Large Business vs Smaller Business Marketing Strategies
When you’re a smaller business owner trying to figure out your marketing strategy, it’s easy to look at the other guys and say “THAT’S what we need to do!” However, the problem is that “the Other Guys” you are looking at have different objectives than you. Not only that, they have a much larger budget and a larger audience than you do at the moment. So how are you going to compete?
Typically what small business owners do is take what everyone else is doing, and try to copy that. But as a small business owner can you really pay $1 million for 30 seconds of ad space on TV during the Super Bowl? Probably not. Not only that, but is that the most viable option for your business? Unlike a larger business you may only have a certain amount set aside for marketing. And it’s important to make sure that you get a good value to price.
What ‘The Other Guys’ Do
It’s important to keep in mind that larger businesses have a different plan than smaller businesses do for marketing. For one, they, more than anything, need to typically make sure their board of directors are appeased. Aside from that, staying ahead in the market, getting their boards approval, winning awards, retaining relevance are all up there on the list.
Look at Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles, and it’s more about competition, as well as making a profit. How so? Fun fact: consoles are sold at a loss typically the first couple of years in their lifespan (with the the exception typically of Nintendo, but I digress).
So what’s the difference in priority for smaller business owners? Making a profit is #1. If you don’t make a profit now, then relevance and all those things won’t come later! That means smaller businesses strategy has to be different than a larger business. Your sole focus is to turn a profit. The $10,000 you have for marketing, is but a drop in the bucket to the Big Guys. They are more focused on getting their name to whomever, on wherever, to whatever they can so that you remember them later. This is usually called mass marketing.
One good lesson from that however, is they are not using marketing to make a sell, but to bring recognition, to sell later. We will talk more about that in a bit. Think about how many times you have been driving on the freeway and seen a McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A sign. You may not have stopped at those places right then. However, if you drive pass that sign enough times, the next time you are hungry you may remember that there is some deep-fried goodness on exit 32.
Now, don’t hear me say ‘Never do mass marketing and don’t follow what Big Business is doing’. I am saying that right now, you probably can’t. McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A and Nike etc…have budgets for billboards alone in their marketing. You probably have enough for 1 maybe 2 billboard. And unless you are a local shop it might not get you good enough reach. If you spend all your money on that, you better hope that all your customers are going to drive by it!
What You Should Do
So how can smaller businesses create a great marketing strategy that can bring a good return? Simple:
- Understand your audiences problems and so
- Position yourself as the authority with a plan who leads them on a journey
- That results in solving their problem and brings success for your client.
Let’s go ahead and break these down a little further
Understand Your Audiences Problems
Every business exists to solve a problem, some have evolved to create problems that they then solve (*cough* I’m looking at you Apple headphone jack *cough*). Much like a movie or a great book when we meet the protagonist of the story find that they have a problem (they want to the Imperial Academy), but unfortunately they have a problem (Uncle Owen won’t let him until next season). Must like our favorite soon-to-be Jedi, our potential clients also have a problem.
And it’s our job to help them solve that problem. We do this by narrowing down our target audience. Instead of being all things to all people, we are rather focused on a smaller segment. This will help us narrow down our audience and help us focus our marketing strategy more effectively.
Let’s say we make bikes, but not just any bikes, we make e-bikes, and e-bikes that are easy to maintain and custom-made to the client. For this product you probably don’t want to target dirt bike enthusiasts, but rather look at those 20-37 year olds adults who live in the city, with lots of traffic, and must commute to work, and are conscious of being good stewards of the earth and its resources. Now you have a narrower target market.
So you look at what this segment’s problems are and you target them by labeling their problems, and even giving them a nudge to really make them feel that pain point. It is important to note here that you are NOT lying, or manipulating them in ANY WAY (if you are shame on you and that is NOT what you are supposed to do). You merely must just help them label their problems and feel it so they can say ‘Ya that is what my problem is exactly!’ and then they can lean in to what you have to say with captive ears.
