Building marketing strategies for small businesses is one of our favorite things.

In fact my first job was a marketing internship with a small 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, I find there’s 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 the limited resources of small businesses but also because many times, for business owners, they don’t know where to start, which tools to use and when or how to begin. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

I’ll walk you through the preliminary steps we take our small business clients through.

 

1) Define

Regardless of business size, planning out your marketing strategy to promote your company’s brands or services is fundamental. Even in the 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.

2) Unearth

When we meet with small business folks, we spend our initial time getting to know the brand history. This involves the unearthing the history and purpose, why’s and how’s, which often 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?

3) Listen

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.

4) Research

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.

5) Develop

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.