Starting and operating a small business is one of the most exciting experiences. Whether chasing the dream of being your own boss or seizing a new opportunity, marketing is essential for small business success. Here are five fundamental marketing activities to position your small business for success.
1. Focus on Attracting Only Your Dream Clients
One of the essential things to marketing your small business is to make sure you are attracting your ideal clients. I call them your Dream Clients! The very first step in attracting your Dream Clients is to stop and define who they are.
You’ve likely heard the very famous quote, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one” by Meredith Hill.
And how many times have you heard Seth Godin’s quote, “Everyone is not your customer”?
I must admit that every time I come across them, I wince for a tiny second. These quotes are stark reminders of a truth we often forget.
As business owners, we are so passionate about reaching new clients that we think we need to shout it out to everyone and everywhere. If this is hard for you, take heart, you are not alone and will find great encouragement and direction in the following equally famous quote by Andrew Davis.
Now stop and ask yourself, “Who is my ‘someone’?” Who is my Dream Client? Once you know “who”, then you can develop a marketing strategy that best attracts your actual Dream Client to your business.
2. Create a Dream Client Persona
One of the first things I do with my strategy clients is to help them develop their Dream Client Persona, often called a client avatar. Your avatar is a fictional character that embodies the characteristics of the best clients within your target market.
Below is a quick exercise to help you create your Dream Client persona. If you have employees, have them do it with you to gain the most insight.
If you already have a client avatar, revisit it often to keep it in alignment with your ideal client’s behaviors and services. If you’ve changed or expanded your services in response to the current pandemic, it’s time to update it.
Also, some businesses have multiple divisions and services with different target markets. If this is you, create and name a Dream Client Persona for each.
3. Determine What Your Dream Client Most Desires
Now that you know exactly “who” you should be talking to, capture and keep their attention with what they most desire. Also, think about the information, services, products, and offers that matter most to them. What do they most crave and value?
Ask yourself questions such as:
- Is this the information that “Tyler” is searching for on Google?
- Would this product solve one of “Megan’s” most significant problems?
- Will this offer align with “Mark’s” priorities and budget?
- Am I using words that resonate with “Michelle” vs. insider jargon?
- Does “Chris” prefer to shop in person, order by phone, or online?
- Is my location convenient for “Kristine”?
4. Market Your Business Where Your Dream Client Hangs Out
Now that you know to whom you are speaking and what they need to hear from you, show up where they are and in the way they like to communicate.
Ask yourself exploratory questions such as:
- Does “Tyler” rely on Google to find local businesses? Does he immediately call them or visit their website first?
- Does “Megan” find decor ideas on Instagram, Pinterest, or both? Does she follow blogs to stay current on the latest design trends?
- Where does “Mark” find his most qualified B2B contacts?
- Does “Michelle” avoid social media due to privacy concerns and prefer email newsletters?
- Does “Chris” love to watch YouTube videos or listen to podcasts?
- Does “Kristine’s” company allow marketers to visit in person?
Armed with a deeper understanding of your avatar’s values, preferences, and habits, you can best adapt your marketing strategies to meet their expectations.
5. Use an Email Marketing Management Program
Before you ramp up marketing in any capacity, make sure you have a reliable way to stay in touch with your Dream Clients once you connect.
Email is a lifeline to your Dream Clients and the leads you work hard to get. Not only does everyone have one, but email marketing is the most cost-effective marketing. You can do it from your phone or computer and use it to nurture and maintain relationships–any day, any time.
Keep in mind, even with social media; the ultimate goal is to get them off the platform that you “borrow” and eventually to the platforms you “own” (i.e., website and email list) so you can establish direct and sustainable communication.
Still not convinced? Think about the emails you get every day. How many are from brands, stores, and websites you love? They always ask for your email to keep in touch. They are not relying on paid social media, radio ads, or billboards to stay connected with you.
Also, if you are a business that traditionally relies on face-to-face marketing and in-person customer follow-up, an email management system is vital. As you know, from the past year of pandemic precautions, unexpected circumstances can severely reduce in-person marketing and sales follow-up opportunities.
The good news is there are some excellent email management programs designed especially for small and solo businesses.
If you want to level up your email marketing, look for a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that combines email management with your marketing, sales, and support processes.
On a final note, be sure to review email software programs for CAN-SPAM Act compliance features. If in the healthcare field, use software that is HIPAA compliant.
Whether your business is a start-up or established, these steps will help you create and maintain a solid marketing foundation for years to come. It is important to revisit each of them at least annually to ensure your marketing strategy, and management systems align with your growth or changes in your business goals, services, and dream clients.
If all of this sounds like a new language, and you feel overwhelmed or intimidated, that is entirely normal. It probably is, as most small business owners do not have a marketing background.
No worries, we are here for you. We can walk through all of this together. Get in touch to get started.
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