Marketing is important to every business no matter how big or small. It is how you get your products or services to your market. It is also how you get some real following around what you do in terms of your brand in the short and long-term too. Marketing is important to every business no matter how big or small. A medium sized business has passed the first hurdles of finding their audience, gaining brand awareness, and converting a steady stream of customers. It is much more different though if you may be a start up business.
The main reason for focusing on helping customers instead of making sales is that only a small fraction of your audience is ready to buy today. The rest may become customers in the future, and you want to make sure that when that time comes you’re at the top of their list. This is much more likely if you build credibility with them and earn their trust upfront. A marketing agency in any case will be able to help you with this.
Like all marketing, you need to understand the SMB buyer’s journey. It's important to create content for every stage of the purchase funnel because you never know at what point they'll first encounter your brand. Guide them through their journey with strategic calls to action that lead them through a series of logical steps to your product or service at the end.
At the top of the funnel, your goal is to engage the audience and build trust by addressing a wide range of topics related to your mission. This could include business solutions (related to your product’s benefits) that inform and educate the buyer, including ideas, best practices and customer stories — real-world examples of what others are doing and the positive results achieved.
At the middle of the funnel, the goals are to nurture prospects and accelerate their journey toward the close. Your content can become increasingly product-aligned, and you can begin to focus more on specific features and benefits, FAQs, competitive advantages and so on. The goal at the bottom of the funnel is to get people over the finish line — dealing with objections and questions that come up at the end. Most salespeople will tell you that the same four to five objections come up most of the time. Each one of those objections can be addressed with corresponding content.
Central to having a successful marketing strategy is to have a customer centric approach. In other words, designing products or services that meet the needs and wants of a customer. It goes further though than delivering products customers want. Companies that excel in marketing are also good at creating demand and promotion. Apple and BMW, make good products but have also nurtured their reputation so their is demand and loyalty in the market for them.
Technical excellence alone doesn’t guarantee success. Some of you may remember that Sony’s Betamax system lost out to the technically inferior VHS system, because they didn’t licence the technology to competitors, a failing in “Place.” The Boeing 747 outsold the technically superior Concorde because it was the wrong Product at the wrong Price.
In many small companies, marketing equates to advertising, which is just part of one of the 4 P’s, Promotion. Other aspects of Promotion and other 3 P’s are too often neglected. Why does this matter, well advertising is expensive. Even the best marketers will admit much of what they spend is ineffective, without a strategy to back it, the waste will be higher still.
Promotion in whatever form is an ongoing expense. It takes time to deliver so taking action only when sales drop off is unlikely to succeed. We are now spoilt for choice with an ever increasing choice of digital marketing tools as well as the traditional ones. All too often campaigns fail because of lack of strategy and poor implementation. Failure can be expensive. Before spending anything, you must decide what you want to achieve, who your potential market is and what you will be offering.
There should be a method in place for measuring results. There are no “fits all” tools, some are good for one thing, some for others. For example, if you offer emergency plumbing services, being prominent on Google and Bing should be a priority. If on the other hand, you want to promote boiler servicing in the quiet Summer period before it gets busy, then a pro-active email with a discount offer will work better.
Think about the marketing strategy that you want to have in place and see if you can find any other that have used this strategy to see how successful they've been too. This can and will be able to have a good say on if you really should go about your marketing in this way. Often businesses are so focussed on saving pennies that they are losing pounds because they do not invest strategically in marketing. If you may be a small business, do not try and go down this route.