The best marketing strategies for small businesses are designed to deliver relevant content to your ideal customer. After 25 years, we found this process works best.
We have taken 25 years of marketing strategy development and distilled it into a process that small business owners can use. This video is quick overview of what is covered in much more detail in this post.
Now, we can delve a more deeply into the topic. The marketing strategy development process below is culmination of 25 years of working in the field, and it covers all the steps needed to develop a marketing strategy that will ensure you provide relevant and motivating content.
It is best to think of this marketing tool in two parts. First, we have Brand Strategy, which is the first three steps. Second, we combine steps four through six into what we call Brand Messaging.
Brand Strategy comes first because it answers two questions. First, we need to define our ideal customer. Then, we must understand how to motivate them to act. As a result, your Brand Messaging will focus on creating relevant content that will motive them.
The most important step in developing the best marketing strategy for your small business is to segment the total market of all your potential customers. This is called Market Segmentation.
We developed this short video. [video embed from YouTube] A persona forces us to think of our idea customer is personal terms. Thus, a persona makes our ideal customer more human and less abstract.
When developing robust marketing strategies for your small business, you need to define how you solve your potential customers’ needs and how you are different from the other solutions to those needs.
All human beings are emotional decision-makers. We do business with people we like. An insight is an emotional need you can leverage to change your ideal customers’ behavior.
Your benefit shows how your solution solves it. Your positioning explains how your benefit is different from your competition.
Relevant content incorporates all three elements. You acknowledge the need. You explain how you solve it, and why that solution is different from others.
You can build relevant messaging through several types of content. For instance, you could do it via a blog post, email marketing, social media, a landing page, or a host of other options.
There are so many choices when it comes to executing your marketing plan. The strategies you choose can make all the difference. Building strategies based on the level of purchase involvement required by your customer base is a time-tested approach.
Purchase involvement is defined as the amount of time and effort required by a customer to make a purchase decision. For example, the amount of time and effort put into making the decision to buy a candy bar is far lower than the time and effort to buy a car. Therefore, the amount of information and the type of content that is relevant varies significantly. As a result, the choices you make for your online marketing will be different as well.
Brand awareness and being top of mind are the two goals that are best for this small business marketing strategy. Both require recency and frequency, meaning quick, often, and generally, location specific. For content to be relevant, it needs to be engaging, memorable, and make customers want more.
The best online marketing tools for this strategy deliver messages frequently and geographically. These include social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, so social media management is key. Google My Business can be very useful, especially if you are a local business. Finally, pay-per-click social advertising, such as Facebook ads, can help drive awareness and build a following.
In this scenario, a customer will be spending a significant amount of time researching his or her options. They will likely pass through several phases during their purchase decision making.
This is commonly called the purchase funnel. Therefore, you want to visible during all these stages. Your content will need to be relevant for each stage. Plus, you want to make sure your key point of difference is clear.
The tactics that are best for this small business marketing strategy are quite different from the low purchase involvement case. You need to create content for each phase of the marketing funnel. You will need relevant content for the awareness phase, the consideration phase, and the purchase phase. Each should build off the prior.
The best online marketing tools for this strategy are content marketing, search, and email. Each is geared to deliver messages when the customer is looking for it.
As such, you will want to ensure that relevant content is search engine optimized. You will want to compete for keywords that are relevant using paid search, such as Google AdWords. In addition, content marketing enables you to offer helpful, relevant content in exchange for an email address. Building an email list is a necessary tool for reconnecting with customers to reinforce your message.
This scenario can be challenging as you will need aspects of both the low and the high purchase involvement strategies. Both top-of-mind brand awareness and content marketing are both important. Although this customer may move more quickly through the marketing funnel, there will still be stages.
The best online marketing tools for this strategy are content marketing, search, and social— both organic and paid. Email and localization can be helpful depending on the decision and the duration of the funnel.
You will need to have multiple pieces of relevant content. You will need to create content that is engaging, memorable, and sticky. You will also need quality content that provides the customer with the information they need to make the decision. This is the hardest of all the marketing strategies since the mix of tactics will vary significantly from one small business to another.
I hope the post clearly explained the important role relevant content plays in delivering the best marketing strategy (or strategies) for your small business. Creating relevant content is much easier if you follow this process:
Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile
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