Small business owners often struggle to find the best marketing strategy that fits their budget. Here is a look at some of the greatest tips for getting the most bang from your marketing budgeting.
Whether you’re a B2B, B2C or expert firm, you’ll walk away with enough secrets to successful marketing to add new leads and find loyal customers.
How Do You Successfully Market a Small Business?
Small and medium enterprises in the United States spend marketing dollars directly based on a business owner’s decisions. Smaller businesses might find it wiser to focus on local clients first. According to Statista, companies spend around $173.3 million per year on local advertising. They split the rest between TV, radio, digital and events.
Successful marketing strategy execution often starts with an overarching goal. Small business owners find a top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) strategy works well to build brand awareness and develop a loyal customer base. Over time, you’ll gain referrals from your current clients.
What are some of the top secrets to successful marketing campaigns? Here are our top suggestions for small business owners.
1. Learn From Your Customers
Get to know your audience and what their needs are. The better you understand your buyers, the easier it will be to meet their needs. You can survey them, pay attention to buying trends and ask what you can do to improve their experience.
With your TOMA marketing strategy, you’ll want to take actions such as:
Call those who buy from you repeatedly and ask why they chose your brand in the first place.
Inquire about how you can help them refer more friends and family. For example, can you offer any materials that would be of help? Reward them when they do refer new customers.
Survey your customers after a successful campaign. Find out why they chose to buy and if they have other needs. When you understand their pain points, developing the relationship you need to keep your brand at the top of their thoughts becomes much easier.
Pay close attention to any negative comments or complaints. How can you fix the issue for that customer and prevent it on future orders?
2. Use New Technology to Manage Clients
You don’t have to track every little detail of your clients’ needs. Instead, invest in technology that handles customer relationship management. Regular emails from you can keep you at the forefront of their thoughts.
Send a birthday greeting to let them know you enjoy their business.
Offer discounts when sales slow down to clear out old merchandise and make way for new.
The happier your clients are, the more you can use their reviews and testimonials in your marketing campaigns.
3. Promote Yourself
Put yourself in the shoes of the average person visiting your site for the first time. If you’re a newer business, they’ve likely not heard of you and don’t know if they should buy. However, they’ll feel more comfortable trying out your product if you stand behind your work.
People often have to hear of you several times before remembering the brand name and messaging. How can you promote yourself consistently and frequently for your TOMA approach?
Create a social media persona matching your brand personality.
Post frequently and predictably at the same time of day and on the same weekdays.
Enlist the help of others to get your name out there. Ask customers to share your social media posts or forward your newsletter.
Pay for ads to get in front of the same people repeatedly.
Feature glowing feedback from customers and highlight how much you believe in what you offer. Do you feel your product or service is the best in the industry? Thinking about your unique value proposition and using it in your marketing can help gain new clients’ trust.
4. Send Welcome Emails
You likely already know email marketing can be highly effective at attracting and keeping customers. However, did you know that welcome emails have a 91.43% open rate and offer an opportunity to highlight your brand personality?
How can you enhance your brand awareness via emails?
Stick with brand guidelines, using your logo and brand color palette for instant recognition.
Make calls to action (CTAs) look the same as the ones on your website so people know to look for a particular pop of color.
Create great subject lines that tell users exactly what they’ll get when they open the email.
You can also track how well an email performs by seeing how many opens you get and who clicks through to your offer.
5. Use SMS
Short message service (SMS) is an excellent way to add personal touches to messages you send. You might use it for customer service issues and to problem solve. There are also many ways to connect with your clients through small positive messages.
Circulate an offer, discount code or just share news.
Add links to orders or short surveys.
Send a happy thought just to let customers know you are thinking of them and care about more than just making a sale.
Thank them for an order or update them on the status of one.
Many businesses have found great success with this marketing strategy. 98% of people will open your message, which is why thousands have used texting to drive customer retention.
6. Set Clear Employee Expectations
As your company’s leader, you must train your employees in the customer service model you want to exude. Make sure everyone understands your expectations and their role in the buyer’s journey.
Write out what your company policies and philosophies are.
