You manage a small business and its marketing. Maybe your marketing efforts are more ‘throw it at the wall and see if it sticks’ than a fine-tuned ROI machine. Let’s change that.
What is small business marketing?
The goal of small business marketing is to attract leads to your business. You attract leads by providing content online (e.g., on your website) that moves potential customers to take some sort of action.
Consider this: 12% of smaller organizations agree that creating compelling content for digital experiences is the most exciting experience for their organization (15% for overall B2B organizations).
These digital experiences can result in prospects filling out a form to try your free demo or signing up for blog alerts.
The leads’ information goes into your CRM then your sales team begins their sales process.
That said, when it comes to marketing, it can be tricky for small businesses to stand out in the crowded B2B space, often due to limited resources.
For one, small businesses must deal with tighter budgets and stretched-thin teams (like the business manager who also manages marketing — working with the digital marketing agency and freelance writers).
If you feel like you’re piecing your marketing together, read on to get marketing ideas for your small business, including five simple tips you can implement immediately.
How to Grow Your Small Business with Marketing
Whether you want to launch a short-term go-to-market product strategy or develop a long-view content marketing strategy, there are simple actions you can take now to get started.
1. Get to Know Your Ideal Customer
One of the advantages of small business marketing is that you know your best customers reasonably well.
Which customers value doing business with you and continue to renew subscriptions or buy additional products?
As you define that ideal customer, you’ll create a fictional representation of them or ideal customer profile (ICP). The persona will inform how you market your business to attract similar buyers.
A quick example: If you want to run ads on social media to promote your new product, you’ll know from your persona that your ideal customer uses LinkedIn and Twitter. Ads on Facebook or Instagram will not reach them.
2. Define Your Value Proposition
The last thing you want to do is blend in with similar businesses online.
That’s where your value proposition comes in.
Give target customers a reason to work with you, starting with the value you bring to their business. Keep in mind that your customer’s perceived ‘value’ isn’t the amount of money they pay you, but what they get out of their purchase.
For instance, if your software solution increases your customer’s sales by 400%, that’s value.
On the other hand, offering a customer more features for less than the competition (with only a small revenue uptick), that’s not ‘value.’
“Throughout your effort at finding and scaling your go-to-market, you need to be carefully studying your customers’ experience with the product,” wrote Matt Munson, CEO coach, and angel investor. “Are they sticking around?”
See Matt’s full comment, and read more on getting customers to stick around: Customer Experience Takes Loyalty Further in Go-To-Market Plays
Of course, your buyer needs to know the price. However, if they understand how working with you will improve their business, they’ll see the worth beyond the dollar amount.
So, what’s your value proposition? What do you do better than the competition — that you can communicate in your marketing?
If you’ve 10x’d a customer’s output, use that to ‘show’ your value proposition. Ask them to do a customer review or feature in a case study. That type of social proof will set you apart.
3. Use the buyer’s journey to guide your marketing
Prospects interact with your content at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Understanding what content the buyer needs at each stage adds gravitas to your marketing efforts.
Phase 1: Awareness
In the awareness phase, the prospect is gathering information on the problem they need to solve.
Let’s say they’re looking for a way to manage workflows, and you sell project management software. In this phase, they might read a blog post titled “How to Track Complex Projects on Your Phone.”
Phase 2: Consideration
If they’re in the consideration phase, they’re weighing up options and digging deeper into the research.
At this point, they register for your upcoming “Keep Every Project on Schedule and on Budget” webinar, handing over their email address (which goes into your CRM).
Phase 3: Decision
In the consideration phase, they want to take your tracking software for a test run. On your website, they fill out the form to get a demo.
Even after they become a paying customer, your marketing will continue to engage them (and subvert the competition’s efforts to pull them away).
Here’s a way to magnetize your marketing: “Land” Your Best Prospects with Landing Page Marketing
4. Choose the Right Marketing Tools for the Job (and Your Budget)
Let’s talk marketing tech. You need marketing tools to reach your modern customers. The trick is to get tools that fit your business and budget.
Start with your customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM solutions vary in price (some are free) and capability.
When leads fill out a form on your website, their information goes into your CRM. The sales team then accesses the marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to continue the sales process.
However, if the form fields are incomplete or incorrect, sales reps’ ability to move the deal forward will get difficult — a bone of contention that divides sales and marketing.
That’s where business AI and intent data come in.
For instance, you can simplify form fills on your website by letting B2B intelligence locate the prospect’s information, creating a complete customer profile for closing.
5. Make Your Marketing Manageable
As you dig into your marketing, you’ll find there are tons of options to consider. However, your long-term marketing goals require consistency to get results.
For instance, a blog is a great way to build your organic traffic and brand authority. It’s also a significant commitment, as a successful blog requires regular posting (you’ve seen the websites whose last blog post was two years ago).
With frequent, quality posts, search engines start to recognize your authority and reward you with higher search results rankings.
At the same time, an up-to-date, engaging blog will create a memorable experience for website visitors (i.e., prospective customers).
Questions to consider before you jump into a blog:
- Who will write the posts (and how often)?
- How will the blog align with company values and campaigns?
- Who will manage the uploading and search engine optimization (SEO)?
- How will it integrate with other digital channels and assets?
If you and your team decide to do a blog, over time, you’ll build a library of content that will attract visitors and elevate your brand.
Check out this content marketing toolkit: 10 Ways to Improve the Content Marketing You’re Creating
Next Steps: What Small Business Marketing Efforts Can You Do Now?
Ready to jump in? With these tips, you can transform your marketing from a ‘see what sticks’ approach and turn it into a manageable, productive system.
As you move forward, you’ll need to assess what’s working and what needs adjusting — that includes keeping prospects flowing into your business.