4 Simple Marketing Tips for Growing Small Businesses
:: By Amit Khanna, Infogroup ::
As a small business owner you likely wear many hats within your company.
You’re the owner, but perhaps you also lead the sales and marketing initiatives. For those small business owners that have no employees dedicated to marketing execution, their budget is likely small, and you may fear that the wrong marketing approach could cause your company to miss out on the revenue required to take your business to the next level. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help you allocate your marketing budget and time to reach the maximum number of relevant buyers.
As a small business, your time is most well spent executing marketing campaigns that are hyper-targeted. Effective marketing for small businesses means reaching the right customers at the right time with the right content. By minimizing the number of irrelevant consumers you’re reaching and serving high-potential shoppers meaningful content, your marketing budgets will go much further.
Putting together a strategic plan that involves the following four tips will help small business owners develop a targeted, cost-effective marketing strategy:
1. Create an audience persona
Use data analysis to determine who your best buyers are. Look at common characteristics such as age, income or location, combined with search history data to determine your ideal buyer’s online persona. This works for B2B brands too. When it comes to business buyers, note the industry, revenue and size of your most loyal customers.
Once you’ve developed a profile for your best customers, target new prospects that share similar characteristics. Rather than attempting to reach new, potentially uninterested audiences, focus on cloning your most loyal customers first. As a small business, it’s likely that you have a tried and true customer base, so stick with what you know works to maximize your time and resources.
2. Map the customer journey
After you have a customer persona defined, it’s important to take a closer look at the path your customers take to make a purchase. For some brands, purchases require very little research and customers convert often and quickly. For others, particularly B2B, sales cycles can be lengthy processes that require multiple touchpoints with the brand.
A clear definition of your customers’ typical path to purchase will help inform content development, personalization and channel strategies moving forward.
3. Personalize your content
No two customers respond to marketing content in the same way, which means that no customer should receive the same content through the same channel as another. Depending on where they are in the buying cycle or their history with your brand, each customer needs to be targeted differently.
A new customer might respond to certain email subject lines or ad copy differently than a repeat or loyal customer would. The same goes for certain email and ad layouts, promotions and discounts. It’s important for small businesses to understand how customers typically react to creative messaging at each stage of the funnel and alter content development going forward.
4. Execute through multiple channels
Each of these previous steps comes together when it comes to channel execution. It’s important to reach customers through a strategic mix of multiple channels including social media, display advertising, email marketing and direct mail. Based on the customer persona, the typical path to purchase and content preferences, marketers can then choose which channels to use and at which frequency.
A small business’s ideal customer might require several touchpoints before making a purchase, and this customer’s age and income might determine how and when he or she responds to certain marketing content. Choose your channels and timing accordingly. Maybe you’ll need to reach new customers through targeted display advertising then follow up with several personalized emails in order to motivate them to make that first purchase. Ultimately, it’s important to pull everything you know about the customer together in order to strategically choose your mix of channels.
Overall, small business owners can execute lead-generating marketing campaigns with small teams and budgets. The key is identifying high-potential buyers and choosing the right content and channels through which to reach them. With the right data and tools, developing and executing an effective marketing strategy is possible for everyone.
Amit Khanna is the president of small and medium business at Infogroup. Mr. Khanna came to Infogroup from Reachable, a leading provider of social CRM solutions, where he was the Chief Data Officer. Prior to joining Reachable, Khanna worked for over 10 years at Infogroup where he held several leadership roles, including President of Strategy and Planning and President of Database Licensing.