Encourage employees to tell others why it’s a great place to work.
Feature your top staff members. Put a face to the workers for better brand awareness.
At the same time, you don’t want to create an atmosphere where people say, “That’s not in my job description.” Set the example by jumping in and helping when someone feels overwhelmed or has a tight deadline. If your employees see you taking the lead and helping others, they’ll be more likely to embrace the same spirit with their work.
7. Watch Trends
Pay attention to what kids are into and how other businesses in your industry market to their customer bases.
When apps like TikTok first arrived on the scene, mainly preteens used it to repeat dances and popular songs. Today, companies worldwide use them to reach new customers via fun marketing videos.
Stay on top of what your competitors are doing.
Study their social media presence. What kinds of posts do they schedule? How often do they post? Do they use paid ads?
Why do people know their name? Do they do a lot of radio interviews? Perhaps they sponsor local groups and have a strong presence in your community.
Study their name versus yours. Is their business moniker more memorable or more applicable to the industry?
Take a step back and rethink your brand image. Don’t be afraid to rebrand if necessary or to tweak colors and messaging until you hit what keeps your brand at the forefront.
Why Should You Change Up Your Marketing?
Embracing new trends and paying attention to what works for the competition are the secrets to successful marketing. You may not have time to woo people one-on-one, but you can automate relationship management and invest in social media marketing.
If you fail to step up and try new things, you risk growing stale and your customers getting bored with your brand. You only have time and effort to spend. If something doesn’t work, replace it with a new idea.
If you choose to focus on a top-of-mind awareness strategy as outlined above, run everything through the filter of how it will impact brand recognition and keep your audience engaged.
Which one of these list items would you like to implement today to find your successful marketing strategy?
Eleanor Hecks is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design and/or tea on LinkedIn!
Whether you’re a chiropractor, own a SaaS company, or run a law firm, B2B and B2C companies vary widely in their business models. Yet, the things they have in common are the desire to generate leads and drive business growth.
Though achieving these goals through marketing can be time-consuming, this article will present the top growth methods for successful marketing execution. Here you will learn how to accomplish three ways to help you become a better marketer:
Create multifaceted content
Build customer relationships
Adapt to new tools
Plus, you’ll know how to implement each method by utilizing the top tactics below. Here are the top three approaches you should consider implementing today.
Creating Multifaceted Content
Content marketing isn’t just for B2C brands. B2B companies are also making a significant jump in this marketing realm by creating a strategic content marketing strategy.
Yet, when it comes to helping entrepreneurs become better marketers, they must focus on creating content for more than one channel. This approach uses well-rounded subject matter to attract new leads and convert prospects by focusing on audience pain points in different areas of the internet.
Here are a few tips to help you implement a multifaceted content strategy.
1. Create Buyer Personas
When developing different content, understanding who the content is reaching is important. You should have a clearly defined audience, known as a buyer persona.
A buyer persona gives you a picture of an ideal customer. The details of a buyer persona include demographics such as age, income, location, etc. In addition, you should describe the buyer’s personality, interests, goals, wants, and needs.
2. Align Content to the Sales Funnel
Once you create your buyer personas, you can add an extra layer to your content marketing strategy by mapping the buyer’s journey. In essence, it helps to create “evergreen” content that addresses customer issues at each stage of the sales funnel.
A sales funnel’s purpose is to nurture the prospects at each stage, helping them move closer to sales. The process works like this:
Awareness: This is the top of the funnel where prospects are looking for information to help them articulate their problem. Content at this stage should focus on the buyer’s pain points rather than the product or service. Examples include informative blogs, ebooks, guides, infographics, etc.
Consideration: The buyer at this stage understands their problem and is now ready to find solutions. Consider creating content focusing on specific solutions to solve the buyer’s problem. Examples include webinars, product features, and comparison blogs.
Decision: The buyer is ready to compile a list of solutions. You can create brand-specific content at this point, focusing on the benefits of your company’s offerings. Examples include case studies, reviews, and demos.
