What follows are 5 basic marketing principles every small business marketer needs to apply for success in small business marketing:
1. Know Your Customer"To persuade someone, to motivate someone, to sell someone, you really need to understand that person." – Dan Kennedy
Knowing your customer isn't just about age, income, and geographic location. To really know your customer, and market to them effectively, you need to know their biggest problems as they relate to the solutions you offer.
When you know your customer it’s easy for you to craft marketing messages and offers that draw them to you. This is because your customers will instantly identify with those messages. When you can speak your customer's language you can get your customer's attention, and attention is the currency of all good marketing.
2. Focus on the Benefits of Your Product or ServiceA classic and chronic mistake common to small business marketing is the failure to focus on the benefits of the offer in sales and marketing materials.
Benefits are the reasons people buy your products and services.
For example, let’s say you’re a chiropractor. Here’s how you’d turn the features of your service into benefits:
“state-of-the-art facilities” – this is a feature of your practice
“accurate, life-saving screenings” – this is the benefit of your “state-of-the-art facilities”
“we offer spinal decompression” – this is a feature of your practice
“alleviate involved and chronic disc conditions without surgery!” – this is the benefit of spinal decompression
While features sound impressive, clients are looking for the benefit to them. Focus on communicating the benefits in all of your marketing materials and you’ll have a much higher response rate.
3. Track EverythingEvery dollar you spend on advertising that you don't track is a dollar wasted. Whether you advertise in the Yellow Pages, online, in the newspaper, or through direct mail, you must have a method for tracking the effectiveness of your marketing activities.
Make sure all of your ads have a strong call to action that tells the prospect exactly what to do (click here, call now, sign up below, etc), and measure your response rate for each ad. If your ads aren't making you money, they shouldn't make the roster of marketing tactics.
Only invest in marketing that works. To know what’s working you must track performance.
4. Leverage Content MarketingContent marketing is a fancy phrase for using videos, blogs, and audio to educate your prospects and establish a relationship that enables you to make multiple offers for your products and services over time.
This is very important in small business marketing because one of the biggest hurdles you must overcome in acquiring a new customer is establishing trust.
Offering free content through articles, videos, or audio gives you the ability to establish that trust, fosters word-of-mouth marketing, and develops a customer base of raving fans.
When you look for ways to go above and beyond in delivering value to your prospects through content marketing, your bottom line will increase above and beyond what you might expect.
5. Have a PlanMarketing doesn’t happen on its own.
You have to plan and schedule time to market your business actively. Most small business marketers don’t do this, and guess what? Marketing doesn’t happen.
Your plan doesn’t have to be elaborate or complex. Just make a list of 6-8 marketing activities you plan to execute for the year. Then, pull up your calendar and schedule the time to follow through.
When you consistently follow a marketing plan you will consistently generate leads for your business. Start with an easy-to-follow plan, and then commit to following through.
In the words of Winston Churchill, "He who fails to plan is planning to fail."
Don't let that be you!
Author InfoMarlee Ward is a self-proclaimed “Chief Radical Entrepreneur (aka CRE),” marketing strategist, and speaker who doles out practical, no-nonsense marketing advice. A licensed attorney and member of the Florida bar, Marlee has also served as an executive marketing director for a software company in Dallas, Texas. Learn more about Marlee.
Note: Ideas and concepts shared here are those of the author and not necessarily shared by or endorsed by YP℠.