When you label your potential customer’s problem you are positioning yourself as someone who empathizes with them and says ‘Yes, I understand’. Which goes a long way in helping build trust with your potential customers. Just like our favorite Jedi had a problem he needed someone outside of himself to help him with his problem, he needed a figure of authority who could lead him to a better result in his life than where he was currently at.
Which is how we are going to position ourselves, as a Guide with a Plan for the hero, our client.
Position Yourself as the Guide with a Plan who leads them on a Journey
When you define who your target is and do some research for finding and understanding their problems, then you can effectively market to them. When you have identified them, then the next step you have to take is pretty simple, or at least it is supposed to be simple but we tend to make it more complicated than it needs to be. What do you have to do next?
Tell them what you do.
So it’s simple to do, but you have to make what you do simple to understand.
Recently, Microsoft started showing a commercial for their Zoom competitor Microsoft Teams. In that commercial they talk about how Microsoft Teams has helped them weather the storm of COVID-19. However, in that commercial near the beginning there is an almost throwaway blink-and-you’ll-miss-it line they say that summarizes succinctly what they do:
“We design and manufacture low-maintenance bicycles, for everyday people.”Microsoft Teams – Where’s there’s a team, there’s a way
This is a textbook definition of an elevator pitch one-liner. They described the what they do, and did it simply. They also talked about the problem in their one-liner, did you catch it? It’s the ‘low-maintenance’ part. Who is their target audience? ‘Every day people’. What is their authority? ‘We design and manufacture’. They have the essential ingredients to build curiosity and make the potential clients lean in.
Im an everyday person. I just want to have fun and have a good bike.
Getting your audience to lean in is the goal of your marketing strategy. Most small businesses think that getting a sale is the goal of marketing, but really the goal is to build a relationship that leads to a sale. In telling your audience what you do in simple terms helps to pique their curiosity and allows you to position yourself as the authoritative guide who can potentially help them solve their problem.
Building a relationship is essential in helping convert visitors into clients. You build a relationship with a potential customer by helping them along in their journey. They have a problem, you have a solution, and help them overcome their problem by guiding them to solve their problem. You want to position yourself as person who can be trusted, and you do that by giving them value. Even before they are a customer.
A great and effective way to do this is by using a Lead Generator, or sometimes referred to as Lead Magnet, as part of your marketing strategy. A Lead Generator is a great way to give value to your potential client by helping them see you as their guide. An example of a Lead Generator is a PDF ‘whitesheet’, a free course, free download, free webinar, you get it. Anything that gives value to your visitor to help them start to solve their problem and positions you as an authoritative figure that can help them achieve success.
Another effective way is Lead Nurturing. Remember when I said that the point of advertising isn’t to make a sale? Well, the point of advertising is to nurture a relationship of trust. You can build trust by giving value to your potential client constantly. One way you can do that is through Content Marketing and Email. By writing (as well as creating videos and podcasts) on your website you can give value to your customer constantly. This helps them to lean in more to what you are saying and how you can help them.
An excellent way to do Content Marketing is also through Email. In fact, what you can do is allow your Lead Generator to also sign them up for your email newsletter. Through Email you can give actionable helpful tips that keeps you at the forefront of their minds.
Creating an email list is of utmost importance and goes a long way in helping you turn visitors into clients. Not only will email help you connect more with your potential clients it also helps boost your sales ratio as well as help gain new leads through satisfied clientele referrals. It is also important to look into automating your email list.
Throughout all this phase, you are showing your potential client that you are a trustworthy guide that can be trusted to lead them to success. This phase of your sales funnel is where you are building trust by giving value. You must remember that most of the people that visit your site are not ready to buy, but if you can show them some value and spark their curiosity and get them to lean in, then in 2 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, yes even a year from now, when that problem becomes to big they will reach out because you will be at the forefront of their mind and you have shown them value time and again.
