By Nia Pearson

As a small business owner, it is essential to always explore opportunities for growth. By aligning business goals with marketing efforts, you can reach more clients and customers faster to drive your desired action.

“Effective marketing to a small business is as important as oxygen is to the human body.” – Campbell Grey

At Marketing 4 Real Results, we communicate with hundreds of small business owners monthly and decided to share some critical points in this article that have had a positive impact on their bottom lines. Since we have clients at different operating levels, we have to be nimble in our approach to consulting. Some small business clients are ready to fly and others require us to establish a foundation for growth.  We enjoy both and understand that marketing is everything. This includes, employees, website, storefront, branding, social media, software, etc. Each have a central role in helping customers and prospects connect and engage across multiple channels, devices or platforms.

With so many levels to consider in developing a marketing strategy, the beginning steps are almost never the same for two small businesses. Keep in mind that communication has always been at the heart of a business. Take your pick of industry, and synchronizing messages, building customer journeys and maintaining a profound message will always deliver marketing success stories.

  • The most common mistake that most small business owners make is not having a clear understanding of “who” is the target audience. A marketing campaign without a target audience is set to fail. Getting this right will help you to more successfully reach, connect and convince the people you want to buy your products/services.
  • Next, identify where you can reach them online and offline.
  • Then, how many interactions/hits will it take and the cost to get their attention?
  • After getting their attention, “when” are they likely to make a purchase? Commonly known as customer acquisition cost, which is very important to your overall marketing budget.

Note:Use different marketing for different target customers.  You should not use the same messaging for baby boomers as used for millennials. Yes, both may use the same products/services in many cases, but the way to reach them with your marketing messaging is much different.

Best approach to get your audience to make a purchase:

Remember that your audience must identify with your products/services. They are looking for you to show them “why”. Guide them with passion and purpose. Your marketing messaging should fit who they are or aspire to be and most importantly fill a need with innovative suggestions or products, and create a need.

Important Note:  In general a first-time visitor to your website, store-front, event, social media channels will not automatically buy from you. That is were the significance of having a customer journey in place matters most.

B2B sales cycle is more of a solution to a problem and the decision making process is more in-dept. It is important that your marketing touch points are actively engaging throughout the sales cycle.  Tactic: By highlighting pain points you can speed up the need for your solution.

B2C sales are transactional.  The best way to maximize this engagement is repeat business 1) customer loyalty 2) volume sales.

Marketing Tips to Increase Sales:

  • Offer something FREE
  • Start a referral program
  • Add a customer loyalty program
  • Include a deadline in your offering

 A good Call-To-Action (CTA) can help you convert more sales.

The best way to get something is to give something. Sharing valuable information with your target audience/s is always a good idea.

Top call-to-action phrases:

  • Call Now
  • Get started today
  • Email us now with questions
  • Limited seats available
  • Only 5 seats left
  • Want more information? Contact – 800.GET.INFO!

If you want to take a deeper dive into any of the items listed above, schedule a FREE consultation here https://calendly.com/niap/15min.

Since there are so many variables in the marketing process, both traditional and digital it is important to move forward with planning marketing strategy using data.  Data helps to align marketing and sales efforts to create a deeper connections. Online and offline activities can create new business opportunities, generate more revenue and predict future trends and optimize current operational efforts. The data produces actionable steps that omit gut feel decision making.

Measuring every action your small business takes can be daunting, but is highly rewarding. Your customer service, marketing, operations, human resources etc. should all be evaluated often.  Important NOTE: If you have not changed your business and marketing plans in more than 12 months, it is highly likely you may be wasting time and resources.  By not evaluating these actions,  your best performing lead generation actions are not being optimized, which is a missed opportunity.  If you are not getting the business you want and hoping that things pick up or change without major modifications, that is likely not going to happen.  Proper planning is a must.  There are many case studies available online of small businesses, in many cases franchise owners, that fail or go out of business, due to lack of foreseeable marketing planning.  You can not solely rely on the franchise brand awareness to grow your business.  In many cases, franchises do not support local marketing efforts, so a small business owner will need to add a data component to measure their options and determine the market potential.  For the right business, franchising can be an extremely lucrative opportunity, however, marketing mistakes can easily hurt your business.  Remember the franchise is marketing for the overall Corporate brand, not your local market.

