Marketing for small businesses is just like marketing for major companies. The only difference is the number of zeros in the marketing budget. The strategies, tactics, and goals are all the same though: to reach new customers, increase revenue, and build brand loyalty (and equity).
How can small businesses replicate big business marketing? Here are my 4 tips:
- Define your success. It’s critical to establish your conditions of satisfaction. Is it to increase the number of customers in your store and monthly sales? Define those numbers. Is it to increase your web traffic? Define those numbers. Don’t just say, “I want to sell more,” as it isn’t defined enough to be measurable. And if it’s not measurable, how will you know if it’s successful?
- Develop a plan. Who is your audience and how will you reach them? What is your budget? Do you need to include outside help to reach your goals? Are there events you need to budget to attend? These are just a few of the many questions you need to ask yourself in order to develop a marketing plan. I suggest developing a broad, 12-month plan and a detailed month-by-month plan so you can manage the short-term goals without losing sight of the long-term goals.
- Measurability and scalability. In order to know whether your conditions of satisfaction are met, you must be able to measure your results. Then, when you are successful, determine how you can replicate that on a larger scale. For example, you put a small advertisement in the local paper about an upcoming sale. Your sale is successful – how do you grow that? Think about incorporating radio ads, social media, and direct mail pieces to reach a larger audience and bring more people to your business.
- Step and repeat. You’ll hear me use these words frequently. If your marketing efforts were successful, repeat the steps you took to do it again. It’s that simple! And if something doesn’t work, try something else. Just keep in mind, if you incorporate a social media ad for example that doesn’t work, don’t ditch social media altogether. Try it again, using redefining your audience or your bidding and pricing structure.
Looking for suggestions on what to include in your marketing plan? Although every industry is different, I’m going to share with you some of my go-to options:
- If you don’t have a presence on social media, get one. And when you’re on the networks, continue to use them! Develop a step and repeat plan, like a calendar of content – your customers will follow, engage, and buy. I’ve closed hundreds of speaking events through direct messages on Twitter and Facebook. Trust me, it works.
- Don’t be afraid to advertise on social media. You can develop very specific, targeted Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn ads with just a few clicks. Know your audience, and you can easily promote posts, share offers, gain more followers, and drive traffic to your website.
- Speaking of websites, make sure you have one. For a few dollars a year, you can purchase your web domain (and protect it from cyber squatters). If you can’t hire a developer to build a custom website, do some research. There are thousands of templates you can use that take very little technical knowledge. Buy your domain, register on WordPress, install a theme and update the pages with your information. Then continue to update your page with new offers, testimonials, photos, blog posts, and other relevant information on a regular basis. You will keep your customers coming back and your Google rankings high.
- If your budget allows, put some funds towards Google AdWords to help bump your website to the top of search engine results. To do this, you’ll need a very defined list of keywords that represent you and are found frequently on your website. It’s important to have both in mind so you get the best bang for your buck.
Businesses, whether big or small, can learn many things from each other. Like I said, it’s all the same, just the number of zeros are different. Take some time to develop a well-rounded marketing plan. If you’re in need of inspiration, choose a big company you want to imitate and scale what they’re doing to fit your needs. Once you’ve got your plan developed, act on it and dedicate yourself to it. Your business will thank you!