When it comes to marketing your small business, it comes down to all the communication associated with your business. The principles are very similar to any personal communication and you will be judged on your appearance and actions. To create a successful marketing strategy, the key is to start with the end goal and work backwards, hand in hand with your business goals. Here are a few steps to consider when planning your strategy:
Reflect on your past activities
Work with what you know. Look at how your potential customers search for your business and how they communicate. Google Analytics is a good starting point to understand their interests and behaviours. Depending on the data available, look at return on investment on your previous marketing efforts including your overall cost per opportunity and per each lead generated. Marketing can be expensive, so it’s important to know what you are getting for your money.
Segment your target audience
One message doesn’t fit all, so be clear on who you are communicating with. Define the key demographic criteria and the interests of your target audience. Analyse their key pain points, look at what motivates them and how do they communicate. These factors will impact the messaging you use and the way you distribute the message. Equally important is the stage of their buying journey as it impacts the level of education required about your products and services. Defining your key buyer personas and their standard behaviours will enable you to create targeted communication strategies that deliver results.
Define your unique value proposition
In order to be understood by your potential clients, it’s essential to be clear on your value proposition and how your business affects the prospective client. It’s not just about the features of your products and services, but the impact on the buyer and the difference between your business and your competitors. This is what makes you stand out and proves to your potential clients that they should stop looking any further. Be clear, easy to understand and link your value proposition to their key issues and interests. Keep it simple. You only have their attention for a limited period of time, so make the most out of it.
Create a go-to-market strategy
The traditional go to market strategy looks at the link between product and customers, product features, price and promotion techniques, but if you are looking to really stand out, also ask yourself what results can you show and what stories can you tell. Trust sells. If you can demonstrate that you have a proven track record of delivering results, this will add credibility and build trust with potential clients. Your target audience will form their views based on the previous success of your business and its reputation.
Speak a common language
Common language starts a conversation. By understanding the issues, terminology and tone your potential clients use you will be able to connect and form relationships. Make it easy for your audience to understand your message and use clear calls to action. There is no universal call to action and you will need to think about specific communications and adjust accordingly. Businesses often forget to communicate the “so what” element, so it’s important you not only distribute the message, but also clearly communicate how it impacts the recipient.