Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the literal backbone of the U.S. economy. According to the Small Business Administration, they represent 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms, 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs, and 49.2 percent of private-sector employment. It’s not uncommon for these folks to struggle with marketing.
The reason most small businesses do not have a marketing strategy is because it is perceived to take too much time and money without a guaranteed payoff.
Marketing’s number one job is to facilitate sales, generate revenue. Random marketing pieces and efforts might help here and there. Without a strategy the results will not build and generate long-term success nor will it be feasible to track what’s effective and what is not working.
Here are some steps toward a strategy to get serious about a marketing strategy.
- Find a guide (someone you trust) to help you ask and analyze marketing questions before you commit to anything. The guide is someone who understands marketing and can analyze your business culture and needs. Pay them a fee to work for you, not a firm or product. Think of the guide as a sort of general counse.
- Embrace the iterative process. This means it’s going to take time and will build in steps and go in directions based on the facts and what you learn. Do set limits on the time and money you’ll spend during the discovery process. It may include some experimentation with marketing tools. Always include metrics to evaluate outcomes. The research and discovery process should not take more than three months.
- Don’t buy anything you can’t make sense of without some built in metrics that show ROI. For example, site engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of digital marketing, but you need to be shown how it increases sales within three months.
- Start with the “old school” basics. Your marketing shouldn’t look old, but the tactics have not changed. If you sell a lot of pieces, parts, and products to other businesses, you need a well organized catalog. Your brochure should match your website look and feel. Don’t go to a presentation without a nice folder to hold a fact sheet and case study along with the bid – all of these items should carry a similar look that builds your brand.
Marketing is about tomorrow’s business. A marketing strategy is going to cost from a time and money stand point. If you’ve taken the time to get clear on what you need. The investment will payoff.
Step back and evaluate what your business uses to tell your story to customers. Does it speak clearly and professionally?
The words and images you choose to present your service or product are vital to success. West 65 Inc. helps small businesses and organizations create digital and print marketing content with proven return on investment. Give us a call at (336) 596-7514 or contact us by email.
Image is part of the Mendelbolt Fractal. Figure by Glenn Elert