3 Steps to Make Small Business Marketing Easier
“I’d love to try that if I had time”
I have heard this from so many owners, in regards to small business marketing ideas. Heck, I’ve said it myself. Balancing your marketing plan with your resources is a struggle many owners have, even if they have an in-house marketing employee.
The problem also affects the people who ARE an in-house marketing employee, which in small business, is usually a department of one.
Does This Sound Like You?
- You don’t have the time or the capacity for mistakes, delays or unnecessary expense.
- You sometimes wonder if there are more effective methods for bringing in new customers, but TBH, don’t really have time to find out.
- You kinda expected the marketing efforts you’ve already employed to be more effective.
You are not alone. I think all small business owners or small business marketers feel like this sometimes. I have a three-step process that will make the herculean task of bringing in leads for your small business more manageable.
Yes, I have said this before. The best thing you can do to bring in leads has nothing to do with actually targeting leads.
The foundation of all small business marketing is your message. You need to be able to express:
1. Exactly what you do;
2. Why you’re better than your competitors and worth what you charge; and,
3. Why your audience should choose you.
This is called your Brand Message. It’s crucial to develop it before you do any kind of marketing. That means before you build a website, before you launch social media channels, and before you choose your logo and colours.
If you’ve already done those things and you haven’t defined your brand message, that’s okay. You just need to pause and make your messaging the priority. Then go back and make sure you’ve incorporated your new brand message into all of your marketing channels.
The evidence backs me up on this. A 2018 study in Strategic Management Journal found that “concrete language that provides details and specific information” is a key influence in getting investment. People want to hear your rationale before they part with money.
What We Can Learn from 80s Marketing
I have learned a lot about business from my husband, who started his career when he was 15 and went to work for his dad’s moving supply company. His dad’s business had a single tried-and-true marketing strategy: the Yellow Pages. If you’re not middle-aged like I am, allow me to explain.
So, the Yellow Pages was a big BOOK made out of PAPER that was popular in the last century….okay, okay, I’m just kidding.
In all seriousness, the phone book used to be a fundamental component of marketing for many businesses. Long before we were all jockeying to appear on page one of Google, local service providers were changing their names to “AAA Plumbing and Electrical” so they could appear first alphabetically in the phone book. Before the age of Facebook ads, businesses paid extra for larger and fancier ads so people flipping through would see them first and call.
The price of the ad was determined by size, so finding exactly the right words to reach your audience and make them pick up the phone and call you was instinctively important. Because this Yellow Pages ad was often the only advertising a small business would do, owners took a lot of time to craft what they were going to say to attract potential clients.
Now, it’s easy to get distracted from this fundamental practice of creating a brand message. There are so many platforms and options for bringing in leads, many of which prioritize visuals. It’s understandable if this has happened to you. However, once you realize it, it’s important to correct it. Once you’ve created your message, it will save you time in every single tactic you try because much of the creative work is already done.
STEP TWO: DITCH TACTICS THAT AREN’T PRODUCING
Another thing that can be difficult in small business marketing is measurement. It can seem like a huge task just to implement your marketing tactics. Regularly gathering data and analysing how those efforts are working takes a lot of time.
Measurement is crucial to a successful marketing program. If you aren’t measuring the return on investment of all your marketing practices, how will you know what’s working, and more importantly, how will you replicate what is working?
If you measure your results and learn you have marketing practices that aren’t paying for themselves by bringing in new leads, quit them now. Every minute you save by ditching a method that doesn’t have a good return is a minute you can use to find something better.
STEP THREE: GET A SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING CONTRACTOR
So many businesses hesitate to bring in extra help because they think it means their current or previous expenses were worthless. NOTHING could be further from the truth. When I go into a small business to help them bring in more leads, I always start by looking at what resources they have and what they’ve done already. I want to help my clients squeeze the juice out of every marketing dollar they’ve spent.
This often means working with other contractors or in-house employees on my clients’ marketing projects. Can I tell you a secret? I LOVE doing that. I get to learn from and cooperate with other professionals in my field. We both have the same goal in mind, client success.
If you are an in-house marketing specialist, imagine what you could do with just a little outside support. Someone to dump part of your to-do list on. Adding support from a contractor during your busy times can help you focus on the parts of your job that you’re best at.
From what I’ve learned as a business owner and from my clients, part of small business ownership is looking at the clock and saying “Gah! Where did the time go?” at one point or another. Use these 3 tips as guideposts when you feel overwhelmed, to give yourself some time back and make the most of your marketing efforts.