Small business marketing is increasingly complex. The online environment changes rapidly so it is important to remember the basics of marketing. That is focus on the needs of the customer.
Profile Your Target Customer
Who is your ideal customer, what do they buy, why do they need those products or services, and why do they buy from you? Most businesses serve several market segments, each with different requirements. So it is important to identify those segments and build a customer profile for each.
Decide How To Reach Your Customer
What are the best ways to reach identified customers and market segments? It may be the best route is offline but more likely the most efficient and cost-effective method will be online marketing. Research what methods target customers use to source information. It may be via search engine queries, or possibly social media, or online publications. Whatever route is best, target your efforts on those mediums.
There is little point in having a website if it is not found when a prospect types a relevant search term into one of the major search engines. Statistics show that over 90% of prospects never go beyond page 1 when looking for information. The same argument applies to social media. With any online marketing tool, the objective is to be found.
Build A Relationship
Once found, only a small percentage of prospects will make an immediate purchase. A much larger proportion will keep coming back to learn more and will buy in the future. Once a prospect lands on an online communication channel the objective is to start to build a relationship and credibility to achieve a sale in the medium to long term.
A relationship is of little use if it does not ultimately convert to a sale. So it is important to lead prospects down a path and specifically tell them what you suggest they do (calls to action). The process may include securing a prospect Email address (perhaps in return for a valuable download) to facilitate ongoing dialogue.
The key to small business marketing success then is to start with the customer. With the customer defined, deliver the information they need and develop a relationship that ultimately results in a sale. It is important to make sure the message goes out via a method that is most likely to be read and engaged with. Don’t be invisible, forget the marketing hype and focus on the basics.