Good small business marketing is really the result of function following necessity. This is something I discovered shortly before I first found success as a small business owner. Previously, I’d failed miserably in business because I remained focused on the service, and not on marketing.
As any successful business owner will tell you, revenue generation is the first step to success in any business. Of course, customers are where revenue comes from, and you can’t get customers without marketing.
And as I learned, if you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business.
The Problem With Loving What You Do and Doing What You Love…
Early on in working with small business owners, I identified a disconnect between the activities most small business owners would rather be doing, and the realities of what business ownership requires. Most would-be entrepreneurs would rather be doing their first love, which is likely the passion that they decided to turn into profit.
The problem with this is that by pursuing our passion in starting a business, we tend to ignore the reality that revenue is the lifeblood by which we are able to continue pursuing our passion as a vocation. So, we lie to ourselves when we say that so long as we are providing the best product or service possible, we’ll meet with success.
If only that were true…
But as you probably already know, the path to small business success is littered with the carcasses and corpses of businesses that had incredibly good, even amazing, products and services. Yet, these businesses died without the world at large ever having enjoyed what the business had to offer them.
And in the majority of cases, those businesses failed for the simple lack of good small business marketing practices.
Identifying What Good Small Business Marketing Is
For starters, let’s identify what good small business marketing is not. It is not the type of marketing you see from Fortune 500 companies and the marketing agencies they hire; it is not marketing for the primary purpose of building “brand awareness.” That sort of marketing is expensive, and it requires the sort of deep pockets and mass saturation that you, as a small business owner, simply do not have and cannot attain.
No, instead good small business marketing is laser focused on getting results that produce almost immediate profits. I tell my clients that when they spend a dollar on marketing, it should return a minimum of two dollars in revenue, because that’s the only way they’ll be able to put food on the table and still have money left to do more marketing. That’s the type of marketing you must focus on as a small business owner.
To further help you understand just exactly what good small business marketing should accomplish, I’ve identified and listed five characteristics of an effective small business marketing campaign. As you read through them, think about the type of marketing you’re doing for your business now, and ask yourself if these characteristics are present.
Good Small Business Marketing Identifies a Target Market
If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, how are you going to come up with marketing that will reach them and speak to them? You have to know where your best customers are in order to get the best results from your marketing.
And to do that, you need to first identify them by knowing what they look like, where they work, what they do for fun, and most importantly what their secret (or not so secret) worries, goals, and dreams are. What keeps them up at night? And, how can your product or service help? Answer those questions, and you’re well on your way to devising a winning marketing campaign.
It Defines an Ideal Marketing Outcome
Small business marketing won’t work without a laser-focused end goal. Ask yourself right now, “What is my ideal outcome with every customer interaction?” In other words, what do you want to happen when a customer is exposed to your business?
The details will differ depending on the type and nature of your business, but I would hazard a guess to say it somehow involves putting money in your pocket. However, it has to go deeper than that; what do you want the customer to experience before, during, and after the transaction is complete?
Remember, marketing generates sales, but customer service sustains them. So define your ideal outcome and keep it in mind as you devise your marketing campaigns for your small business.
It Focuses on Getting a Direct Response
Direct response marketing is marketing that elicits an immediate response from the consumer, be it a phone call, filling out a form on a website, or making an immediate purchase. If you run an ad today, it had better generate sales for you tomorrow, right? Well, that’s what direct response marketing is designed to do. This is the only sort of marketing that matters to a small business owner, period.
So, focus on getting a direct response from consumers who see your ads and marketing. Design every marketing piece with an immediate call-to-action that gets your phone ringing, your email inbox dinging, and your front door swinging. That’s the key to sustainable small business advertising and marketing.
Good Small Business Marketing Operates Continually at an Immediate Profit
Remember how I tell my clients they should get two dollars back for every one dollar they spend on marketing? What I mean by that is your marketing campaigns should operate as a continual and immediate profit generation machine for your business. Meaning, every dollar you spend on marketing should generate near immediate sales and leads for your company.
In order to do that, you have to track your results. That means finding some means of determining which marketing campaigns generate profits for your company, which break even, and which were total duds. Keep the winners, decide whether or not you can improve the ones that break even, and jettison the duds.
And, It Serves in Lieu of Brand-Building by Letting the Product Speak for Itself
Stop worrying about building your brand. As a small business owner, your “brand” equals your ability to sell your product or service multiplied by the customer satisfaction your product or service generates (tweet this).
You don’t have enough money to build a brand before you build a loyal following, so focus on filling seats and putting smiles on your customers’ faces, and your brand reputation will grow organically.
The Best Marketing Is Marketing That Meets an Immediate Need for Both You and Your Customer
In my experience, the best marketing meets an immediate need for both parties involved in the transaction. For the consumer, it presents a solution to an immediate and pressing problem or a way to fulfill a burning desire. And for the small business owner, it generates revenue – an immediate and pressing need for any small business.
What other characteristics do you think all good small business marketing shares? I’d like to hear what you think, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.