There’s a secret marketing strategy I’ve seen over the years that makes and breaks more businesses than any other.
The reason I say it’s ‘secret’ is not that no one knows about it. Nope, it’s because hardly anyone does it. And yet it’s so important it can mean the difference between eye-popping sales or a foreclosure sign.
I know this can be too overwhelming for someone who’s just started to get off the ground. So I’ll start with:
DO YOU KNOW YOUR MARKETING IQ
What are the Four Basic Marketing Strategies?
You may have heard about the 4 Ps of marketing. I know it sounds like a boring textbook topic, but trust me, it’ll bring a lot of value to your business.
And it’s not only for large and fast-growing businesses. Small businesses can benefit from this too.
So, the 4 Ps of the marketing mix are:
Now let’s see how it works.
In basic terms, a product is a good or service that you offer to your prospects and customers.
As an entrepreneur, you must have a clear concept of your product as a whole. Think about how you can understand what you’re selling, how it meets the needs of your target market, and what makes you different from the competition.
Now if you want to have a successful product, start answering these questions:
- What features of your products and services meet your customers’ needs?
- How, where, and when do your customers use it?
- What more do prospects and existing customers want from your products and services? What can you improve?
As everyone knows, price is the cost you pay for a product or service. Implementing the right pricing strategy can be tricky. You must consider different factors before coming up with the numbers.
It’s a constant battle between choosing to raise the price and attract more high-value prospects or lower it down so more consumers can try what you offer.
And as an entrepreneur, you should know this is very important. It will affect your profit, supply, demand and other variables. So if your product costs too high or low for your target market, you might compromise your business’s success.
When it comes to pricing, ask yourself.
- Are there established price points for your products or services in the industry?
- What value can your products or services provide to buyers?
- How will your price compare to your competitors?
Once you know your price point, the next decision is to strategize the right place to sell your product. And this comes back to your marketing plan, knowing where your target audience hangs out online and which local businesses they shop at.
When you 100% understand your customer base, you can easily determine the right marketing strategies to reach your audience and which marketing campaigns will deliver the best returns.
Whatever your decision, place is a matter of providing convenience and enough access to your target market.
While thinking about the right place to market your small business, ask yourself.
- Where does your target market buy?
- Which is more convenient for them? Buying at a physical shop or online?
Having sorted your product, pricing and placement strategies, how do you make your audience aware of services?
The 4 Ps of marketing would be incomplete without promotion—how you market your small business to the public or your customer base. The goal here is to show is twofold.
- Show consumers why they need your product or service.
- Explain why they should buy from you. So what result are you selling?
How do you make this happen? This is where you use various channels under digital media and offline media. Both types of media can boost your strategy but digital media has definitely changed how businesses promote their products today. You can now create advertising that target a specific audience.
When it comes to promotion, rev up your marketing strategy by answering the following.
- How can you reach your target market? So do you build a product landing page, or use Facebook advertising? Perhaps your small business marketing media strategy includes Google My Business, Pay Per Click, digital marketing (for example email marketing campaigns, social media, content marketing), placing ads in local publications, whatever.
- What type/s of media should you use to promote your small business? You want your business to appear in search engine results so it’s vital that you create quality content that ranks on Google. Typically this is a combination of content marketing (writing blog posts on your website), PR, and social media marketing. You want your brand to appear in search engines. So content marketing really is a great strategy for small businesses.
- How and where do your competitors promote their small businesses? Maybe your competitors invest tons into facebook ads or local media outlets like a radio station or community paper. Broadcast is an expensive marketing strategy and one that small businesses should avoid. Instead, add direct mail to your small business marketing strategy.
Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses: Embracing New Concepts
Hunting Versus Farming (From a Marketing Perspective)
Imagine yourself as a hunter. You wake up in the morning, gather your weapons and head out to the hunt. Some days you come back with a kill and your family eats a feast. Other days your family goes hungry. The pressure is on every single day to hunt successfully – it’s a constant battle.
Now imagine yourself as a farmer. You plant your seeds and wait for them to be ready for the harvest. In the meantime, you nurture them and treat them with care. You water and tend to your crop. When they’re ready you start harvesting.
