Small Business Building Blocks – Marketing
I have spent 40 years working with small business owners in the UK, the US, South East Asia, and Australia.
If there is one thing I have learned about growing a small business is that, anywhere you are, a successful small business owner needs to develop six things within their business.
They may have started with an idea or a skill, but ultimately what sets a successful small business owner apart from an unsuccessful one is that they learn to develop these six factors over and above any idea or skill.
I call them The Six Business Success Factors (and further below you can download my free Guide on how you can follow a roadmap to develop yours).
The Six Business Success Factors are:-
- The Act of Leadership
- The Practice of Planning
- The Logic of Marketing
- The Pursuit of Customer Fulfilment
- The Attainment of Operational Efficiency
- The Mastery of Finance
However, this week I wanted to focus on the lifeblood of a small business – the systems that drive potential customers to your door to buy from you.
I wanted to discuss the Logic of Marketing.
This is one of The Six Business Success Factors because you cannot be a success without an effective marketing system.
It is called “The Logic of Marketing” because the process of marketing to your target market is a logical step by step process.
If you want to learn about all of The Six Business Success Factors, you can download the free Guide here, but carry on reading to dive into The Logic of Marketing.
Marketing is a “must”.
You cannot hope to grow a successful business without marketing systems.
You can just open your business and wait.
Eventually, customers will find you. Over time, you will develop a list of loyal and repeat customers.
But sitting passively, you will never grow to build that business you dreamt of because it will just develop as and when people find you.
Your business growth depends on revenue – not just a good product. No matter how good your product is, without revenue, your business will stagnate.
Sustainable, increasing revenue comes from marketing, which drives customers to your door.
All successful businesses develop and maintain a marketing plan with clear strategies to find leads and convert them into customers.
The Logic of Marketing
Marketing is a logical process.
You follow that process one step at a time and each step takes you logically to the next step.
Here are the simple steps you take to develop your marketing plan:-
- Identify what is your real product
- Identify who is your real market
- Make sure that your business is organised to meet your market’s requirements
- Calculate a selling price that becomes a marketing strategy in itself
- Identify your appropriate marketing activities
- Develop your campaign plan
- Finalise and implement
Here is how the logic works.
Once you understand what your product really means to customers, you can design marketing messages about those benefits.
Understanding what the real benefits are to people who buy your product, you can define exactly who would benefit from them as a no-brainer, and target that group as low hanging fruit.
Knowing who you really need to sell to, you can review all aspects of your business from appearance to customer touch-points to see if your whole business appeals to that group.
Included in this is to ensure that your selling price meets the demands of your target market – not too expensive, not too cheap.
Knowing all of this, you can decide where to go to reach the target group – in trade shows? In social media? Where do they hang out?
Having chosen the most appropriate marketing activities to reach out to your target group and send the right messages about benefits to them, you can now put a 12-month campaign plan together so that you are consistent.
Your real product.
Many business owners think that the product they are selling is the tangible “thing” they hold out to customers – a product like an electric drill, or a service like the preparation of a tax return.
But that’s not their real product.
The real product that they are selling is the meaning the tangible “thing” means to the customer.
So a hardware store selling an electrical drill is not selling an electrical drill – their real product is a way to make a hole in the wall quickly and without the mess.
An accounting firm selling tax preparation services is not selling a tax return – they are selling peace of mind and the chance of a refund.
Once you realise what your real product is, you can decide who best to sell that real product to, and what message to send to them about the benefits they will receive.
Your real market.
Your real Target Market is not all of the people you have been selling to.
And you certainly shouldn’t be selling to everyone.
If all your customers represent a wide market, then some of them only need your product now and then or hardly ever. Others are interested in parts of what benefits your product gives them, so they’ll buy when they want only those benefits.
However, mixed up in that wide group (and also not even anywhere within your customers) are a group of people who need exactly what your real product gives them. These are the no-brainer leads because they already want all of what you sell.
Someone who wants to hang one picture on the wall needs the cheapest of electrical drills which he will buy from you only once and use only once. But someone who always wants a hole in the wall quickly and without the mess will buy a better drill – and the accessories, and come back when nit is worn out.
A client who wants three years’ late tax return prepared isn’t looking for peace of mind. So he comes once in a blue moon when he gets a letter from the Tax Office. What the accountant ones is the person who comes every year because he’s worried about being late, and once satisfied will keep coming back for more tax advice – just to get peace of mind.
It’s hard to sell consistently to people who are only partially interested – but easy to sell to the no-brainers if only you could find enough of them.
Can you meet their requirements?
Your business, after all these years, could be set up by default to cater to everybody.
This means, for example, when someone walks in to look for a drill, you show him a whole rack of choices.
When a client walks in, you don’t bother telling him he doesn’t have to worry because you’ll look after everything – you just tell him when his tax return will be ready.
In both these examples, your real customers are not especially looked after – so those who are not already clients don’t look for you.
You needed to look at your whole business to see if it is attractive to your real Target Market – from logo to physical appearance to customer service to delivery to the price!
Use the selling price as a marketing strategy.
Accountants will be up in arms right now.
I’m not saying to sell at a loss just because your Target Market demands it!
No, but your selling price has a bearing on whether it meets the customer’s requirements.
Would you walk into a Two-Dollar Store looking for an expensive watch?
Would you walk into an expensive jeweller and look for a Mickey Mouse wind-up watch?
If you did find a range of super-cheap Mickey Mouse watches in an expensive jeweller, what would you think of that jeweller’s “brand”? Would you still like to buy an expensive watch from them?
Identify your appropriate marketing activities.
Now you know what you are really selling and who you are selling it to, as well as your messaging and branding, you can decide what are the best marketing activities that would:
- give the right message
- to the right people
- in the way they like to hear it.
If you are a hardware store selling drills to people who use them often, don’t sponsor your local school’s carnival. Instead, set up a store at the next Homebuilders Expo.
If you are an accountant selling peace of mind, don’t give out pens with your name on them – go to a business conference and give a presentation about how an accountant can help businesses and individuals keep up to date and have things done for them when they are due.
Develop your campaign plan.
Now you have all the information you need and you have decided on messaging and where to give u=it out, it’s time to be consistent!
The only way to consistently market is to schedule what you are going to do at least 12 months’ ahead.
Ensure you have an appropriate marketing activity schedule every month. Even better, schedule activities in the order of:-
- Finding leads – bring your business to the world of those who need it but don’t know you exist
- Warming leads – building interest in those you have attracted by showing what your product can give to them
- Converting leads – making the offer or entering into sales conversations that specifically show the lead what’s in it for them.
Implement and adjust.
Like any plan, you can’t set and forget if you want results.
Plans are as good as the results you get from implementing actions, so if something doesn’t work the way you expected, you need to try something else.
So, once the plan is completed you need to monitor results as you implement, and if some action is not working, you need to review and adjust to meet your objectives.
Following a marketing planning process like this is logical and simple. If you want to know more about the marketing process, you can buy my book called SMART Marketing – 7 Easy Steps to More Sales or you can download three free training modules on marketing by going here.
You cannot begin to build a successful business without implementing the third Business Success Factor – The Logic of Marketing.
Download my free Guide called The Six Business Success Factors to learn more about all six business success factors and how to grow your small business successfully.
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