Are you daunted by small business marketing? Are you slaving without the desired results? Are you struggling to understand why?
You are flabbergasted why people can’t see the value in your products and services.
You are disheartened by the unexplained failures from all the small business marketing tips you have diligently followed.
You are devastated by the costs in some of the paid advertising channels to promote your small business.
You are perplexed by the difficulty to attract and retain loyal customers.
You crave affordable and effective small business marketing strategies to grow your enterprise. You desire to give your marketing more punch — — that extra little “oomph” that makes your clients turn their heads towards you with their credit cards.
You desire a proven list of marketing ideas, where each tested idea is handpicked to arouse your clients to action.
This definitive guide will illuminate your effective path to small business marketing.
Small Business Marketing Plan: 5 Crucial Steps You Will Regret Not Doing
You have repeatedly asked yourself: What is the best marketing strategy for a small business?
Great strategies start with a fool-proof plan to generate results. The most common mistakes small businesses make is the failure to plan.
Here are the 5 indispensable steps small business marketing must include.
(1) Conduct Market Research
Small business marketing is like taking a long journey for the first time. Getting lost without a GPS or an updated map can be frustrating at best, and disastrous if you end up in the wrong places.
You can avoid getting lost and making wrong turns: plan out the route and having the right tools to guide you each step of the way.
Market research will give you the information about your clients’ personas and how viable your products or services will be within your target market. It will identify opportunities to grow your business and the key things that will delight your customers.
A quick and effective method is to google the business you are in, eg. “Getting rid of forehead wrinkles” if you are selling such products. Google will reveal your key competitors and sometimes even suggest related businesses you can consider in their “Related Searches” section, as illustrated below.
(2) Target Profiling
Target profiling means identifying a specific segment of a market you want to offer your services or products to.
Here are 5 easy steps using our S.T.A.R.T. system:
Break up and analyze your market by broad factors such as demographics, lifestyle, geographic and behavioral approaches. Understand your market better through a quick segmentation exercise, eg. the market for “squatting exercises” can be segmented in male/female, above 40/below 40, America/Asia/International, nerd/health enthusiasts, etc.
Brainstorm possible segments and pick specific markets to focus on. Criteria are often profitability, growth potential, and ease of market entry. If you are selling cars, segments can include groups who: (a) just want to get from point A to point B, (b) have family needs, ©want to make a wealth statement (d) are environmentally-conscious (e) are off-roaders.
© Action Planning
Draw up an initial plan of
- which segments to target in
- what priorities to set
- what products or services to offer to each segment.
Iterate the above process and refine your target profiling. Knowing who you want to sell you, what you can sell, and how to compete against your competition is empowerment.
Extract the optimal ROI by tracking the performance of the different segments and laser-pointing your resources.
(3) Identify Your UPS (Unique Selling Proposition)
You seize your customers’ attention by standing out from the crowd.
You want to convince your target customers that you are the go-to person for their needs.
You need a Unique Selling Proposition or USP for short.
If you are selling cookbooks, your USP can be “Quick and Cheap” or a longer mantra such as “Prep a meal in 20 minutes with ingredients under $20”.
(4) Set Realistic Small Business Marketing Budget
Successful small business marketing may mean different things to different people, eg. building a brand, increasing awareness, or building up a potential customer base. Decide on your goals and how much you are willing to spend. Your goals and budget will steer your direction towards success.
(5) Identify Guiding Metrics
A driver relies on the various gauges to know how fast he is traveling and when he needs to refuel. Similarly, you need to have the right metrics to guide you towards your goals and know whether you are within your budget.
Useful metrics need not be fanciful. The number of customers who have sign-up for a loyalty program or the average cost of acquiring each new sign-up can be meaningful metrics.
Guiding metrics evolve with the growth of your company. Important criteria include the usefulness and timeliness of the metrics to guide you in the growth of the business.
Local Small Business Marketing: 5 No B.S. Money Makeover Strategies
The marketing potential offered by the internet cannot be ignored. Before diving into online marketing in the next section, let’s hunker down on local marketing ideas first. They can turbocharge the growth of your business.
