Building marketing strategies for small businesses is one of our favorite things.
My first job was a marketing internship with a tech startup in 1994 that went on to explode in the dotcom era. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to continue helping small businesses on both the client and agency side whom all share one thing: Great products combined with great ideas. Despite all the industries I, and we at Savy, have worked with, there seems to be one theme in common. Businesses, especially small businesses, don’t often position their brands or themselves online as effectively as possible. This is for the most part due to limited resources available for small small business marketing. But it’s also because many times business owners don’t know where to start, which tools to use and when or how to begin. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Here are some preliminary steps we take in building marketing strategies for small businesses:
Regardless of business size, planning out your marketing strategy to promote your company’s brands or services is fundamental. Even in a time where engagement matters more than anything, many small businesses have a name, logo and small website but are missing a brand that stands for something in the minds and hearts of their customers. A quick look at history shows businesses that stand behind brands have staying power their competitors often lack.
When we meet with small businesses, we spend our initial time getting to know the brand history. This involves the unearthing the purpose, the why’s and the how’s. This helps us begin to discover the big idea, or thing, that makes people to go back to that company. Then we answer the big question: Are the juiciest details of the brand reflected outwardly? Is it missing all the good in lieu of something else? After unearthing the details, where is the key point of difference compared to what else is on the market? Is this difference reflected in the brand and its messaging?
Small businesses have to constantly interact with their customers. We often jump in and ask the tough questions, especially during our brand positioning process, “What best do you like about X company? Why would you choose them over X, or why would you choose X over them?” These questions are asked to get a feeling of the customer sentiment.
Once these questions are answered, comprehensive market research should be done, including strategies, keywords, rank and overall position of the market competitors, including a look at industry trends and where are the industry’s tribes.
Once you’ve unearthed the story, researched competitor strategies, and heard the customer sentiment, you’re ready to begin building the brand, being careful not to lose sight of the point of difference that was discovered. Now the key questions is ‘How can you communicate your position in a way that’s unique and provides a distinct offering’? Once you’ve answered that question, you have a position and you’re ready to move to step two in developing your marketing strategies for small businesses.
More on that to come. Until then, let us know if we can help.