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As a small business, you probably don’t have a lot of time for anything that’s not part of your core products and services. Unfortunately, that can mean that marketing gets pushed to the side.
Many small companies treat marketing as a series of random activities, hoping that each one will have a positive impact and bring in new customers. The truth is that “random acts of marketing” don’t work — you need a clear plan that treats marketing as a cohesive strategy if you want effective results.
Here’s how you move away from random acts of marketing toward a clear marketing plan.
“We want to grow” and “We want more customers” is where most business owners are when it comes to marketing goals. However, those aren’t specific enough. It’s vital to set SMART goals , which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
For example, “We want to create 30 new leads in the next four weeks” meets the standard. Or, “We want to reach a Page 1 ranking with Google for at least 50% of our service pages within six months.”
Because you’re creating an overall marketing strategy, you can have more than one goal that you’re trying to achieve. However, they should all fit the SMART model.
Next, it’s time to get very clear on who your ideal customers are. A lawn care service might say, “Anyone with a lawn,” but that’s not specific enough to allow for the kind of targeted, personalized marketing that people expect today. A better target market might be “Homeowners in Scarborough who are between the ages of 30 and 60, work full-time, and struggle to find time to care for their yard.”
Think about who benefits most from your product or service, and also pay attention to which customers you currently serve are the most profitable and consistent. Find what these ideal customers have in common, and focus on bringing in more of those types of people.
A business that tries to appeal to everyone will appeal to no one, so be sure to choose a niche that makes sense. It’s often true that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers — focus on that most profitable segment when you’re trying to attract new buyers.
Finally, you need to know what sets your business apart from your competitors. Each business needs a unique selling proposition (USP) that answers the question, “Why should I buy from you instead of your competitors?”
Defining why you stand out creates the core of your marketing message. Then you need to link that USP to your customers’ biggest pain points and needs in a specific, personalized way. That message can then be amplified through a variety of platforms.
But you can’t create that message without knowing your business!
When marketing is strategy rather than a series of random acts, you need to do a lot of research upfront. However, once you’ve created your marketing message and set your goals, it’s time to take action.
Of course, because this is a strategy, you need to create a plan before you execute. So think about what platforms your ideal customers spend the most time on. Focus on only one to three of them, and then use that to share your marketing message.
For example, you might focus on your website, Facebook, and YouTube. That means you would create written content, ads, and videos about why your business can solve your ideal customers’ most pressing needs.
You can also use this content to educate customers and give tips on what they can do themselves and when they should call a pro. Marketing isn’t just about sales, it also includes nurturing a strong relationship with your audience and establishing yourself as a trusted authority. That way when they need your product or service, you will be the first company they think to call.
It can be challenging for smaller businesses to stay focused on long-term strategies because they are trying to do so much with fewer resources. However, marketing is your most important activity, and it’s essential to be consistent with an effective marketing plan.
Once you’ve defined your goals, execute your strategy until you reach them. Then set new SMART goals. Pay attention to which platforms are the most effective when it comes to connecting with your target audience, and don’t waste your time or money on platforms that aren’t worthwhile.
When you consistently share a compelling marketing message with your ideal audience, your company can’t help but grow.
Does your business have a marketing strategy, or are you stuck in “random acts of marketing”? If you’re tired of not getting results, it’s time to start a consistent marketing program.
If you need help, we’re here for you. At Local SEO Search, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses get on track with a clear digital marketing strategy and grow their business consistently. Contact us for more information today!