Local marketing  is a great way to gain customers that many small businesses overlook. Don’t get caught up trying the strategies of Fortune 100 – 500 companies and pay close attention to “local” marketing and SEO efforts.  By deciding to focus on actions that have the ability to generate consistent organic sales, and avoid the actions that do not, is smart business. The point here is to stop wasting time and money and start operating efficiently to meet market demand and stay ahead of your competition.

As we continue to consider data we must consider brand awareness. Data can be quickly measured; brand equity is a bit more difficult to track.  Yes, you can do a survey to gain insight on the familiarity respondents have of your brand, and that will give you data but there may be some bias that needs to be accounted for. Generally, responding to surveys depend on time allocation, mindset, compensation etc.  The best way to understand brand equity is to understand that the marketplace is the final determinate. For example in the real estate industry, the highest price a home sells for is the price a potential buyer is willing to pay. This is referred to as fair market value (FMV). There are many approaches to consider in this scenario, although ultimately if the buyer is willing to pay more, that is the true value of the home. Yes, real estate appraisals and recent comparable sales  are the data components, then we have to account for the emotional component especially in the residential real estate.

There is some reasoning that is self-defined based on comparable sales but the emotional aspect holds a value that cannot be predicted fully with data.  To fully understand, brand equity we must consider perception/perspective.  Building a brand requires time that does not pay the bills, so this metric is secondary in the overall evaluation of a business and its day-to-day efforts.

With the advancements of technology we have access to many tools to ensure data is clean, complete and actionable.  Any data that tells a story about your audience is a good metric to review and track. Before taking action on a metric it is best to have a clearly defined business goals to associate.  A good example of this process is a Black Friday promotional campaign.  If you want to offer a discount for your product/service how do you determine the discount percentage?

Would You?

  1. Randomly select a percentage
  2. Evaluate a previous promotion
  3. Align the promotional campaign with data related to a business goal

Example: If you sell on average 1m widgets per month and your average throughout the year has been was 1.1m widgets. Since you have missed your targeted sales goal month over month, you may want to be more aggressive during this promotion.

The answers can be derived from data..

  • How many widgets need to be sold to meet or exceed your annual business goals? That is your targeted number of “widgets” for the Black Friday promotion.   Do not randomly select percentages or number of widgets; align all efforts to business goals to stay on track. Then get your team marketing and sales team members on board with the how and why.

When you ask your team to meet a specific business goal with an explanation, they are more likely to respond positively and with a determined sense of purpose.  The omit the thought of added pressure, instead the mindset is to support a business goal.  Sounds like a good idea right? Try it and let us know how it goes here.

High performing companies make critical decisions based data and alignment of business goal.  If you want to continue to grow your small business, this is a habit you should be started ASAP.

What Matters: Reduce friction and improve sales by aligning your marketing efforts with data and make success easier to obtain.

Optimize– Company information and contact data should be accurate and actionable.

Analyze– Company data should discover your primary profiles and best market opportunities.

Target– Audience acquisition, account based marketing and digital marketing efforts.

Terms to Remember

What is ABM?

Account Based Marketing Companies To Consider

6sense

  • Uncover, prioritize and engage demand with the 6sense predictive Account Based

Trustradius.com

  • Identify accounts and contacts
  • Understand audience segments
  • Manage multi-channel engagement
  • Align sales and marketing efforts

Target: Audience Acquisition

Build persona-based profiles and align them to your online and offline marketing activities.

Data Companies

Infousa

  • Best In Class Data for Small-Mid Size Businesses (SMB’s)

Arcadia Data 

  • Promotes greater agility (i.e., less IT intervention) for faster time-to-insight.
  • Delivers faster responses and higher user concurrency on larger data volumes (no scale/cost pains of in-memory systems).

InfluxData 

  • Source time series database, for monitoring metrics and events, provides real-time visibility

Redis Labs 

  • Delivers scalability, innovation and financial value across cloud

The best performing marketing campaigns are the ones that impact the bottom line. Contact us for a comprehensive evaluation of your sales and marketing alignment.

About the author: Nia Pearson lives and breathes marketing with passion and purpose. As a customer centric marketing expert, she is driven to align marketing tactics with business goals to push the needle forward. In addition to partnering with innovative solution providers, she consistently devises effective marketing campaigns across multiple touch points. Nia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, MBA in International Business + 15 years of sales and marketing experience in the following industries: Construction, Real Estate, Restoration, Consumer Goods and Juvenile Products. Connect with Nia on LinkedIn @linkedin.com/in/niapearson