In my experience, most businesses are hunters – not farmers:
- They cold call to generate new business
- They spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to get a new customer and do anything to close the sale as soon as possible
- They’re advertising reeks of desperation as they try discounting and competing on price just to make a quick sale
- They waste huge amounts of time pestering people who are not interested in their product or service
I’m not saying hunting is generally bad. What’s bad is when you solely rely on it.
When it comes to lead flow, you can get these two things from farming:
- Predictability. When it comes to lead flow, no one wants to be stuck on a feast and famine roller coaster ride where today, you’re doing great; the next day, you’re not.
- Consistency. What you need is to get a consistent lead flow and fill your sales pipeline with prospects that you can nurture for future conversion.
Why You Need to Transition From Pest to Welcome Guest
How do you feel about a dear friend who shows up at your front door? Contrast this with how you feel about a stranger selling door-to-door who interrupts your dinner or family time.
What’s the difference? The former is a welcome guest, someone you have a relationship and connection with. The latter is a pest. You don’t know who he is, where he’s from and most likely you don’t even want or need what he’s selling.
The welcome guest brings value to your life, whereas the pest is just there to interrupt you and to take.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could approach a prospect and be treated by them as a welcome guest rather than a pest? Selling suddenly becomes much easier and more pleasant when you are welcomed with open arms and when the prospect is deeply interested in what you have to offer.
This is the transformation I’d like you to make in your business and in your marketing. Transition from being a pest to a welcome guest. Here’s how…
The Real Goal of Advertising, It's Not What You Think
Most business owners are clueless about the purpose behind their marketing. They slap the name of their business on their ad with a pretty logo and some meaningless slogan claiming to be the leader in their industry or area.
If you ask them what the purpose of their advertising is, most will say it’s to sell their products or to “get their name out there”. This is WRONG! Dead wrong. They may as well be flushing money down the toilet.
The whole purpose of your advertising is not to immediately make a sale – it’s to find people who are interested in what you do and put them on your follow up database so that you can build value for them, position yourself as an authority and create a relationship built on trust.
After doing this, the sale comes (if it’s right for them) as a natural consequence.
This will take a mindset shift but is an absolutely vital concept to understand.
DO YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS RAPIDLY?
Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses: Three Ways to Sell More as a Marketing Farmer
1. Position yourself as an authority
So how can they see you as a welcome guest instead of a pest? Position yourself as an authority, a trusted figure—someone who can bring genuine value to your prospects’ lives. The best way to demonstrate this is to help them before they become a paying client.
Think about it. From a prospect’s perspective, would you rather buy from a salesperson constantly following you up for his next commision? Or would you buy from someone who actually listened to your concerns and gave you great advice? It’s a no-brainer.
2. Don’t pressure your prospect
On the sales side, a lot of marketers always think about ABC (Always Be Closing) and all that sort of stuff. But if you’re on the customer side, how would you deal with a salesperson doing tricky, weird closes? What would you do if he’s pressuring you to buy right now?
You might have been on that side too before building your own business.
In sales, you want to diffuse pressure. Pressure is a major turn-off. It triggers people to stay away from you. Bombarding their inbox with multiple follow-up emails creates pressure. And they won’t reply back because you introduced pressure into the situation.
Stop selling and start talking. Have a conversation. Get to know them. Discover what they’re struggling with, and help them in advance. Make the sales process natural and authentic for your potential customer.
3. Delay gratification
Stop trying to sell from your ad. It’s true that some people reading your advert might be ready to buy immediately. But the vast majority of people won’t be ready to make a purchasing decision on the day they read your ad – even if they are interested in what you do.
If you don’t put them on a database you’ve lost them. They might have been ready to buy in a month, six months or a year. But since your advertising was “one-shot” you’ve completely wasted that opportunity. Your chances of them remembering your one-shot ad from six months ago is extremely slim.
This also has a secondary side effect with the people who are ready to buy immediately. They see you’re not desperate to sell or discount your product or service. They see that you’re interested in building a relationship first rather than just going for the jugular.
This kind of marketing is similar to farming. It is an investment in your future because as your database grows, so will your business and your results.
Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses: Implementing Your Own Strategy
Before anything else, I’d like to clarify one thing. There’s no magic marketing strategy. There’s no ultimate, magic bullet that will revolutionize your business.
If you’re planning to launch a mind-blowing small business marketing strategy that skyrockets your company in one shot, think twice about it.
That’s not how you run a small business. It’s more than that. If you want to hit your goals, you have to take a multimedia approach.
