What is the difference between confident entrepreneurs who lead growing businesses and business owners who are trapped in survival mode? It’s simple. A successful business almost certainly has a clear marketing strategy that guides their decision-making and makes everything they do more effective.
Unfortunately, many small business owners get caught up in maintaining their day-to-day business and forget to set aside time for strategizing. Selecting tactics takes time but will improve their performance overall.
At the end of the day, strategies are absolutely necessary for businesses that want to improve their functionality and grow. Owners need to realize that their marketing strategy is their foundation for creating awareness, generating interest, closing new sales and contributing customer engagement. Fulfilling all of these strategies will almost guarantee some sort of improvement for one’s business as well as gaining an advantage over their competitors. Another thing for business owners to take into consideration is their marketing strategy guides their company culture, their products and services mix and their pricing.
Not only should business owners consider their marketing strategy but there are other things that can craft a successful strategy. However, these five key decisions have helped small business owners grow their sales and create sanity in their business.
In order for business owners to have effective tactics, grow their business and have sanity in their working environment, they have to decide on the single, simple answer to each of these five marketing strategy questions. Of course, they cannot change their minds and instead stay committed to their answer.
Focus plays a huge factor and is always the difference maker between a business that grows profitably and one that never seems to gain any momentum. Instead of hoping that next email is going to work better, business owners should develop a clear focus and a realistic strategy.
Ask yourself who is your target customer?
The first decision in any marketing strategy is to define your target customer. “Who do you serve?” always needs to be answered clearly before you can execute any tactic effectively. What this means is you have to say “no” to other potential customers who might buy from you but who are clearly bad fits for your narrow focus. It may appear as a non-ideal thing to do, but it takes time to develop the discipline, but business owners can’t do effective marketing without it.
Focusing on a well-defined target may make you uncomfortable at first, but stay the course and follow through.
If business owners are spending time and money on marketing but your efforts are not driving enough sales, the problem is almost always that you haven’t narrowed your target market definition enough to be effective. The narrower a business owner defines their market eventually they can focus on those that they can best serve, which leads to more efficiency for an owner’s business.
What is a business owner’s category?
Their category is simply the short description of what business they are a part of. What few words would someone say to describe an owner’s business? For example, Starbucks is “high-quality coffee” Chipotle is “fresh Mexican burritos.”
Most business owners can’t resist over-complicating their company descriptions. This leaves people unsure of what you actually do, which can weaken their marketing effectiveness. Here’s a simple rule: If someone can’t clearly remember a business owner’s category description a month after meeting them, they were never clear about what the owner’s business does in the first place.
Clearly defining the category can amplify a business owner’s marketing and sales efforts. Think of what it would take to be the best – the leader – in your category. You’re not the leader? Then narrow your category definition (or your target market focus) until you are the leader. A focused laser can melt steel at a distance, but the same light undirected has no effect. Be laser-like in your focus.
What is your unique benefit?
A business owner’s unique benefit should highlight the one (or two) main things of their product or service that actually delivers (benefits) that targets what their customer really wants, not a long list of all the things their product does (features).
Who is the competition?
When someone is searching to buy a solution to a problem, they will quickly make sense of the alternatives to compare against, your competition. However, most entrepreneurs have not specifically defined who their real competition is and don’t focus their messages to create clear differentiation for their buyers. This frustrates the buying decision process and makes business owners marketing efforts appear weaker.
Business owners should have a clear mind about who their biggest competition is. If you are a tax accountant, is your competition really the other tax accountants in town? Or even other CPAs or financial planners? DIY tax software? Doing taxes manually? National tax accounting chains? Each competitor type would create different comparisons, so it’s ideal to narrow it down to one or two main competitor types.
What does your marketing strategy statement look like?
When you put the five key decisions of marketing strategy in a sentence form, it looks like this fill-in-the-blank statement:
An owner’s company name is the leading category for target customers that provides unique benefit. Unlike competitors, your company does unique differentiator.
Try it for yourself: Fill in the blanks to create the marketing strategy statement for your own business. Get some perspective from employees, friends and best customers. List all the possibilities and then make some decisions. You should feel clarity and power coming through. It will also show you a few things you could stop doing in your business that would create more focus.
Hopefully be realizing answering these marketing strategies you will see why it makes no sense to Tweet, to send a broadcast email or build a new website if you are not clear about your marketing strategy that has laser-like focus? Doing these tactics without a road map, your marketing strategy, will not deliver the right customers and will give you fewer sales than if you had invested the time to implement a focused marketing strategy.
Creating a clear marketing strategy is not what companies do after they become well-known, it’s what small companies do to grow and get bigger in the first place.
If you need help creating or executing your company’s marketing strategy, reach out to Digital Marketing Sapiens in San Antonio, Texas at 210-582-5842.