I almost titled this “small business marketing strategies” because it would appease the algorithm gods. But I remembered, don’t market to algorithms. Next, I almost went with, “Grow Your Network.” But, that’s too corporate for me. It turns everyone involved into a number or a data set, and that’s not cool either. But here we are – “Grow Your Circle. Grow Your Small Business.”
A lot of my readers are wedding professionals and I can guarantee, each of them has heard the analogy of a ring being “never ending” because it’s in a circle. Well, the same holds true here. A network is just a bunch of points that connect to each other, but growing your circle invites others to join in growth together. Sometimes, we can forget how exactly that is done.
You see, growing your small business should always keep in mind that you need to grow your circle. Your circle includes your friends, families, customers, other vendors, and even your competitors.
When you think about the growth of your small business in terms of the size of you circle, it makes creating a marketing strategy significantly easier. It doesn’t matter if you are a real estate agent, coffee shop, wedding professional, or even in a professional business such as CPG. Creating a marketing strategy starts with thinking about potential buyers as people.
What is a Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy, as opposed to a branding strategy, is a plan to take your brand and put it out into the market. Think of brochures, websites, postcards, social media posts, landing pages on websites, even the subject lines that are written for email marketing campaigns…these are each tactics that are used in a marketing strategy.
The strongest brands will create a marketing strategy that is in line with their branding strategy – meaning they will only use channels of marketing that matter to their audience. However, not only will they do this, but they’ll also make sure they are present and in front of their potential customers.
Take, for instance, Honeybook.
Honeybook’s Marketing Overview
Honeybook is a CRM that is aimed particularly at creatives. Most notably, many wedding photographers will use this platform to manage their client relationships, payments, contracts, and schedules.
Honeybook knows that creatives have a tendency to be distracted and aren’t exactly type A people. This is reflected in their branding and their messaging. Honeybook has done a great job of marketing itself to creatives who are aware of the problem that they need to manage their clients effectively. They utilize strategic ad placements on search engines and YouTube and have great remarketing ads as well on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
They also know that their audience has some influencers in their space that use their software and have a trusting audience. While it utilizes social media marketing, it really only does so with its rising tide group (where it builds a tribe), and influencer marketing that allows other Honeybook users to sing their praises.
Now is as good a time as any to note that we’re Honeybook users ourselves and are Honeybook Educators, meaning we can get you 35% off your first year of Honeybook when you sign up with our link, or use the code bhuman* at checkout.
A combination of these marketing strategies has helped Honeybook double in revenue between 2020 and 2021.
Marketing Strategies for Small Business
Small businesses have enough going on as it is – so unless you are outsourcing your marketing *wink *wink – it’s best to start with small growth that can be done consistently. Here’s how we go about designing a marketing strategy for small and local businesses.
Understanding Your Audience
You can’t sell cat food to dog owners – unless they have a cat. Take it a step further, owners with big dogs don’t need to buy small dog food. Then you have customers who buy based on different income levels, beliefs, values, and so on. It’s important that you understand as much about your customers as you can before making any choice about a marketing tactic. This will also help you determine which marketing channels to use.
Developing your archetype is a wonderful way to understand your audience. It forces you to consider not only the demographics of the people you want to impact, but also the psychographics as well.
Focus on a Single Goal
Next, it’s important that you focus on a single goal. While you may want to increase sales calls, increase open rates on your email marketing, and get more features on other listings, it’s important that we keep things simple for small businesses.
For example, a digital marketing strategy for a coffee shop may include the goal to increase their visibility on social media. We’ll say that they’re a client of B.Human, and we’ve discussed that while posting on social media shows relevance, that’s really all it does. But customer experience is where the magic happens.
Because they know their audience is on Instagram, they put up signs that say, “Tag us in your stories to earn points for a free cup of coffee.” How they track those stories is another story (see what I did?). What does this do? It creates a simple loyalty program that invites their loyal customers and followers into the growth of their visibility, while utilizing their friends circle of influence rather than their own.
Hint: This is one of those restaurant marketing strategies that could be implemented in minutes and have major impacts.
Start With the Quick Wins
In our last example with the coffee shop, we not only showed an example of focusing on a single goal, but also how you can go for quick wins. The reason to start here is to start driving your momentum. Quick wins typically only result in short term results. But the momentum you can gain from them is absolutely paramount to driving your marketing strategies and efforts forward.
Here are a few marketing tactics to start with the quick wins:
- Reach Out to Your Existing Customers: Give your customers a personal call or email (not a templated email) and ask them if they need your product or service again, or ask if they have someone they’d recommend.
- Utilize Your Network: Your network is anyone you have a connection with – not just customers or subscribers. Friends, families, competitors, BNI members, Facebook Groups you are involved with…
- Use Free Promos: If you are looking to attract the eyes of all the fish, you need to put in the best bait. Depending on where you cast your net, you will either get all minnows with a few solid catfish in there, or you may get nothing at all. But it generates momentum. Developing an email marketing strategy for small businesses is simple for a freebie campaign. Use an EMS (Email Marketing System) to upload your customer email list, design an email template, create a promotion email, and send.
- Create A Website: If you don’t have a website, do this yesterday. It doesn’t have to be fancy either – just start with a home page, about page, product/service page, and contact page. There are plenty of website builders that make it easy for small business owners to start online marketing with a simple website.
- Invest in Advertising: Again, consider your audience. A wedding photography business may consider advertising in wedding blogs, but it’s important to understand the number of readers (not impressions) they attract. A better spend of advertising would be a wedding show – where you could actually be in front of couples getting married!
- Encourage Referrals and Word of Mouth: It’s the hardest to track, but referrals and word of mouth are the absolute best form of marketing. Many businesses say they don’t want word of mouth because of how hard it is to track. Personally, I believe all other forms of marketing should drive word of mouth.
- Improve Your CRM: Starting with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software may be the thing you need to do first. Learn birthdays, clean up bad automations, improve your contracts…improving your customer service is actually improving your marketing and how others speak of you.
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Creating Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Designing marketing strategies can be difficult for small businesses since they’re usually the most strapped for time. After all, there is the minutiae of administrative tasks that need to be completed each day, endless meetings, sales activity, and not to mention the product or services you sell.
Local marketing services and digital marketing agencies mainly solve the problem of time and knowledge for customers. B.Human does the same. But the problem with digital marketing today is that it focuses entirely on serving algorithms and datasets.
Look, the game is not changing. Algorithms are going to rule what is displayed on social media and search engines. Heck, AI may even take the place of search engines one day. But the one thing none of this will replace is connection.
Our idea of a great website is one that helps connect viewers to the business. When it comes to SEO, we do it great, but it’s secondary to distributing the content ourselves without the need for search engines. And email marketing? What if your brand was so strong, you didn’t have to A/B test subject lines and people opened your emails simply because they love your brand?
This isn’t work that is done overnight – but it is something we can do. We can help your brand be more human. But it starts with saying hi.