A good marketing strategy is way more important than any marketing tactic. And if you’re a small business owner, you’ll soon run a rudderless ship without a sound marketing strategy.
But the problem is that many small business owners get hung up on a particular marketing tactic, such as social media marketing, something that ignores the more effective marketing as a system approach.
Social media marketing is great, but any tactic must become a part of something bigger and more powerful. A rock-solid marketing strategy needs to be in place for any tactic to work effectively.
As John Jantsch mentioned in this post, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
So, how does a small business owner go about building an effective marketing strategy?
Be clear about your marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy is not a company mission, page of year-end goals, or wish list. No, it’s a clear, concise set of steps detailing how you are going to complete your marketing plan.
You set objectives then detail how you are going to get there.
So, how do you start building an effective marketing strategy for your small business?
1. Find your ideal client.
Your business works because you solve a problem for someone. A pain. In order for your marketing to be firing on all cylinders you need a combo of strategy and tactics that appeals to someone, and that someone should be the ideal customer for your business.
Many small businesses try to be all things to all customers but this can hinder your business more than just about anything. If instead, you focus on a narrowly defined set of customers you’ll be much better off.
To start, think about the types of clients you currently work with. Which clients are the most profitable? Which clients are not profitable?
Now, work to understand them a bit more. Create a client persona (a biographical sketch of that ideal client). Think about the profitable clients mentioned above and create words and images to describe that person. You may even find a stock portrait that represents this ideal client.
Think about the things that would appeal to this person and when you write a blog post or think about offering a new service think—“Would Susan like this?”
2. Learn what your ideal client wants.
Great, you’ve done the work and have some sort of profile–a client persona. What’s the next step? The next step is to look at your business and create an approach that makes you stand out so this ideal client not only recognizes you but wants to buy from you.
Think about what your ideal customer really values. Maybe interview your current best customers and find out the following…
—What frustrates them? Is there an extra level of service they want/need?
—Why did they hire your company in the first place? What does your company currently do better than the competition? What can you improve?
—When they were first looking for the service your company offered, how did they go about it? What search terms did they type in?
Once you start digging, you’ll be amazed at what you discover. If you really want to dig deep with this step learn about the 6 steps to bring your brand to life.
3. Start creating your marketing strategy.
With the two things mentioned above you have what you need to really start moving. This is how you create a marketing system that works. They key is to just get started.
If you want to see the whole picture, take a look at 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success.
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