7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success

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If followed to the letter, these 7 Steps can take your small business to the next level (or turn a struggling business into a successful business).

But before understanding the 7 Steps, you first need to understand 2 fundamental principles about marketing:

  • What is marketing?
  • What is the secret to successful marketing?

Preliminary 1 – What Is marketing?

Of course, most people will answer that by saying that marketing is about generating more sales and revenue.

Thats certainly the expected result of your marketing. But what we’re talking about here is really the essence of marketing. When you go about doing marketing, what is it that you are aiming to do?

Here’s our definition:

Marketing is helping somebody who has a need to know, like and trust you.

Notice the 2 elements of this:

  1. Your target must have a ‘need’. They may not necessarily be conscious of that need (think iPods) but they at least need to say ‘Yeh, that sounds great’
  2. You need to build a relationship (know, like and trust) with your target market. We’re not talking here about inviting them over for dinner. But somehow or other, a percentage of your target market has to trust that your goods or services will satisfy their need.

Thats marketing – getting clear on your target’s need AND building their trust that you can meet that need. Make sense?

Preliminary 2 – What is the secret to successful marketing?

You might have heard the saying “The System is the Solution”.

The secret to success in anything in business (or anything in life for that matter) is having and implementing good step by step systems.

For some reason many small business owners think that marketing is somehow an exception to this rule. They see marketing as like the creative thing that the advertising boffins do and that it is beyond their capabilities.

Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

When you boil it all down, successful marketing results from having and implementing a good system.

Here is a summary of a 7 Step Marketing System that has been successfully implemented by thousands of small businesses.

In the weeks to come, we will be elaborating on each of these steps but for the moment, you need to apply these in order. Get clear on Step 1 before working on Step 2, and so on.

The 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success

Step 1 – Narrow Your Focus – also called “Inch Wide Mile Deep”. Stop trying to be all things to all people and instead narrow your focus. If you are a financial planner, focus on divorcees. if you are a bookkeeper, become the go-to-bookkeeper for hotels. Nothing build trust like this.

Step 2 – Identify Your Core Difference from Your Competitors – also known as Unique Selling Proposition. You need to work out how you will be seen by your target market as standing out from your competitors. Your decision in Step 1 may be enough. Or maybe you need a money back guarantee. or maybe your service does something that your competitors cant do. If you dont have a USP, then create one.

Step 3 – Your Image – branding is not everything but it is important. Get clear on your name, logo etc.

Step 4 – Develop Your Marketing Materials. This means website and hard copy materials.

Step 5 – Lead Generation. A lead is a potential buyer and this step refers to how you are going to get your target market to at least ‘know’ you before they then build trust and buy. There are 3 broad categories of Lead Generation – Advertising; Referrals and Public Relations (including Social Media). Most businesses should use all 3 aspects and you should develop a plan for all 3.

Step 6 – Lead Conversion. This is where the real money lies. if you can convert your leads better than your competitors, then you are on a winner. (In fact, you could even go to your competitors and buy their leads and still make money – thats the importance of getting your conversion path right. Once again, you need a plan for how to do this.

Step 7 – Measure and Adjust. Management guru Peter Drucker said “What you measure gets managed”. You should measure all aspects of your marketing both weekly and monthly. Then adjust and see the difference. Soon you will start to know what is working and what is not working. The mere act of measuring results in better motivation and management.