3. Measure Return on Investment
Once you start creating content to maximize traffic and convert leads, you must understand the results of your content marketing campaigns by analyzing data. Based on your goals and timelines, consider using metrics to measure your results, including:
Total leads such as email subscribers, purchases, and free-trial sign-ups.
Total impressions from Google Analytics.
Traffic from the content you publish.
Changes in bounce rates.
Once you analyze your results, you can use this information to maximize future content marketing strategies for success.
Establish Customer Relationships
One method of helping entrepreneurs become better marketers is forming organic relationships with customers. Customers are savvier than ever and don’t want you to bombard them with sales pitches or advertisements.
Instead, they prefer to get to know you first. That way, you understand them better and can create products that cater to their needs. One way you can start building customer relationships is through social media.
You can use social media to post customer reviews or user-generated content to attract new buyers and increase your customer base. Engaging prospects and providing valuable content your customers find share-worthy across various platforms is also useful. Additionally, you can gain regular feedback and distribute content that fosters engagement and drives website traffic.
Here are some tips to help you get started on social media and form relationships.
1. Choose the Right Platforms
Not all social networking sites were created equal. That’s why it’s important to consider which platforms you’ll use for your business carefully. The best way to decide is to look at your target audience’s demographics and determine where they spend their time on social media.
B2B businesses mostly rely on LinkedIn or Facebook to reach their target audience. For example, a broker might be interested in connecting with users to gain qualified leads for buyers interested in purchasing a home. Meanwhile, B2C companies might use Instagram or TikTok to engage users since their target audiences are mainly on these platforms.
2. Think Creatively
Avoid being afraid to create fun content. Social media is a place to develop personal connections. So whether you’re a B2B or B2B brand, it’s important to show the human who’s behind the other side of that screen.
Consider putting yourself in your audience’s shoes and what they might find interesting. How can you mix intriguing and easy information for your audience to consume?
Making an additional effort like this can help you connect with your audience and stand out from the competition.
Adapt to New Tools
Marketing is constantly evolving. There will always be new trends and directions to explore. While it’s not necessary to master all things at once, you can still become a specialist in an area or possess multiple technologies.
One example is discovering how to make video content for marketing.
Video content is one of the most powerful tools for marketing today. Hubspot Blog Research found that 88% of B2B and B2C brands have an entire team dedicated to creating video content.
Yet, why is video such a staple of marketing? It helps raise brand awareness, increase revenue and advertise products.
If you’re considering going in a new direction with video, here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Focus on Stories Instead of Sales
If you want more people to watch your videos, create value for them instead of focusing on your brand. The best video content shares stories that connect with the viewer’s emotions.
For example, suppose you’re a doctor specializing in sports medicine. In that case, you could tell a story about how your business changes clients’ lives. Essentially, you can develop a story about how you’re making a difference in your community.
2. Be Strategic in the First Few Seconds
Attention spans are short these days. Therefore, a successful video provides clarity and gives viewers confidence that what they’re watching is worth their time.
Consider grabbing attention with a hook, such as a quick preview of what’s coming in the video. You can also attract more viewers by creating a high-quality thumbnail. The best thumbnails are clear and begin to tell viewers what they’ll gain from watching your content.
3. Create a Call to Action
Always include a call to action that aligns with your marketing goals. Do you want them to visit your website or share the video on social media?
You can easily instruct your viewers to take action by asking them in the video through someone speaking or using text.
Either way, adding a call to action is easy and can create results you wouldn’t have without one.
Use These Top Methods to Become a Better Marketer
You can ultimately reach your business goals using these methods to become a better marketer. Without these strategies, you won’t be able to collectively produce results such as obtaining leads, increasing revenue, and scaling your business growth.
The marketing space is crowded. Therefore, these tactics will allow you to distinguish yourself from those with similar offerings.
What other methods can you share that have helped you to become a better marketer?
Eleanor Hecks is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine.
She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and
user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and
Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design, and/or tea on LinkedIn!
*This article was originally published in Fortune magazine Written by Elaine Pofeldt Published on October 31, 2013 @ 10:50 AM EDT
Not all small-business owners intend to stay small forever, but few take the time to map out a strategy for their growth. A recent survey by the National Small Business Association found that most don’t have a new ad or marketing campaign in the works, and one in five has absolutely no growth strategy in place for the coming year.