The essential strategies for sustainable success include the following:
(6) Develop Your Business Brand
Branding gives personality to your business. Branding lets your customers identify your value proposition to them. Branding includes these dependable tips:
(a) Create an eye-catching and appealing logo
(b) Create Vision and Mission Statements with Customers’ benefits as part of the core message
© Create a meaningful Tagline that is easy to remember
(d) Be consistent in your message
(e) Be sincere and true to your brand
(7) Start With Offline Marketing
Offline marketing is often easier and cheaper to start compared to online marketing. With limited time and a tight budget, such offline efforts are a good way to hit the road running.
Reliable offline undertakings include:
(a) Business cards: must-have standard calling card
(b) Events: deliver a meaningful speech in-line with your branding to leave a lasting impression
© Flyers/brochures: great giveaways at tradeshows and exhibitions, with discount vouchers to encourage customers to consider your offers
(d) Print Advertisements: Innovative ads can be effective in catching attention and creating a buzz for your business.
Networking builds up strong relationships with your clients. This is one of the key local marketing ideas to implement on your business journey. Here are some suggestions to enhance the success of your networking:
(a) Prepare an elevator pitch
Prepare a 30 to 40 seconds 3C’s (clear, concise, and convincing) presentation of who you are and how you can delight your customers. Use an engaging story-telling format and polish your positioning with 75 words or less.
(b) Attend conferences and trade shows
Perfect your elevator pitch at conferences and trade shows where the attention span of people is short. Give out your name cards and leave them with a compelling reason to contact you.
© Join the local chamber of commerce
Local chambers of commerce tend to be helpful towards small businesses. They could give useful marketing leads to you, such as companies you can collaborate with or cross-promote.
Cross-promoting with other companies can result in a win-win partnership. Tap on the enlarged marketing network to enhance the benefits to the clients with combined offerings.
(10) How to Get Media Attention (for free!) with HARO
Help Out A Reporter (HARO) by responding to media requests for expert guests. You get exposure in the media for free!
You absolutely must research what interests the journalists and producers from your business for this to work. Produce an irresistibly authoritative pitch that is the current buzz in the media. Get referrals from influencers to insure your chances.
Online Marketing For Small Business: 5 Sure-fire Ways to Suck In The Dough
4.54 billion people or 59% of the world population were active internet users as of January 2020. Statistica
Online marketing which uses the internet as the medium of communication has a huge audience and cannot be ignored. Set aside at least 50% of your marketing budget for online marketing.
Here are some proven online channels that can help you dominate your market:
(11) Websites and Blogs
Most businesses start their online presence with a website or a blog.
A blog is a specific type of website. But blogs are regularly updated with brand-new content, while what people normally refer to as websites are typically static and aren’t updated very frequently. Sometimes blogs are also part of a bigger website.
Start with getting a basic website in place with at least the “Home”, “About us” and “Contact us” webpages up and running. Start with the free tools first if you are inexperienced. Use free YouTube videos to get you started.
Although it might not be expensive to hire a freelancer to design a basic website, understanding the basics of a website through the DIY approach is recommended. It will help you give clarity with your instructions to web-designers later on.
Blogs are great for engaging customers but advanced skills such as online copywriting and SEO are required. There are great websites where you can pick up these skills at your own pace, such as Smart blogger and Copyblogger.
(12) Leveraging On Social Media Marketing For Small Business
Social media is used by about 3 billion people worldwide and it’s a widely-used communication platform for marketing.
Social media refers to websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. … Retailers who use social media as an integral part of their marketing strategy usually see measurable results
Most beginners to social media are overwhelmed with the multiple options available: Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, etc.
The top trade secret to success for social media marketing for small businesses is… Ssshhh!!!
(Start with only one social media platform. Be active daily with great tips and advice. Sow first, reap later.)
(13) Building An Email List
An email list is a collection of email addresses that a business can create by engaging with potential customers through lead-generating campaigns. Email lists can shrink as members opt out of email subscriptions, and grow as the business solicits contact information from website visitors
Email marketing allows you to engage a large pool of potential customers through automation with tools such as an autoresponder. Pre-designed emails are sent at pre-determined frequencies to your target segments. Done well, email marketing will convert your target audience to loyal customers.
(14) Buying Online Ads
Online ads open the floodgates for your prime messages to reach your targeted audience quickly. It is similar to the paid advertisement offline where you pay for the ads to be in the prime spots. Without ads, your message might risk drowning in the tsunami of 3.1 billion daily searches on Google.
