Small Business Marketing
Looking for a marketing agency that'll take you seriously, stick with you through think and thin, and have your back? Read on...
Whether or not you've worked with a marketing agency before, selecting the right partner for your small business can be daunting, overwhelming - and even a little scary.
You probably have 1001 questions you want to ask them. Whether they can deliver on what they say, what their process looks like and, of course, how much this is all going to cost.
But there's another question you should be asking yourself. A question that, we believe, is the most important of all: Do you trust them?
You're depending on a services provider to partner with you to help grow your business. Regardless of how impressive their offices or how awesome their website looks, you need to have total confidence in their approach, attitude, and professionalism. How do you know when you've struck gold? Don't sweat it, you'll know...
Looking to move things to the next level? Let us help.
What's The Plan?
We’re often asked “What’s the best marketing plan? What’s the exact mix of marketing tactics I need to implement, to assure business success?”
Is it an awesome website? Pay-per-click advertising? Social media? Content marketing? Videos? Podcasts? All of the above? Something else?
In reality, there’s no magic bullet or secret recipe to marketing a business. There’s no such thing as the “best” marketing plan.
How come? Because every business, regardless of size, is different. Any marketing plan worthy of the name must take into account WHAT you’re selling, HOW and WHERE you’re selling it, to WHOM , and for HOW MUCH .
Because the answers to these questions are different for every business, a marketing plan working for Company X may not work for Company Y. More importantly, any marketing plan needs to take into account the answers to these questions if it’s to be effective.
Any marketing plan needs to deliver on a business result. A clearly-defined, measurable yardstick to determine how successful the marketing plan proves to be. What that business result is, depends on what your plans are for the business, and what areas of the business take priority. Maybe you're looking to increasing sales leads. Maybe you need to increase conversations on existing leads. Maybe you want to increase visibility and awareness of your business to a particular audience group.
There’s no such thing as the ‘best’ marketing plan - only the ‘best’ for your business at this particular moment in time.
Probably the second most frequently-asked question we get: How much is a marketing program going to cost? Well, that depends on a lot of things.
Our fee structure is different to many agencies you'll come across. We don't have a set price list, since we don't believe one size can ever fit all. Moreover, we don't believe providing ‘marketing packages' is the right approach. If you’re looking for a unique and differentiated marketing presence, then a ‘package’ is the exact opposite of what your business needs.
Primarily, our fees are calculated on the underlying business issue the marketing plan is designed to address - the BUSINESS STRATEGY.
In order to give you an idea of our fees, we first need to know about your business. What you’re selling, to whom, for how much. We need to know what your current marketing plan looks like, how much you’re currently spending, and what return you’re getting on that investment.
We need to know what your longer-term goals are for the business. Are you looking to grow sales by X% by this time next year? How will your distribution channels evolve in the future? Is the ultimate plan to sell your business and retire on the proceeds? The more information we have, the better.
We believe any marketing action - regardless of size or cost - should exist as a way to help solve a particular business problem.
Trying to market your small business without a clear business goal in mind is like waving your arms around, hoping that someone sees you. That’s not marketing - that’s desperation.
Don't have a clear business strategy, or are unsure how much to budget? That's fine - we can help. We outline your options based on your particular business situation, so that you can make an informed decision.
Every business is different, so every marketing plan is different. But that doesn’t mean the methodology and process that gets us there changes that much.
Every one of our client engagements starts with these basic steps to get to a marketing plan:
1. Discovery and Diagnosis
We need to understand your market - everything starts and end with the customer, right?
We need to get our heads around the types of people you’re selling to. What gets them going, what upsets them. What problems do they have (in their lives, at work, etc. - wherever it is your product/service helps them). This helps create what’s called segmentation.
How do we do this? Through research. We arrange interviews with your key personnel, partners, and customers. Think you know why your customers buy from you? Ten will get you five that you don’t! One of the hardest things for a small business owner to accept is customers don’t look at what you sell in the same way as you do.
Once we’ve gone through this "Discovery" phase, we can make recommendations on how to move forward. Where best to spend your marketing budget to generate the most effective bang for your buck.
2. Marketing Strategy
From here it’s about building clear targeting, creating very tight and distinctive positioning to these audience segments.
Targeting your marketing is crucial for a small business. Even if you think your target market is “everyone” (hint: it never is) unless you have a limitless budget you’re going to waste a sizeable percentage of your marketing spend trying to convince people who don’t want to buy from you.
If you spread yourself too thinly you’ll end up making no impact - and no money.
What’s far better is to focus on a particular audience segment (or group of segments) for all you’re worth. If the segmentation work has been done properly, selecting the most appropriate audience groups should be a no-brainer.
Be a big fish, even if it's in a smaller pool. Your results will be better that way.
3. Tactical Execution
The more targeted you are, the clearer your positioning and differentiation, the easier it becomes to put together the tactical plan. Once you know who you’re targeting - what they’re looking for, how they expect to be spoken to, their shared attributes, etc. - the tactical plan almost writes itself.
It’s not specifically about content marketing, advertising, social media, and all that stuff. Such marketing tactics are important, but there are other, more important, things to think about.
The goal should be to create messaging and communication that reaches the target audience group through communication channels most appropriate to them. Jumping straight into tactics such as ads, videos, social media, etc. is a waste of time, money, and energy if such channels are not where your audience expect - or want - you to be.
It’s about the destination, not the journey. Less sledgehammer, more scalpel.
We Say What We Do,
And Do What We Say
We don't believe in proposing a marketing plan without knowledge of the financial position of the business. If we think your budget is unrealistic based upon the expected results, we’ll say so. We'd rather walk away from an opportunity than take a client's money and not deliver.
We don't see ourselves as "just another supplier" that creates branding, or websites, or ad campaigns, or whatever. We're much more than that. We’re a business partner delivering advice, consultation, and recommendations.
We provide intelligence, insight, and years of real world experience to help you make the right decisions on growing your business effectively and sustainably.