Instead, many entrepreneurs move toward new opportunities like a plant seeking sunshine, going where the light is most easily found. Some never slow down to consider whether those jobs are profitable, rewarding, or ultimately efficient uses of their time.
The key is not always to think big at the start — it’s to focus. With these tips, you’ll learn how to hone your strategy, cultivate the growth you want, and pay for your build-out safely and wisely.
FOCUS YOUR GROWTH STRATEGY
Even if it means turning away business.
To create a business capable of blossoming for years, you’ll have to prune it from time to time. Working with customers or offering products that can’t achieve healthy profit margins can sap time and stifle growth, says Nat Wasserstein, managing director of Lindenwood Associates, which helps turn around small and midsize businesses. So thin out ventures and customers that bleed your energy.
1. Figure out which services are worth it. Giving clients what they want is important, but it should never be your only criterion for the products or services that you provide.
When architect Bruce Wentworth considered expanding his 12-person company — Wentworth Inc. in Chevy Chase, Md. — he thought about what his firm excelled at: combining transitional-style interior design, which blends modern and traditional finishes, with detail-oriented construction. And he discovered there isn’t enough profit in projects below $50,000. “By the time we get involved in design, construction drawings, pricing, and permits, it’s not the most efficient use of time,” he says. The firm’s sweet spot is in the mid- to high-end market — kitchen remodeling, for instance, ranging from $70,000 to more than $300,000.
2. Rank your customers by their “value.” Pay attention to the quality of your clients: Are they high or low profit? Are they high or low maintenance? “You want to retain those customers who represent your highest profit margin,” says Yoon Cannon, founder of Paramount Business Coach, a small-business consulting firm in Pennsylvania. Even better: Find ways to cultivate more business from those clients.
Start by calculating the “value” of each customer, according to what they bring in annual profits, revenue, and effort. Then rank them, and focus like a laser on the top 20%.
3. Prioritize potential clients too. In 2008, Harry and Barb Haagen, who run a house-painting company with six employees, began to worry when sales dipped by more than 10% in the economic downturn.
The couple, from Doylestown, Pa., came up with a counterintuitive fix: They looked for ways that they could winnow the business even more. Harry recognized his strength was in craftsmanship, not low-cost jobs. So Barb, who handles the phones, began screening callers. To those interested only in price, she explained the added value Harry provides. If that didn’t hook them, she moved on, freeing up time to focus on customers willing to pay for premium services. The strategy has paid off: Sales are up 15% this year.
ATTRACT THE GROWTH YOU SEEK
Use the follwoing growth strategy to target clients.
Digital marketing can be a cost-effective way to stand out. Yet a recent survey found that few small-business owners think that using social media (11%) or search engine optimization (6%) is that useful. Don’t let such opportunities go to waste.
Follow the growth strategy checklist checklist:
Choose the right platform. Everyone uses Google AdWords to advertise online, but that can be pricey. The average cost per click in the business category was recently $1.98, according to a study by Adgooroo. For a cheaper alternative (91¢), try the Yahoo Bing Network.
It’s no bit player. Yahoo Bing accounts for nearly a third of all online search in the U.S. And while Google generally delivers more ad impressions, Adgooroo found that the lead is not that great in four of six major categories: business, computers, education, and travel. In finance Yahoo Bing actually leads. Yet costs per click were 23% to 63% cheaper. For B2B firms, LinkedIn is another cost-effective ad platform.
Select the right words. Seeking to grab customers using search engines to find businesses like yours? Incorporate growth strategically throughout your site words customers are apt to look up, says Heather Lutze, CEO of Findability Consulting & Speaking in Denver.
One way Jeb Brooks, CEO of the Brooks Group, a sales training firm in Greensboro, N.C., identifies those words is simple: He asks clients when he meets them. One recent post on his blog was called “The Value of Public Sales Training: Getting Coaching and Ideas From Outside Your Industry.”
