Creating successful marketing strategies is a common goal for many small business owners and if you’re like most small business owners, you have a “love/hate” relationship with your small business marketing. On one hand, you LOVE the promise of business growth and profits that a successful marketing strategy can deliver. On the other hand, if you’re like most small business owners, you HATE the process of trying to create such a marketing strategy.
Creating a successful marketing strategy CAN be simple and almost “easy” as long as you remember that “marketing” is merely communicating with prospective customers.
The Secret to Creating Successful Marketing Strategies is knowing the REAL reasons people buy!
Creating your marketing strategy is simply defining the many different ways you’re going to spread the word about what your business does for people. Most of your marketing is simply what you are doing because you can’t go out and meet each prospective customer face to face and explain it to them in person.
With that in mind, it’s not enough to create a marketing strategy that merely proclaims “here I am – do business with me” in your marketing messages. Truly effective marketing messages actually communicate clearly to prospective customers or clients that you have a solution for them.
If you’re a CPA – then your marketing’s job is to let people in your community know that if they need an expert in taxes and finance – you’re available. If you’re a chiropractor then your marketing’s job is to let people in the community know if they’re having back pain – you’re there to help.
If you’re the only game in town, then you might find your marketing is successful by merely announcing your presence. However, if there are other providers of the solutions you offer – then you’re going to have to “dig deeper” and creating marketing messages that not only identify the problems you solve but why your business is the one customers should choose you – and that’s assuming that your customers KNOW they have a problem.
Probably one of the most difficult marketing tasks any business owners faces is when the REAL problems your target audience is experiencing are identified and you discover that your prospective customers aren’t even aware that there’s a problem.
In my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results, I use the example of three different customers purchasing candles from a brick and mortar store to illustrate how the customer’s perception of the problem plays an important role in the purchasing decision. In the example, one customer is purchasing candles because she’s planning a romantic dinner for her spouse. Another customer is purchasing candles to cover up the horrible odor that is coming from under the sink. Yet a third customer is purchasing candled in preparation for a possible power outage when the next storm rolls through. Three different customers who are all buying candles, yet each is buying the candles to solve a different “problem” they’re having. The key is – each customer is AWARE of the problem and is actively seeking to solve it by visiting the store.
On the other hand, the task of marketing your small business is tougher when customers don’t RECOGNIZE that they have a problem that needs solving. When that is the case, it’s your marketing’s job not only to convey the fact that you offer a solution, your marketing strategy must do double duty and educate as well as motivate your customers into action. However, when this is the case – when you discover that you must help your target customers RECOGNIZE that they have a problem – then you are truly in a powerful position because your business is automatically “in the running” to win that business – because you’ve been part of uncovering the problem.
I recently had a conversation with the Karen Bumgardner of Better Organization and this is exactly an issue she sees in the marketing of her business. Fortunately, Karen has a perfect grasp on EXACTLY what problems her target audience is having and the solutions she offers – even though her prospective clients aren’t even AWARE of the magnitude of their “problem.”
Better Organization offers organization services to small business owners. Karen knows that a common trait among solo entrepreneurs is that they (we) often carry most of the information about our businesses “inside our heads”. (It’s how we can work with a desk that’s a mess – because it’s all “upstairs” in our heads and not written down on a piece of paper to be lost in a pile of papers!)
Documenting the tasks you perform within your business can be a daunting task – one you might not want to tackle – but it may be critical to the growth and development of your business. Karen points out that documenting the various processes and tasks you perform in your business is an essential part of expanding and growing from a “one man show” to greater success. In a nutshell, if you want your business to grow, you’d better get organized. While a visible “symptom” of that organization will be a neater and tidier work space, the effects of this new level of organization and structure are truly far reaching. Part of the organization process is documenting your business processes which can provide the foundation for higher sales, greater profits and increased productivity.
Notice, Karen truly has a great grasp of what she’s really “selling” to her prospective small business owning clients. She’s not selling small business owners a “tidier desk”, because that’s not worth a significant investment of either time or capital. Instead, she’s offering to help small business owners build the structural support they need to take their business to a level of higher sales, profits and productivity. The “messy desk” is just a symptom of a more serious, underlying problem.
If you’re a business owner, which “solution” is more appealing to you – a neater desk or a foundation for higher sales, profits and productivity?
Karen has a true grasp of what’s important to business owners and knows how her services can provide a generous ROI to the small business owner who wants to grow his or her business. Do you have a similar vision for your small business?