If you run your own company, having a small business marketing strategy is essential. Not only does this help guide your business toward success, but it also provides a foundation from which everything else can spring. If you’re like so many founders, though, figuring out how to structure your marketing strategy can be difficult.
You might not know where to begin, or you may have heard horror stories about people whose business plans didn’t work and mistakes were made. No matter what the case may be, understanding how to structure a successful small business marketing strategy can make all the difference. Here are some tips to get it right the first time.
The 4 Keys to a Bombproof Small Business Marketing Strategy
Before you can learn how to implement your marketing strategy, it’s essential to understand the foundational things that make up a good one. Here are the four keys to building a great business strategy:
1. Define Your Target Audience
Before you can do anything else, you need to understand your target audience. Think about it this way: there are millions of people using the web to search for companies and services daily. If you tried to speak to all these millions of individuals at once, you’d totally waste your marketing budget. Not only that, but you’d also be disappointed with your results.
Defining your target audience flies in the face of trying to be everything to everyone. Instead of shooting for mass appeal, you’re working to attract only the customers who are best suited for your business. Instead of trying to speak to too many people who aren’t your ideal customer or client, hone in your voice so it appeals to the people who are most likely to buy from you.
To define your target audience, you’ll need to do some research. Find out whether your audience tends to be male or female. Where do they live? How much money do they make annually? What are their biggest pain points? The more specific you can get with the answers to these questions, the better.
2. Categorize Your Business
Next, it’s time to classify your business. While you already know what you do, now is the time to get granular with it. What makes your company unique? What do people get from you that they don’t get working with your competition? What sets you apart?
When you categorize your company according to these questions, you make it easier for customers to find you. You also make it simpler to target your marketing strategy down the road.
3. Identify Your Competitors
While some founders prefer to spend as little time as possible thinking about their competitors, it’s essential for developing a comprehensive small business marketing strategy. To be successful on the web, you need to fill the niches your competitors aren’t (and probably some they are – just do it better).
This may mean offering services they don’t provide, speaking to customers in a different tone, answering questions an unserved audience segment has, or developing products to solve specific pain points. The more familiar you are with your competition, the easier all of these things will be.
4. Pinpoint Your Differentiating Factors
This goes hand in hand with identifying your competition. It involves answering the question, “How are you unique from your competition?” When answering this question, avoid the temptation to say something surface level, like “Because we’re better,” or “We work harder.”
These answers don’t provide the unique value proposition customers are looking for, and they won’t do much for your marketing strategy. Instead, get granular with it. A good example might be “Our competitors don’t focus their services. We provide X services, and only X services, which allows us to invest all our time, expertise, and resources into helping our customers.”
5 Strategies for Implementing Your Business Strategy
Once you’ve laid the foundation for your marketing plan, it’s time to bring it to life. Here are five smart strategies to help.
1. Social Media Advertising
Once you’ve put all that time and energy into locating your target audience, you want to keep interacting with them. Social media advertising is a great way to do this. Because social media ads allow you to target specific audience segments according to sex, location, interests, and even company affiliations, they can be a fantastic source for high-ROI marketing.
What’s more, creating social advertisements is easy, and requires only minimal investment to get started.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s one of the most important tactics for anyone looking to market their small business. Because Google uses upwards of 200 algorithms to rank and locate websites, SEO is one of the furthest-reaching methods for securing prominent rankings and enjoying more visibility. Based on a handful of approaches, including optimizing headers, meta tags, and descriptions for keyword phrases, SEO is an organic, simple way to give your content a boost and ensure it appears for the audience segment you want it to appear for.
For best results, optimize your blog and website content, social media material, ebooks, and white papers for SEO, as all these things will be discoverable in search results.
If you’re new to SEO or aren’t sure you want to contend with the ins and outs on your own, hire a reputable SEO firm to help you.
3. Google My Business (“Near Me” Searches)
Google My Business is a powerful tool for helping ensure your company gets noticed on the web. Beyond that, though, it’s essential for local SEO, which is quickly becoming an indispensable form of marketing. If you’re running a company designed to serve a local community, you’ll want to target “near me” searches.
Google reports that these searches have doubled in recent years. As such, optimizing your Google My Business presence for “near me” searches can go a long way to bring you more conversions and leads. Keep in mind that Google My Business is free and that you don’t even need a website to get started.
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to market your business, this option offers some attractive perks for local companies.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most popular forms of small business marketing today. There are billions of email accounts in the world, so earning a place in your customers’ inboxes is a smart move. As if that weren’t enough, email marketing also has a staggering ROI of 4,400%.
By allowing a simple, affordable, easily measurable way to connect with your customers, email marketing blows most other marketing methods out of the water. What’s more, it’s easy to set up and easy to segment, which makes it ideal for companies targeting various audience groups.
(Related: Email Marketing Trends)
5. Content Marketing
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “content is king,” content marketing is probably familiar territory. Viewed as “the ultimate form of marketing” for today’s world, great content marketing allows you to bypass ad blockers, build authentic relationships with customers, and gain access to a wider audience base.
To ensure your content marketing efforts aren’t going to waste, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the variety of your content. Instead of getting stuck in a rut of only creating blogs, branch out to infographics, images, videos, and how-to articles. Ensure everything is quality, so people keep coming back.
Smarter Marketing Starts Here
Finding smart ways to implement your small business marketing plan can be tough, but this five-fold approach can help. By allowing you to access your customers in a variety of ways, and securing a versatile platform for your small business marketing plans, these five methods add up to one intelligent marketing strategy.
Need professional help with marketing your small business? Contact Thrive Internet Marketing today!