Pick the right crowd. Social media is all about finding the right fit. Offer visually oriented services or products? Then Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are good places to hang out, says Evan Bailyn, author of Outsmarting Social Media. Interested in B2B? Then use LinkedIn and SlideShare.net, which let you introduce yourself to clients through posted research and presentations.
Stand out visually. Use some of your Facebook budget to create videos, says Ben Landers, CEO of digital-marketing firm Blue Corona. Research by the social media firm Zuum found that videos were shared 11% of the time, vs. less than 3% for status updates and under 7% for photos.
Track your results. More than half of all small-business owners fail to measure the results of their marketing efforts. So they don’t see what’s working and what’s not.
Yet for just $200, Landers notes, you can hire a developer to customize the free Google Analytics program for you to identify the precise channel through which each visitor came to your website.
FINANCE YOUR GROWTH WISELY
Be relentless when it comes to preserving your cash.
If you grow faster than planned, even a momentary cash crunch can have a lasting effect. “Not stocking enough cash is probably why the majority of firms go out of business,” says Bill Klein, president of Consero Global, a financial consulting and outsourcing firm that works with small and midsize companies.
To avoid a cash crunch, take a page from SpareFoot, an online search firm based in Austin that is trying to become the Hotels.com for self-storage space.
1. Monitor your cash flow maniacally. Part of making your firm attractive to a lender down the road is ensuring that there aren’t wide gaps between money flowing in and out. At SpareFoot, owners check their cash flow statement every day.
Then they do something rather unusual: They let all of the company’s 88 employees look at those financial reports too, says CFO Lucas Walters. That way, when it comes to spending decisions, “everyone on the team is rowing in the same direction” — and focused on savings, he says.
John Egan, editor-in-chief of SpareFoot’s website, agrees. “Because we know the financial situation and feel like we have a stake in it, we are careful with how we spend our money,” he explains. “If I have to book a plane ticket, I’ll look for the best deal. Why wouldn’t I?”
2. Keep staffing costs as low as possible. Since labor is one of your biggest expenses, maintaining tight cost controls over your payroll will go a long way toward protecting your cash. Sure, you can always hire full-time staffers now and lay them off down the road should business slow. But that approach can get expensive, says Jaime Klein, president of Inspire Human Resources.
SpareFoot’s owners avoided this by relying when they could on temporary workers and by outsourcing early on. When the company did need to add permanent employees, it tried them out for 90 days — without benefits — before committing.
Today, as SpareFoot plans to increase its workforce to 96 by year-end, “we still evaluate every position to determine what solution makes sense, including outsourcing,” says Walters, who himself started out as an outsourced CFO for the firm before joining permanently later on.
3. Line up financing before you expand. The time to position yourself for a low-interest bank loan isn’t when you’re running out of money and struggling, says Klein of Consero Global. Obtaining credit is a lot like landing new customers. You have to invest time and effort to build a real relationship with potential lenders — and you have to cast a wide net.
SpareFoot’s owners did just that. They kept deposits in several local banks for years knowing that they’d eventually need financing for expansion. That day came in 2012, when the firm required a seven-figure loan to pay for two acquisitions (one of which it did not complete). By maintaining relationships with lenders for years, says Walters, “we got the loan on more favorable terms than we could have otherwise.”
Running your own business is hard. Running your business all alone is even harder. 😩
There’s so much advice out there it’s hard to know what to do and what to focus on first. You’re worried about following the wrong advice, or just as bad …. The right advice at the wrong time.
You can commit to working harder …. But, what if you’re working hard on the wrong things? You’ll easily waste months and even years spinning your wheels. 😭
Your friends and family don’t know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. They don’t understand the challenges you face running your own business or how to solve the problems that keep you up at night.
Right now, you have no one to talk to who can give you meaningful support and actionable advice.
📍You need to FIND YOUR PEOPLE.
Take the first step … right here … right now.
✅ WHAT IS ONE DECISION YOU NEED TO MAKE IN YOUR BUSINESS RIGHT NOW?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. By sharing a decision you’ve been delaying to make or a challenge that’s got you stuck … not only could you receive some 💡great ideas 💡 to help you … you’re also helping so many others who are facing the same challenge in their business.