Small businesses are able to market to wider audiences these days due to having an online presence. Digital marketing helps keep the cost of content production down by cutting out the need for commercial printers, also helping your company maintain less of a carbon footprint. One of the major issues small businesses have, is trying to find the right path for them to deliver their message and on which platform to serve their content. There is a great article by the writers at Express Text that is a worthwhile read for any small business looking to start their marketing plan but need a little help. The article, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Can Make A Difference Today, has laid out 3 ways to help you on your way.
I myself have more of a case by case game plan that I use when assisting with marketing small businesses on their way to the top. I will lay that out below briefly. Since all of the paths differ from business to business based on need, I like to work on an approach based around identity. By identifying all of your wants, needs, and resources, you can then properly plan out your marketing with a goal in mind. Surprisingly enough, this is the most overlook part of the process when marketing your small business.
#1 Identify Your Brand
Brand identity is not about the service you provide or the products you sell. Think about meeting someone for the first time. There are things you want them to know first about you. The things you stand for, the things you believe, ideals and beliefs. The things that made you who you are today and why you are that way. Those are the things you may discuss so they can know who you are and to see if they want to be with someone like you. Think of the brand identity as your first date. What do they need to know about you and your company first and foremost and why should they trust you. Everybody has a sales pitch, but this isn’t it. Once you identify who you are, the marketing starts to take shape. Let’s say you are an energy drink company. You would probably follow suit like others and go for the extreme, risk-taking, fun guy Kyle approach. This is what you would build your look, your marketing, and your message around. You may have done this when you first started your company. Revisit that document and see if it still pertains. if so, step 1 is done already, but it’s always worth a look.
#2 Identify Your Selling Point
Great, now I know who you are, so, what are you trying to sell me? Thats right, it’s sales pitch time, but not about each product or each service. It’s about the service you can offer me that others can’t. Think about Amazon Prime when it started. Free 2-day shipping. You could already buy online from Amazon and plenty of other stores, but those other places weren’t offering 2 day delivery. How about Progressive Insurance? How were they able to separate themselves from other companies? They told you they would show you their competitor’s price so you can make the decision for yourself. That tells the customer, you can trust us, because we are fair and honest. Not a bad pitch, and it was so easy to do. Yes, you put yourself at risk of losing customers, but you build a longer term of trust with the consumers. They didn’t choose Progressive this time, but they will most likely check back with them when it’s time to renew.
#3 Identify Your Audience
Once you know who you are and what you do, the next step is to identify who you are targeting with your message and content. This step is a little easier than the other two, but just as important. Your identity and your selling point will dictate who your audience is. If you sell footballs, you have a lot of options on who to contact like schools, coaches, individual users unless commercially-aimed, and recreational centers, you get the point. But would you target beauty bloggers, makeup stores, clothing stores, or other non-related industries? The key here is to not miss those other target areas that don’t first come to mind. You know what group I didn’t target in the previous statement? Mothers. Who is most likely to be the one to take the kids to sporting events and practices, statistically speaking? So, when I said who will you target selling footballs to, 35-45 year old women may not have been your top choice, but they most likely may be the one’s who purchase them the most. The list of your audience should be fluid and you should always revisit it to see if there are gaps in you content delivery. You may see customers everyday and know everything they like, and not used that in your marketing plan. People are similar, so don’t be afraid to target the demographic you need to if it fits your business.
In conclusion, a strong marketing plan could take any product or service to the top. Think about the Pet Rock, Jeep, or an Apple computer. Their marketing has built a brand standard or identity that immediately makes you concur a picture of what their brand means. Pet rock was genius in itself, and there is an interesting read about their marketing plan here. There are a few others that live in marketing infamy and if you would like to read more about them, BCBusiness has a good read.
Contact someone at Viking SEO if you need more assistance in marketing your small business and we can assist you with any needs or questions you may have.