience in digital marketing, this might all sound like a foreign language to you.
But have no fear in this article, we’ll help you build and optimize your marketing strategy setting you up to attract new clients and ultimately grow your business.
Digital marketing for small businesses
Marketing is meant to raise brand awareness and build a pipeline of qualified leads that turn into sales. With a small business, getting the word out can be challenging due to less visibility and lack of resources (like budget or time).
However, there are key strategies that can help you scale your small business’s marketing efforts.
Whether you’re struggling with a limited budget, the time restraints caused by having a smaller team, or even a lack of direction, a clear marketing strategy that’s appropriate for your business can provide guidance as you scale.
These marketing strategies are fundamental as you generate awareness and revenue for your organization:
- Know your audience
- Focus on what makes you different
- Stay focused on singular goals and objectives
- Capitalize on short-term plays
- Double-down on what works
- Understand the power of existing customers
- Create a website to own your online presence
- Use email marketing to nurture leads
- Determine your brand identity
- Determine your brand identity
1. Know your audience
A key mistake is thinking that “anyone” is a potential customer. Larger companies may be able to appeal to a wide market, but they say, “the riches are in the niches” for a reason.
A niche means a group of customers who are not well served, and this is where you’ll have the most leverage as a small business. To develop a niche and appeal to buyers within that niche, you must understand their needs.
What pushes them to make a purchasing decision? What does it look like if they succeed? Knowing this data will help you craft a message that resonates and makes a compelling case for your solution.
For example, if you drive a 2008 Toyota, then BMW will not try to target you in their marketing efforts because you are not their customer. The same thing goes for SpaceX, you never see their ads because you most likely do not work at a governmental agency‘s space program.
You are the customer of a company that provides leather seats for old cars, or a company that provides sound systems or polishing services. BMW targets individuals who drive Mercedes Benz or Audi.
Start by thinking about your existing customers, what got them to buy your product or service, and start drawing similarities between them which will help you create what we call a “Consumer profile”.
Your consumer profile is your key to targeting that particular customer in that particular niche that you have chosen.
Know more on how to create a targeted marketing message based on your customer buyer persona in this article: Define your customer persona to easily create targeted marketing messages
2. Focus on what makes you different
In the business world we call this “Emphasizing your value proposition” If there’s no difference between you and your competition, there’s no reason a buyer would be interested in buying your product or using your service.
Your value proposition is what differentiates you from others in your sector and tells your customers that you are the business to use.
Answer that question: What do you do better than anyone in the industry?
Though, an effective value proposition tells the customers why you’re different from others, why they should buy from you and not from your competition. A powerful value proposition improves customer understanding of your business products or services.
3. Stay focused on singular goals and objectives
It is important to know where your customers are. Knowing this will help you focus your marketing strategy and efforts on what works.
Say you sell handbags, then your customers are on Instagram and would appreciate visual means. If you provide educational services, then your users are most likely to exist on LinkedIn and that is where you should be.
To prove our statement, we are sure you have never seen a Ferrari ad on Instagram, but you have seen plenty of travel agency ads there.
If you’re exploring the world of marketing, you may have noticed that there are plenty of methods.
It’s tempting to do it all at once and craft a complicated machine in hopes that you covered all your bases, and it’s easy to take on too much.
Instead, identify where the biggest impact will be. Where is the biggest blind spot in your marketing that’s limiting your growth?
For example, if you’re setting a goal to improve visibility in the search engines and increase your website rankings “which is what we call Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”; then you should be focused on that more than anything else
You shouldn’t be detached by your goals wanting to increase your SEO game yet at the same time focusing on building a community for your brand.
Also, if you want to enhance your marketing strategy, you should definitely know more about the difference between short- and long-term marketing goals.
4. Capitalize on short-term plays
In your business you must have one product or service that generates you the most cash, whether it is profit cash or revenue cash, you naturally use that cash to expand, grow, or diversify your product portfolio. Think deeply about it and you will know that it is right.
This is what we call the “cash cow” in business. A cash cow is a product or service that generates the most cash to help you grow other products.
Apple provides plenty of products from earphones, chargers, Apple TV, OS apps, all the way to cars (in the near future). However, their cash cow is iPhones, iPhone is what brings in the most cash in both, revenue and profit.
Apple uses that cash to fund other projects. The same analogy applies to your marketing activities, there is one marketing channel that generates the most sales for you. And this is what you should focus on.
5. Double-down on what works
Once you have your marketing strategy ready, your campaigns running, and you’ve experimented with a few things, pay attention to the data.
This can inform you of what’s working. As you scale, it’s a good idea to double down on proven methods of generating revenue.
Set a performance goal around that one key area and focus your resources on the activities and tactics that will achieve that one performance goal.
You are probably wondering how to track that data, right?
We highly recommend Google Analytics because it is free, user-friendly, and easy to implement.
For more resources, you’ll find various ways that will help you know exactly what works and whatnot, and how to use it to enhance your strategy for the future.
6. Understand the power of existing customers
Identify your opportunities for repeat purchasing. Because your existing customers have already made a purchase, they already know, like, and trust you.
If you’ve provided a good experience, you’ve given them a reason to do business with you again should the need ever arise.
But how to do it?
Well, there are many strategies to use like:
- Send out regular newsletters
- The power of email marketing
- Facebook retargeting
- Google remarketing
7. Create a website to own your online presence
Having a professional-looking website is one of the most important assets for your small business. This is where you will show off who you are, what you offer, where you are, and how a potential customer can get in touch with you.
It is a channel you will always own (unlike other platforms which may change policies or go in and out of style), and it has the capability of generating organic traffic in addition to being a place to send traffic from advertising and other marketing initiatives.
Your website isn’t just a simple brochure, as you can turn it into a 24/7 salesperson by understanding how to convert traffic and turn them into leads.
8. Use email marketing to nurture leads
Just because you’ve converted website traffic into leads doesn’t mean those leads are ready to buy yet. It’s important to stay top of mind and move them closer to a purchasing decision.
Email marketing is a critical part of your marketing toolkit.
In fact, 73% of people prefer communications from businesses to be via email. This marketing strategy is easy, relatively cheap, and a scalable way to communicate with both new and existing customers.
Once you have an email marketing tool in place (many are inexpensive or even free), experiment with emailing out newsletters (with your sleek new blog posts), and other promotions to your database.
We know small business owners don’t have tons of free time to devote to digital marketing, so consider using marketing automation to make this process even easier for yourself.
9. Determine your brand identity
Having a consistent brand identity to promote your business will make you look more professional and help you attract new customers.
Great branding requires passion, and in Steve Jobs’ book, the drive for money isn’t a strong enough “passion.” He says:
“It took us three years to build the NeXT computer. If we’d given customers what they said they wanted, we’d have built a computer they’d have been happy with a year after we spoke to them – not something they’d want now.”
But how can you connect your brand to your marketing strategies and even strengthen it? Find the answer in this article: How to strengthen your brand with your marketing strategy
10. Experiment with photo and video content
More than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands. Additionally, most social media apps, like Facebook and Instagram are embracing more visual layouts. To keep up with these trends, it’s a good idea to make a few marketing videos. Using these tips and producing a few can be quite inexpensive.
You probably have a long road ahead to build your marketing strategy and online presence, but any steps you can make will have a huge impact on your business.
Some activities like blogging take a few months to start kicking in and generating traffic, but social media posts pay-per-click ads can have immediate effects. If you’re still not sure which direction is the perfect fit for your business, check out more resources and articles on our blog