Small Business Marketing Strategy:
Attracting Customers to Your Business

Every business needs a small business marketing strategy. It is essential to be clear about who you are targeting and what makes your business different, before you start spending money on marketing.  

If you're not clear, the message that you send out into the market will be vague, and so your marketing will be ineffective.

As a part of the business coaching process, business coaches will expect you to develop a small business marketing strategy if you don't already have one. 

It outlines how you will position your business in the market in order to generate sales.

The essential ingredients for effective marketing are:

  • Focus (pinpoint your target market)
  • USP (have a clear differentiation to your competitors)
  • Frequency (prospects need to see your message several times before they buy)
  • Consistency (branding).

There is no point spending money on marketing activities until you have properly thought through what your marketing strategy is first.

Business Coaching Insight:

Money spent on marketing is wasted without a clear strategy

What is marketing strategy?

Many small businesses don't spend enough time thinking about what makes them different to the rest of their market.

Your marketing strategy outlines what your competitive advantage is in the market and it provides the hook for your marketing plans and sales.

By having a clearly distinct marketing strategy you will achieve a much greater cut-through and, as a consequence, attract more sales.

Ideally, you should determine your marketing strategy before you get your logo designed or business cards printed because all of your marketing activities are designed to underpin your strategy.

Types of marketing strategies

There are basically three different types of marketing strategies (these are outlined in a lot more detail in Michael Porter's book Competitive Advantage).

To be profitable you need to find a way to distinguish yourself from the competition and carve out your own segment of the market. You can do this either by:

  • Being the cheapest (cost leadership)
  • Being different (differentiation)
  • Being segment focused (niche)

It doesn't work to try and be all of these things - for example, trying to be the cheapest and the best quality doesn't work.

The best small business marketing strategy is often to go for a focused segment or niche in the market.

Business Coaching Questions:

  • What is unique about your business?
  • Why would a customer buy from you instead of your competitors?
  • When was the last time you reviewed/changed your small business marketing strategy?

Marketing Mix: The 7 P's That Make Up Marketing

Marketing encompasses the whole process from understanding the market and developing new products through to promoting and selling them. Understanding the 7 P's of the marketing mix will help you create your small business marketing strategy and marketing plans.

Niche: Pinpointing Your Segment of the Market

Having a very clearly defined niche within a market is one of the most important ingredients for marketing success. If you have a niche you can be a market leader by catering better to those customers better than anyone else. It also allows you to be much more focused and effective with your marketing.

Target Market: Defining Who Wants to Buy From You

Don't make the mistake of thinking everybody wants to buy from you - they don't! The more clearly you define those people in your niche who are likely to buy from you the more effective your marketing will be.

Simple Marketing Plan Format: The Key Components

This simple marketing plan format is great for small businesses and can be completed on only 1-2 pages. It includes questions to help understand how to fill in each component

Example of a Simple Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan does NOT need to be complicated. Just to prove it we followed a very simple marketing plan format for a made up business and it took about 30 minutes.

Inspiration: 101 Small Business Marketing Ideas

These ideas include all the ways you should be marketing your business both outside and inside the business. Many of them can be done for free.

Small Business Advertising: Media Planning Basics

Part of the small business advertising process involves deciding which media to use. Use these tips to decide which media are right for your business.

Small Business Advertising: Pro's & Con's of Each Media

A rundown of the different media you can use to advertise your business and which are most effective for small businesses

Small Business Advertising: How to Get Free Exposure For Your Business

Before you start spending lots of money promoting your business make sure you are making the most of free opportunities.

Websites: Online Shop Front

These days businesses have various online marketing options available to them but a website gives you credibility. 

Fearless Cold Calling: How to Gain Increased Lead Sales via Cold Calling

Every business owner will need to do some cold calling at some stage, even if it's a qualified business lead. If the idea of cold calling sends a shiver down your spine, these tips will help.

Innovation: Staying Ahead of the game

Being in contact with customers and prospects through your sales and marketing processes is a great source of ideas for maintaining a competitive edge.

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