Find your audience and label their problem and show them how you are a trustworthy guide with a plan. Which leads to our next and last phase of our marketing strategy and is also the most crucial.
That results in solving their problem and brings success for your client.
Making a profit is probably the most important thing that your business needs to do. But the thing that your business needs in order to continue is bringing fulfillment to your client by helping them achieve success. I would argue that not only does client satisfaction play a big role but even more crucial role in the success of your business is the fulfillment it brings you in helping others achieve success.
The whole point of you researching your target audience’s problem and then guiding them to solve that problem is because that is what brings you joy. You may say it’s your Calling, or your Why, or the thing that drives, or even your lot in life. Whatever it is you call it, it brings you joy and fulfillment to help others succeed, because you have succeeded and want others to enjoy that for themselves.
Be The Guide
You are not just giving value away in hopes that you turn a profit, but because you want others to find fulfillment and your fulfillment is in helping others. When your client succeeds, you succeed. That is why it is so important to believe in your product and yourself.
As their guide, you get to show them the way through the swamp because you have already been there. Your whole purpose is to show your client success, so they can show their clients how to succeed and so on. The whole point of your lead generation and lead nurturing as well as email marketing campaign is to give value to your potential client and help them see that you have a plan that can help them. Again, you want to keep it simple.
Just like when you tell them what you do. Again, like when you label their problem you also want to label the steps EVEN if they are obvious. You want to make it so that your potential sees that and says ya obviously, and they realize that it’s so easy they can’t mess it up! By this time you have shown them you are trustworthy, and that you can lead them to success. In order for people to follow you you have to have a plan, but you must also have a clear call to action.
In other words, after telling them what they need to do, tell them what they need to do next in order to succeed. When you call your potential client to action you are telling them they have a choice. They can continue the way they are going or they can step into success. You must also show them what life will continue to be like if they do not get off the road they are now traveling.
The way they are trying or have tried might not be working or has brought limited success, but you want to show them true and lasting success, so they must also see what failure to follow looks like.
You want to help solve their present problem and also help them avoid future problems.
As your prospect moves through the sales funnel it is important to remember that it make take a while. They may see your website and then come back and then come back again later after reading another post and then sign up for your lead generator because they are interested in seeing what you have to say in your webinar or guide, and then they start receiving your emails. And that step in your funnel may take a while as we mentioned earlier, but it’s important to never stop giving value.
Obviously it’s important to make sure that the person is actually a qualified lead and not just someone nosing around. You can find this out by spacing out some emails where you are offering a deal, or importantly asking for the sale. After a while you will find out if they are a quality lead or not. But regardless, you are always providing value to your lead. Always look to help first.
In this post I touched on a few different things such as email campaigns, sales funnels, authority, Content Marketing, Lead Generation, even website design. I will be going over more of those in more detail in other posts later on.
Just remember that Large businesses have a different goal than you do as a smaller business. Use your flexibility and ability to maneuver faster to your advantage. Figure out ways to get prospective clients to raise their hands and say Ya I need this.
As part of what I do here at Reanimation Design is collaborating and helping businesses design or redesign their website to make it more effective and help build up traffic.
One of the ways we briefly touched on in this post was your website. If your business has a website (yes, you DO need a website NOT just social media), then you need to make sure and download the guide I created to make sure your website is effective. I lay out 5 Essentials your website needs to have to in order to better turn visitors into clients and make sure it is an effective part of your marketing strategy. Go check it out now and audit your website!
I also help with creating a clarifying marketing message to help your turn visitors into clients. if you are tired of pounding your head against the wall to get traffic to your website and need a website that helps drive traffic and helps converts visitors into clients, schedule a call with me today!
It’s super simple: We talk, I Build, and You Grow! I love being able to listen to your story and how you help people and how I can be a part of that by helping you create an effective and clear website and small business marketing strategy. Schedule a call with me today and let’s start turning more visitors into clients!