Small business owners can implement two or more strategies, as long as they’re prepared to run, manage and improve them. Here are some of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses.
Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is one of the most important marketing strategies for small businesses and it falls under content marketing. This is where you optimize your site structure and content to rank high in search engines. Higher rankings help you gain more visibility, which can further turn into conversions.
So how do you improve SEO for your small business? There are a lot of ways to do it. It covers a broad part of digital marketing.
But for small business owners like you, this can be a great to-do list:
- Run a website audit. This is the first step in identifying where your website and content stand when it comes to search engine optimization. It comes as a report where you’ll see your strengths and areas of improvement.
- Learn more about on-page and off-page SEO and see what practices can you implement to produce great results. SEO is categorized into two: on-page and off-page. Depending on the website audit, take a look at areas of improvement and see what SEO practices work best for those. It can vary from keyword optimization, link building, and more.
- Optimize for local SEO. Since you have a small business, you should start local. And with that, think about optimizing for local SEO. This helps you appear more often in local web and mobile search results, reaching more of your target customers. A good place to start is to advertise in Google My Business, use Google Adwords for keywords, and create a listing for Google Maps.
PPC Advertising (Pay Per Click)
This is a type of online marketing strategy that allows you to display your ads on a search engine.
The idea is simple. You have to bid on keywords that might be relevant to search results. Then the search engine identifies which ads will show up.
Google AdWords is a good place to start with your PPC advertising. The key here is to expand and refine your keywords, content strategy to get a massive return.
Another marketing strategy that you can implement is email marketing. Instead of solely focusing on new customers, you can generate and nurture leads until they’re ready to buy.
This won’t only help you get more sales, but also build relationships with your customers.
You can start by growing your email list by using a lead magnet. A lead magnet will help you attract more people to sign up for your list. Then, build an email lead nurturing sequence and adjust your marketing strategy for the best results.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is never an option. It’s a must-have in your marketing strategy.
This is the best way to build an online presence and expand your reach to your target market.
So in a nutshell, here’s how you can build a social media marketing strategy for your small business.
- Find out what channels your target audience use.
- Choose which channels to use on your strategy.
- Build a content plan and strategize on when and how often you post.
- Once the systems are up and running, engage with your target audience and consistently post content that’s attention-grabbing and valuable to them.
- Be consistent and track results.
This is considered the heart of most marketing strategies for small businesses.
It’s what ties SEO, PPC, email marketing, and social media marketing altogether. All of these marketing strategies will need you to create and publish high-quality content that’s relevant and valuable to your target audience.
In a nutshell, your content marketing strategy should include:
- Defining your target market by using a buyer persona
- Create content in different forms. It can vary from blog posts, social media posts, videos, podcasts and more.
- Deliver content on the right platforms.
Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses: Key Takeaway
Accept the fact most people will not buy right away.
Put them on a database – and the database could be email or physical direct mail (preferably both).
Mail them something regularly to stay in touch, positioning yourself as an expert in your industry or field.
And like a farmer, wait until the prospect is ready for harvest.
This growing list of prospects and the relationship you have with them will become the most valuable asset in your business. It’s the golden goose. You’re building brand awareness and
Now when the potential customer is finally ready to buy, you’re a welcome invited guest rather than a pest.
The most important thing you can take away from this message is to become a marketing farmer. It’s a simple three-step process:
- Advertise with the intention of finding people who are interested in what you do. Do this by offering something free like a report, video, CD etc. Any kind of free information that presents a solution to a problem they have. This positions you as an expert and as an educator rather than a salesperson. Which would YOU prefer to buy from?
- Use your website to attract qualified leads. Whether that’s through a lead magnet, blog posts, a landing page, whatever. It makes sense to offer something free, for example, a worksheet, template, infographic, how-to guide, anything that gets them to subscribe to your newsletter
- Continually nurture these potential customers and provide value. For example educate, entertain. I like to focus on marketing tips for small businesses. Most importantly, avoid the temptation to sell. A constant sales pitch is a terrible strategy for small businesses. It’ll become old very quickly.
- Keep in regular contact – at least once a month. If not, you will have wasted your marketing efforts. All of those potential customers will forget you and your relationship will then be relegated to that of a cold prospect and pest salesperson.
If you become a “marketing farmer”, you’ll have a rich and continual harvest as your database grows in number and quality.