(15) Starting content marketing
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
The Insider Tip: Without great content, you’ll need to engage Ethan Hunt to complete the Mission Impossible of attracting and keeping your targeted audience grounded. Regardless of the marketing media, the winning formula is to generate valuable content consistently for your target group. You can learn how to create great content from qualified trainers with a solid track record and testimonials to back it up. Alternatively, you can also engage a qualified content marketer with the right credentials such as recognized certification, track record, and testimonials.
Small Business Marketing Strategies: 5 Extravagant Tips That Will Save You Money
Let’s assume you need to travel from New York to San Francisco. Would you choose to walk, to travel by boat, to drive, to take a train or to book a flight?
Booking a flight may seem to be the most expensive option, but you’ll save on several pairs of worn shoes, tons of extra food, weeks of lodging, on top of missed opportunities, and lost time. Is it worth it overall? Is it cost-effective?
The same principle applies to small business marketing. Choosing the most cost-effective solution saves you money.
Here are the tested secrets unveiled:
(16) Budget To Spend Money (Wisely)
It’s foolhardy to commence a journey without calculating the costs. Similarly, it’s suicide not to set a budget for marketing with the proper metrics for monitoring.
Marketing options to speed up your journey include:
- Online ads such as Google ads, FB ads, etc
Giveaways promote brand awareness and generate business opportunities by ballooning your potential list of customers.
Surefire giveaway ideas include:
- Gift cards
- Everyday items branded with logo and tagline
- Contest with valuable prizes from your range of products/services
(18) Sign-up for Online Marketing Training
Upgrade your marketing skills to upgrade your sales.
Sign-up for online small business marketing courses. Education is an ongoing process and the better your marketing skills, the more likely you will save money doing things right the first time.
Start with the free training courses to get a flavor of what’s out there. Look for good mentors with great testimonials and track record to successfully guide you to success.
(19) Guerilla Marketing
Guerilla marketing uses unconventional tactics to amplify your market presence. Publicity stunts, viral videos, and stencil graffiti are some of the wacky ways you can deploy. They imprint a lasting impression of your brand or product.
(20) Plan A Local Business Workshop
You desire loyalty in customers. Running workshops engages potential customers to understand you, your products, and services. The interaction is priceless for building customer loyalty.
Here are the golden tips to guide you on the right track:
- Profile your ideal audience
- Outline your killer presentation
- Choose a catchy name
- Set a date and venue
- Promote your live workshop
- Give high beneficial value at the workshop
- Get feedback
- Follow-up with delightful solutions for clients
Small Business Marketing Services: 5 Sanity-Saving Resources For Your Power-Up
Here are some of the life-changing, cost-effective ways to manage your marketing activities as you scale up:
(21) Hire a Marketing Consultant
You may need to implement more advanced marketing strategies and tactics as your business expands. If you dazzled at the options, hire a marketing consultant to lead you out of the maze.
The key areas to consider when hiring marketing consultants include:
- Objective: success metrics for the consultant need to be clear
- Areas of expertise required: examples include local marketing strategy, internet marketing strategy, advertisement campaigns, email marketing strategy, branding,
- Certification/memberships: proof of their expertise and experience is important
- Client references: always check client referrals, it will be worth your time
- A formal agreement: clear milestones vs payment to avoid disputes
(22) Hire a PR professional
“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” — Oscar Wilde
You can hire a PR professional to elevate your business outreach. You need their specialist knowledge and expertise to quadruple your brand awareness. Professional public relations build credibility and instill trust in your clients.
(23) Hire a professional copywriter
Small business marketing inevitably involves the written media. Skillful copywriting is crucial for effectiveness. Hire a professional copywriter to craft trust-instilling messages for your customers. Use the following guidelines:
- Create a content brief for the copywriter
- Get referrals from trusted sources
- Review the past work and samples
- Review testimonials from past clients
- Set a budget and negotiate rates
(24) Hire an SEO firm
Warning! Hire an SEO firm only if:
- You know exactly what you need and can craft a clear job description
- You are prioritizing SEO work to drive revenue as the key metrics for the consultant
- You have the resources to monitor and review the SEO work
- You have several marketing channels requiring good SEO, like a blog, Youtube channel or regular online advertisements
- You have the budget for it
(25) Hire Virtual Assistants
Take a piece of paper and write down a list of the following:
- Marketing activities you hate doing
- Marketing activities you can’t do yourself
- Marketing activities you shouldn’t be doing
If you have more than 10 items on the list, hire virtual assistants (VAs).
