thanks for your interest!
Unfortunately I’m currently not taking on any new clients.
In the meantime, why not learn how to create a marketing strategy for your small business yourself?
how to create a small business marketing strategy
If you can‘t answer my previous question and your marketing activities haven‘t been very successful in the past, then chances are, you‘re focusing on the wrong topic. If you now start looking into online ads, SEO, etc., you‘ll most likely waste even more money without any return of your investment. Don‘t get me wrong; they are great tools. But they will only do a great job for you, if your small business already has a sharp profile. To get there, ask yourself the following:
a) Who‘s your ideal client?
Do you know exactly who you‘re trying to acquire and how to convince them? If not, then you might need to start with a target group analysis. An old marketing wisdom says: „If you‘re trying to talk to everyone, you end up speaking to no one.“ The more you know about your target group, the better.
If you already have a couple of clients, you can simply start by analysing what they have in common: Gender, age, profession, experience, industry, interests, anything you can find.
If you‘re just starting out and don‘t have any clients yet to analyse, start by clearly defining who your ideal client would be. The service or product you offer should solve someones problems (if it doesn‘t, reconsider your business model). Whose problems are you solving? In most cases, they‘ll be your target group. Then try to find out more about them. Think about which blogs they might read, which influencers they follow, which facebook groups they‘re in, etc. Then follow them closely and listen actively. It takes a lot of time and patience, but eventually you‘ll understand your target group better and better.
b) Are you standing out of your competition?
How good is your elevator-pitch? If your small business is too comparable with all the other ones out there offering more or less the same services, then you‘ll have a really hard time winning new clients outside of your own network. A little bit faster, a little bit cheaper or a little bit more secure unfortunately won‘t do the trick. Continue with an in-depth competitor analysis and think about possible ways to differentiate yourself from them.
Take a close look at your competitors’ websites and other communication channels: Which services are they offering? What prices do they charge? Who are they targeting? What makes them special? How are they communicating? What kind of pictures are they using, which tone of language and what kind of design? Can you identify a marketing strategy? Do that for at least 10 competitors.
Now analyse what all of these competitors have in common and come up with a plan on how you can differentiate yourself from them.
c) What‘s your sweet spot?
Now, bring your results of the target group and competitor analysis together and develop a positioning for your business that 1. responds to your ideal clients needs and 2. isn‘t already covered by too many of your competitors. Redefine your services and create a unique selling proposition (USP).
This seriously is the #1 must-do for your small business marketing!
Once you‘ve found your sweet spot – can offer what your target audience needs and are standing out of your competition, it‘s time to think about how you‘ll reach your potential clients and make them aware your small business even exists.
With one marketing measure itself you most likely won‘t succeed. Most people think they put a little website online and that‘s it. Well, unfortunately not. Let‘s say you have a nice new website: How do potential clients even get to your website? Imagine you‘d be owning a little shop in the city center: You‘ll get a lot of walk-in customers simply because of your prime location. Though if your shop is not really any more special than the other shops in the same street, then most likely a lot of people will leave the shop right the way without buying anything. So again: Make sure, you got the basis for your marketing strategy right!
Unfortunately for you: Having a website without properly planned marketing measures nowadays, is not even a prime location at all. It‘s more like having a shop in the middle of nowhere. It can be the most beautiful shop, but if no one knows it exists, then no one will come to visit and as a result, again, you won‘t sell anything. Possible scenarios for reaching your target audience could be: Via Google (SEO) or Google Ads, YouTube, Social Media Marketing, Guest Blogging, PR, etc.! Here are some more tips about small business advertising. The more you know about your target group, the easier it will be for you to come up with the right measure to reach them. Think in three steps:
a) How will you become visible to your target group?
- Where (online and offline) is your ideal client searching for help with his/her problem? Make sure, you show up there!
- Online this could be in Facebook or LinkedIn groups, in Forums, on Youtube, simply in Google etc.
- Offline this could be for example at exhibitions or congresses
- Also consider other people and businesses before and after you in the value chain. It might make sense to partner up with them in order to attract new clients.
b) How will you lead them to signing a project with you?
- From getting the attention of your target group to actually signing a new client to your small business, it will take at least 5-7 touchpoints (e.g. Search result -> Website -> E-Mail -> Phone Call -> Meeting -> Quotation -> Signature).
- Carefully plan every part of your sales funnel upfront. Sometimes it might come down to an actual face to face meeting where you might need a professional presentation, etc. Be prepared and make sure that every marketing weapon you choose, just gives enough information to answer the most important questions but still keeps up the curiosity for your prospect to get to know you even better.
- The more value you provide to them from early on in every step, the faster they’ll build trust in you.
c) How will you convert your new client into a long-term client?
- Keep in mind: It‘s way less effort to get more out of an already existing client than it is to win a new one. Provide high value from early on – and never stop! A lot of small businesses put a large effort in winning new clients but then don’t keep up the quality of their services in the long run. If you manage to constantly provide excellent value for your client, you’ll have a very loyal follower who will keep on hiring you and gladly recommend you.
Now that we‘ve defined a promising marketing strategy for your small business to stand out of your competition and attract new clients, make sure every measure is also executed in a compelling way. Again, think step-by-step:
a) Plan your measure
- Choose the right measure. You should‘ve already done that in #2.
- Plan the necessary resources for this measure. Think about your time, budget and potentially third parties that need to get involved. There‘s always an ideal way of how things should be done and then there‘s reality. Make sure you come up with a plan that matches the capacities of your small business.
- Define KPIs for your marketing strategy. How will you define, if it‘s successful or not? What‘s your goal? Which factors play a role in that? And when is the ratio between effort&gain satisfying for you?
b) Define the message
- Before you start executing your marketing strategy, make sure you know which message you are trying to get across at which point of your sales funnel.
- What‘s your ideal client going to listen to? How much previous knowledge does he/she already have before getting in touch with your message and what do you want him or her to do afterwards? Clearly define the content and the structure first, before you get into the execution.
c) Execute with care
- Having the right content is g half of the success. The other half, is executing it in an outstanding way. How will you communicate? What kind of language will you use? Direct, young and emotional? More distant and formal but very experienced? Choose your words carefully. Remember: You need to speak in a way that attracts your ideal client and at the same time doesn‘t sound like every other competitor out there. The better your strategic basis, the easier this step gets.
- The same goes not only for words, but also for the design of your ad, small business website, or any other measure. It needs to be spot on! With the right choice of images, colors and layout you can either really emphasize your message and get the most out of your marketing, or it can even have the opposite effect. If you‘re unsure about it, rather consult an expert.
After you‘ve carefully worked through all these steps, you‘re good to go! Go live and watch how the results come in. Constantly observe your KPIs and optimise where necessary.
Oh.. And please be patient!
Depending on the marketing weapons you chose, it might take a couple of days, weeks or even months until you get the results you‘re craving for.
Sustainable success doesn‘t come overnight.