If you own a small business, I hope you’re spending at least part of your budget on marketing and advertising. If you’re not, you need to be. The most important thing that a small startup can do is get the word out about their business. If no one knows you exist, odds are, they won’t find you.
But how you’re marketing can play just as big a role as what you’re marketing. Good marketing efforts can educate consumers about your business, attract them to your service, and create loyal converts. Bad marketing can drive customers away, or at best, cause you to waste money on investments that will never yield a return.
If you’re a small business owner, read through these four effective marketing strategies that you probably aren’t implementing. Once you’re finished, take what you learn and apply it to your own business.
1. Research the Ideal Buyer First
Whether you’re just opening your doors or are ready to expand, the first step is to identify who your ideal buyer is going to be. Your ideal buyer is a snapshot of who is most likely to buy from you, and who you actually want to do business with.
What am I Looking For?
There are many aspects you could focus on in identifying your ideal buyer, but it really comes down to five main questions you need to answer:
- What problem are they trying to solve?
- What are the pain points they have in solving that problem?
- What do they want to achieve with their solution?
- How knowledgeable are they about the topics the problem involves?
- Where are they located?
You can also look at things like how much they make, how much they spend, what their age is, etc., but these five are the most important.
How Do I Find that Information?
Through a combination of primary and secondary research.
Primary research is research that you conduct yourself. It can come in the form of surveys, email questionnaires, face-to-face conversations, or any number of methods. It’s time-consuming and costs more but you can the results relate directly to your business.
Secondary research is done by others and becomes second-hand information. It can be survey results from marketing groups, a news report, market trends as reported by any number of business websites, etc.
2. Create Brand Differentiation through Marketing
Once you’ve identified your ideal buyer, how will you attract them? You could talk about saving money or better quality service, but is that really true? Customers have heard those two claims more than any other, and I can tell you, they’re sick of it. What you really need to do is identify your brand’s value, and tie it into your customer’s desires.
Where You Offer Value
In the above example, we cited two primary elements of value – reduces cost and avoids a hassle. Here’s the thing – there are over 30 different elements of value that you can tap into. Bain & Company Inc. produced a pyramid that lays out the 30 elements in four distinct categories of B2C marketing.
You can’t tap into them all, so which ones will you choose?
Tying Value to Consumer Goals
The answer to this should be obvious by now – tie your values into the ones shared by your customers. If your customers place value on reducing risk, reducing effort, high quality, and being rewarded for shopping for a business, then you need to communicate to them that your service is safe, easy to use, of the highest quality on the market, and give them incentives to keep coming back.
3. Make Your Website Your #1 Marketing Tool
If you’re still spending the bulk of your advertising budget on print advertising, I can tell you, you’re behind in the times. Yet this is exactly what many businesses continue to do.
What You Lose without a Website
According to a report by Smart Company, 50% of small businesses do not maintain their own website. They also cited the 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report which revealed that 62% of users will cease to look for a small business if they can’t find a website. Think about that. You’re losing more than half your prospective customers if you don’t have a website.
A Small Investment for a Large-Payoff
With trends back by data like that, the only question you need to ask yourself if how much money you like to lose. If you haven’t registered your own domain yet and made it your #1 resource for attracting customers, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Get yourself online now, produce content geared toward your ideal buyer, and be prepared to engage them in the digital domain.
4. Stop Wasting Time on Data Points that Don’t Matter
Data is essential determining an effective marketing strategy, but which data points? Is it how many people opened an email you sent out? How about how many people responded to a survey you’re hosting? The number of people who visit your website? I can tell you now, the most important data you need to concern yourself with is this – how many more people are buying from you?
Common Marketing Data Points
Forbes shared a list of 10 online marketing metrics they recommend you measure:
- Total Visits
- New Sessions
- Channel-Specific Traffic
- Bounce Rate
- Total Conversions
- Lead to Close Ratio
- Customer Retention Rate
- Customer Value
- Cost Per Lead
- Projected Return on Investment
I agree with metrics 5 through 10. The first four? Not so much.
Why is That?
While the first four metrics have some value, they don’t indicate what your marketing efforts are all about – making money from your customers. You can have 100 new people come to your site and visit for 30 minutes longer each, but if they leave without buying anything, that’s worthless.
What you do need to focus on is how many people are actually buying from you, how many proposed sales actually get closed, how many customers come back, how much each customer spends, how much you pay per lead, and how much it’s all going to cost you total.
A good ratio to set for your company is 1:5 – every $1 spent should yield $5 in revenue. If you’re not matching that, skip the bounce rates and other technical garbage and get back to what matters.