VAs streamline your work to focus on core activities away from mundane work. They are effective in helping to manage customers globally 24/7. With VAs, you can scale your business without exploding the number of full-time employees.
Important Pre-requisites for Success: Have the right communication and monitoring tools.
Small Business Marketing Tips: 5 Backdoor Secrets To Your Clients’ Hearts
Here are some spellbinding strategies:
(26) Nurture Your Loyal Customers
Accordingly to Forbes, it can cost five times more to attract a new customer, than it does to retain an existing one.
You need to nurture your customers’ loyalty by winning their hearts.
Adopt these key tips to nurture your loyal customers:
- Thank your customers
- Reward customers for being loyal
- Maintain regular communication through social media and email marketing
- Request feedback to understand their goals, desires, fears, and frustrations
- Establish good after-sales support
(27) Ask for referrals
Do you trust someone you know to recommend things to you rather than a total stranger?
Asking for referrals is a powerful way to get new qualified clients quickly for free — — with high conversion rates as they are endorsed by clients’ trusted sources like family and friends.
Here are 7 cost-effective ways to get referrals:
- Offer delightful user experience. Go beyond the market standards in the quality of your service and products. Give customers invaluable experiences to talk about you.
- Compliment and thank them. Warm customers’ hearts with heartfelt compliments. Imprint your sincere smiles in their minds and they will be mentioning you to their friends and family.
- Ask! Make a deal with your new leads: if you delight them with your products and services, they will refer others to you.
- Have a clear tagline. A clear tagline let people know who your target customers are and how you intend to delight them.
- Pay it forward. You reap what you sow. Refer your clients to businesses and partners. They are more likely to return you the favor and help build up your brand presence.
- Reward customers who refer. If you are aware of any tribe member who refers good customers to you, reward them with a discount coupon or a small gift. Feeling appreciated is a powerful emotion that will imprint yourself deeper into your customers’ minds.
- Make friends out of good customers. Engage good customers in small talk and understand them better. Make friends out of them. That takes time and effort and you need to be sincere. When they trust you as a friend, they will refer you to their trusted friends and family.
(28) Give back to your community.
Jesus gave his life to save the apostles at the Garden of Gethsemane. That community of adoring disciples went on to establish Christianity which is estimated to be about one-third of the world’s population in 2015.
The power of giving back to the community cannot be under-estimated.
You’ll know your community well by contributing your time and resources for charitable purposes. You’ll find meaning to living. You’ll be rewarded with the adoring attention of happy and grateful people. You’ll win loyal die-hard customers for the rest of your life.
Use this powerful life-compass to win your customers’ hearts.
5 life-changing steps of giving back to the community:
- Find Your Life’s compass. Build the right foundation for this backdoor strategy to your clients’ hearts. Start by understanding your larger goals in life: Why do you want to win your clients’ hearts? Why do you want to make money?
- Choose the right cause for you. You need to believe and enjoy what you are giving for this strategy to be effective. Choose the right causes which resonate with your inner self.
- Take the first step. Share your skills or volunteer your time. Organize environment clean-ups if you are environmentally conscious. Share your pet with others if you believe in the importance of mental health. Take the first step.
- Change the world. Change yourself. Giving back to your community reminds you of what you’re made for. You’ll experience the benefits. You’ll become more productive. You’ll be good at problem-solving. You’ll find perseverance in the face of adversity. Life gives back what it receives. We become part of something bigger than ourselves when we give back.
- Embrace the new you. Successful marketers share generously. They become great influencers from the adoring customers they have helped. You receive love by giving love. You receive trust by sacrificing your time and resources. You win the hearts of your customers by giving your hearts to them.
(29) Become a Mentor
You want die-hard followers who’ll be customers for life: Be a Mentor.
