Written by: Dr. Douglas Kong, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
It is a known fact that entrepreneurs and small business owners struggle with their digital marketing. In fact, according to research, 47% of small business owners handle marketing efforts on their own, and consequently would be struggling to track their return on investment to understand whether their marketing activities are effective. Continue reading for 5 marketing strategies for small businesses!
5 Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses
The truth of the matter is that digital marketing is a skill that is complex and resource intensive. Small business owners glibly assume that just because they have set up marketing campaigns for themselves, they know about digital marketing, which is far from the truth. They find it costly as well. Largely due to the high cost of bidding for their ads because of the competition and the low returns that they get therefrom. Yet if they were to engage professional marketers to do their digital marketing, they often have to pay for the services, including consultancy besides paying for the ad spent.
For a small business, not having an effective marketing strategy has consequences. According to CB Insights, of small businesses that failed, 14% failed due to poor marketing, while another 14% failed because they “ignored their customers” (which is to say there is an absence of marketing). Therefore, we can say that roughly a third of small business failures are associated with poor or no marketing. It is therefore imperative to address this lack of revenue with effective marketing strategies, an informed strategy followed by implementation with suitable tactics to yield results. In my framework of the 5 Alignments, aligning your marketing efforts is the priority to have a positive cash flow towards successful business growth. Below are some suggestions that a business owner can implement to make the business more profitable because they lead to consistent income from effective marketing strategies.
The first priority of an effective marketing strategy is to clarify why the company is in business (the values, vision, mission, objectives, strategy and tactics) and the branding. (not just the logo, name, or tagline) Branding for marketing is to differentiate you from the competition. Thereafter, you clarify the business’ unique selling proposition (USB) that faces customers and the business model (which
tells you the plan for action). What problems and pain points do your products/services solve, and the potential customers who they are and where are they located? They are crucial when you plan your marketing campaigns, especially when you want them to respond to your call to action for opt-ins and sales.
The more well-defined and accurate these are, the better your conversion rate will be and hence your marketing investment returns. The less defined they are, the conversion rates will be less than ideal. So, you need to regard every campaign as a trial of all the above as well as the tactical means, while you keep refining your definition of these (and tactics) until you get the best results from them. They are crucial for your digital marketing partner when crafting the pay-per-click (PPC) digital marketing tactics for your campaigns.
With these out of the way, focus on the following strategies especially those that do not place too much strain on your budget.
1. Email marketing
Email marketing is estimated to give a return of $36 for every $1 spent. It is highly effective for generating leads and sales among other things. Growing an email list is thus an important goal for small businesses. Therefore, growing a highly responsive email list made up of highly qualified leads should be your priority as it will provide you with a constant stream of sales for the longer term.
By offering what is called a high-value content offer (HVCO) as a lead magnet, prospective customers will provide you with their emails so that they may receive your content. This means that the leads you collected are truly qualified leads since they will resonate with what you are offering and will thus generate sales in the future when you email them with sales offers.
2. Content marketing
Content marketing is the production of videos, blogs, social media posts, special reports, white papers, infographics, etc, and then shared with customers and prospects. Their purpose is to educate them about your brand and what you offer, entertain and share your life story so that they learn to know and like you and they can be used to generate leads and sales. Through such content, they develop trust in you and your products/services so that they will be interested in what you offer and make a purchase in due course because their needs are felt to be met by what you offer them.
Thus, generated content may be posted on the website, social media platforms and other platforms where members of your tribe will be. They can be used as lead magnets as well. They may also be shared to your email list to get them to link up with you on social media. Good content allows your prospects to know and, like you before they buy from you.
3. Social media
Almost everybody is now on social media. Ditto your prospects and customers. Depending on the product/service you offer, your tribe is likely to congregate and gather on one or two social media platforms. That is where you should position your social media engagement.
With the content generated, you can publish your content on these platforms and encourage responses to your products/services. From your audience, you can get feedback on what your offers mean to them and tweak them accordingly.
You will also get testimonials and endorsements which enhance the quality of your products/services. This is the social proof of you and your product/service. Social media also increases the Lifetime Value (LTV) of your leads, and they should be a part of your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) toolkit for best results. Note that social media marketing can be organic as well as paid to reach even more people.
4. Affiliate marketing
As you engage with your tribe of customers and prospects, encourage them to refer their friends and contacts to buy your services/products. As an incentive, you can offer them a reward, say a commission for every sale that they bring to you. For those who refer more customers, you may want to recognize them in more tangible ways. Getting your tribe to be your affiliates does not entail any costs as you pay the commission only when there’s a sale.
5. Organize live or online events
Get to meet your customers, prospects, and their friends when you organize live events such as an open house, exhibitions, product launches, webinars, and so on, where you can interact with and push for sales. Such events allow you to get more leads when you advertise such events widely and thus get more prospects to come on board. This allows you to enlarge your email list as well as get sales from the small group of respondents who respond to such events by purchasing from you almost immediately.
The last item on the above list, the organizing of live events and webinars, is best done after you have achieved some results from your other marketing efforts. You should have a positive cash flow and have refined your branding, product, and target audience to the point that it is giving you great results. Organizing live events and webinars is an opportunity to scale your business. That’s because these events give you the opportunity of expanding your reach tremendously by means of digital marketing, using PPC tactics to reach out to wider potential audiences on Google, Facebook, and elsewhere. For such efforts, digital marketing is how to enlist more people to be interested in what you offer.
Hence these events serve not only to enlarge your email list, and enlist them to follow you on your social media platforms but more importantly to drive more sales due to such events. These scaling efforts mean that you must have your systems in place to be able to take care of the after-sales service and customer support after the success of your big sales push.
If done well, these events will allow your business to grow to a whole new different level, and you are on your way to at least a 7-figure turnover. Indeed, applying the above strategy conscientiously, a business owner in a service industry, consultants, information, and service professionals, will likely grow their business to a whole new level from 6 to 24 months depending on your industry and the competition inherent therein.
Be sure to discuss your marketing strategy with an expert so that you can clarify and refine what your goals are and how to implement them. Talk to someone you know, or you can talk with me here.
Dr. Douglas Kong, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Douglas Kong is a Business and Performance coach. His mission is to help entrepreneurs, small business owners, CEOs, executives, and professionals to be resilient and function optimally, achieving optimal business growth by achieving profitability and scaling therefrom. He is a Certified Executive Coach and a Certified Master Life Coach. His background is that of a consultant psychiatrist and specialist in stress management, psychological trauma, psychoanalytic psychotherapy and has completed non-graduating courses on MBA topics in business management and leadership. He is a best-selling author and has written books on personal self-help and 2 books on business growth and scaling.