With so many options, it can be tough to find a marketing company for your small business. Here are four question to ask to cut through the clutter.
If you’re looking to find a small business marketing company, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the number of companies offering digital marketing services. I recently spoke about the different types of marketing consultants you can find for a small business, but that doesn’t answer the question of what is right for you. These four questions can help reduce that confusion, so you can confidently cut the clutter to find the small business marketing company that provides the best fit.
Marketing strategy is critical, and it is the backbone of any great marketing plan. Any good marking company can build a marketing plan. But what makes a “good” marketing plan? And how is it different from a “bad” one? Well, Hubspot writer Hollie Higa has a good article about this, but I wanted to summarize her thoughts and share our own on what separates a great small business marketing plan (and a great small business marketing company) from a mediocre one.
Every marketing plan must cover three basic things: target, message, media. Spending is a natural consequence based on those 3 choices.
If the targeting just covers demographics (age, gender, etc.), it is too superficial. As a result, it will likely underperform. A great marketing strategy forces you to understand what motives your target to act. What are the key emotions driving their behavior and choices? Remember, marketing at its core is about behavior change. Superficial targets leads to stereotyping, which can negatively impact your outcome.
I’ve discussed this in another post. A great marketing company can help ask the right questions so you know who your small business should be targeting. For example, if you have a women’s fashion boutique in Manhattan, you probably should better understand where she shops, how she shops, and what is motivating her to buy.
The message leverages this knowledge and offers a solution to those emotional needs in attention-grabbing, clear, and simple way. While this is true, your message also needs to differentiate you from the competition. A great marketing plan will force you to be explicit on your point of difference.
Lastly, media. Sending your message on the right platform at the right time requires knowledge into your media options. Selecting the best media platform is key, or all the work above will be ineffective at best or useless at worst. Broadly speaking, a great marketing plan covers three main topics: awareness, consideration, and action. However, a great marketing plan goes deeper. It provides a clear and well-defined target, with measurable awareness goals. Consideration is a function of relevance and by delving deeper than just the superficial, you have a better understand of what motivates your target. As a result, you greatly increase your likelihood of being successful in the consideration phase. Finally, it culminates in driving an action. Putting right message in front of your target at or near the moment of decision will help you encourage the action you desire.
This is where resources come into play, both in dollars and people. A great marketing plan prioritizes the tactics from the most impactful from the impactful. The more specific and targeted a plan, the better. Any firm can follow a few steps and seem strong from the outside. But the devil is in the details. In other words, a good marketing company knows your industry and your capabilities, while also helping you build the marketing plan that your small business needs and can execute.
Content marketing is about providing value. But, that the content is only valuable if someone reads it. Case in point, Neil Patel talks about power of storytelling in this great article on content marketing. Content marketing ensures your message is relevant with in the context of what your audience is reading, watching, etc. Telling a relevant story helps you achieve this goal. There are so many different forms of content marketing, be it blogging or social media or paid advertising or guerrilla campaigns, for instance. A great plan uses its deeper customer understanding to determine the best route. Your marketing effort is most effective when the brand message is relevant to the content being read or watched or heard. As a result, your message needs to be flexible enough so it can be tweaked so it is relevant to the context in which it is being seen, especially if you are using social media marketing.
Results based marketing should be the goal of any agency. However, it is important to note, that any type of marketing involves some risk. Even the best plans can fail to deliver the expected results. But, it’s only a failure if you don’t learn something from it. A great marketing company knows this and explains this to you upfront. Some marketing companies will gladly take your model without guaranteeing results. A great company is willing to share that risk because you both are likely to learn something from the experience. As a result, you both will be more successful in your next attempt.
A WordStream article from Brett McHale about starting a digital marketing company also is a great explainer for finding the right firm for your small business. The biggest point that McHale makes is about finding the right niche for a digital marketing agency, and as a result finding the right businesses to target. Some marketing companies look for clients of a certain size, or of a certain industry.
My team and I work primarily with local small businesses in New York City because that’s the area we know and the skills we have. In the same way, our tools and knowledge are tailored for our segment. Thus, we can build marketing campaigns tailored specifically for our geography. Different marketing companies have different goals, so make sure you select the small business marketing company that best suits your needs.
Here are the three things to keep in mind when searching for a marketing company to work with your small business:
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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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