5 Key Benefits of Being a Mentor For Small Business Owners:
- You’ll gain your customers’ respect as an expert and a leader
- You’ll develop new ideas and gain fresh perspectives and approaches to delight your customers
- You’ll gain great testimonials from your grateful mentees who will invariably become your loyal customers
- You’ll develop personal leadership and increased confidence in managing your customers
- You’ll have mentees as life-time ambassadors of your business
(30) Publish a Book
“The vast majority of the authors we surveyed — 96% — said they did realize a significant positive impact on their businesses from writing a book and would recommend the practice.” Mike Schultz, Marketing Consultant
3 Life-Altering Benefits Of Publishing A Book:
- Enhanced Personal Credibility
- Mind-blowing Business Credibility
- Awe-inspiring Brand Clarify
Take time off to reflect on the legacy you want to leave behind. Draft an outline for a book and let the ideas simmer at the back of your head. Consult an editor when you are ready to publish your book.
50 Insider Bonus Ideas: How do I get my business noticed?
Small business marketing is a journey. There are many paths you can take to market your business. It is important to take it a step at a time. Master the skills required by focusing on one before venturing into another.
Here are 50 additional priceless ideas on how to get your business noticed:
Do Your Homework
(31) Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis
(32)Know Your Competitors: Buy Their Products
(33) Learn From And Exceed Your Strongest Competitors
(34) Segment Your Customer Database
(35) Evaluate Your Efforts Regularly: Focus On Strategies That Work
(36) Monitor Disruptive Technologies And Adopt Useful Ones Early
(37) Conduct Customer Surveys Frequently
(38)Conduct a Focus Group
(39) Join Forums
(40) Maintain Contact With Customers Through Multiple Communication Channels
(41) Develop A Retention Strategy
(42) Adopt A Trust Building Culture
(43) Send Birthday Offers For Clients
(44) Innovate a Spellbinding Customer Loyalty Programme
(45) Start a Client Appreciation Programme
(46) Plan Holiday Gifts For Your Best Clients
(47) Launch Webinar To help Clients Solve Nagging Problems
(48) Start Contests with Valuable Prizes
(49) Optimize Payment Methods To Reach More Clients
Involve Happy Clients
(50) Showcase Testimonials From Delighted Clients
(51) Showcase Successful Case Studies of Using Your Products Or Services
(52) Start a Brand Ambassador Programme
(53) Start An Affiliate program
(54) Use Marketing Automation Tools
(55) Regularly Explore Free New Marketing Tools
(56) Create a YouTube Channel
(57) Plan Press Releases With Promotions
(58) Keep Up With Current And Growing Trends
(59)Master Your Keywords And SEO For Content Marketing
(60) Create An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog and Social Content
(61) Master And Implement New Useful Skills — One At A Time
(62) Master a List of Power Words to Use in Content Marketing
(63) Inspire Yourself Often with Music, YouTube Clips, Movies, Books, etc
(64) Find Good Mentors
Leave Your Mark
(65) Leave useful comments on another blog post with your name and website URL
(66) Record Regular Podcasts
(67) Respond to Comments
(68) Guest blog
(69) Reach Out To Influencers
(70) Add a Pop-up to your website or blog
Use Emotions As A Weapon
(71) Set Deadlines to Offers
(72) Create Scarcity With Limited offers on Promotion
(73) Employ FOMO (Fear Of Losing Out) Tactics
(74) Build Suspense For Product or Marketing Launches
(75) Turn Anger To Delight: Resolve Complaints Sincerely
(76)Use Color Psychology in Printed Material
(77)Incorporate Infographics In Your Marketing Content
(78) Add Visuals To Your Content
(79) Update Your Content Regularly
(80) Develop An App to Market Your Services And Products
Sneak Peek To Your Successful Future In Small Business Marketing
You’ll be famous as an authority in small business marketing.
You’ll become a well-known entrepreneur with strangers greeting you approvingly wherever you go. You’ll find it hard to turn down an admiring handshake, or an adoring fan asking for marketing gems.
You’ll yearn to go to work each day with a spring in your steps. You’ll be intoxicated with success. You can’t wait to satisfy your addiction to experiment with variants of small business marketing strategies.
Your dreams can come true. But getting there requires you to take those critical first steps.
Review your market research, identify your target markets, and perfect your UPS. Scrutinize your goals and budget. Hand-pick the metrics that will steer your directions towards your goals.
Your dreams will be materialized with the sweet scent of hard work and sweat. Follow the small business marketing ideas disclosed above to illuminate a well-beaten path to your success.
Take your first step today.