Don’t shoot the messenger, but the brutal truth is you need a small business marketing process and that takes consistent work over many months. The latest and greatest single marketing tactic, you may have read about, that (allegedly) delivers outstanding results in a matter of weeks won’t work.
Single Tactic Marketing
Let’s take online marketing as an example. The website salesman arrives at your door with what appears to be a compelling argument. A new website increases the credibility of your small business and raises your profile. It allows you to deliver your message to the marketplace and presents the opportunity to jump ahead of your competition.
All true, but what is the point if that great new website is not found by your prospects? Various studies show that 92% of searchers never look beyond page 1 of the search pages. So you need some method to ensure your website is on page 1.
Historically, three main tactics were used to secure more customers, Pay Per Click, organic SEO or a combination of the two (SEM). Taking PPC first, yes it does work well in many markets (not all) if set up and managed correctly. A lot depends on where the prospect is in the buying cycle and the nature of the offer. Consistent returns are possible, but it requires an initial investment to build a reliable process. The amateur can waste considerable sums on poorly set-up PPC campaigns.
Some research (GroupM and Neilsen) shows 94% of searchers prefer organic results to PPC. SEO tends, therefore, to be the preferred route for many small businesses.
In the past, many SEO agencies could deliver results for a relatively low cost, but those days have gone. Good quality SEO services are less easy to find and the costs much higher than in the past.
Marketing Strategy And Process
The number one reason any marketing activity fails to deliver is a failure to define the offer, the target audience and the objective. If a small business cannot document why a customer should choose them, they are in a very dangerous place.
With the basics in place, a strategy and plan to deliver the required result can be assembled and flowed down to the promotional plan. The process is not complicated and the time invested is usually refunded many times over.
A Customised Marketing Process
There are many possible marketing tactics (a colleague recently documented a total of 46), both online and offline. What matters is how you select and combine those tactics to achieve the desired outcome.
There are those who claim their marketing process is best practice, but in reality, there is no such thing. Every small business is different, their objectives are not the same and markets constantly evolve and change. It is not possible to produce a one system fits all process. Many have tried (and failed) to develop a standard approach.
Buyers, in general, are generally more resistant to the old push marketing tactics. They are more likely to research a product or service before making a purchase. Information (content) is the fuel for any successful small business marketing process.
Building a successful marketing process takes time and time is money. However, once the initial hard work of developing a plan is complete, the time required per week/month is generally low. Once over the initial hurdle of learning one or more small business marketing tactics, delivering consistently is a relatively mundane task.
To learn more about the range of marketing tactics available read our marketing tactics guide