Winning the Small Business Marketing Challenge
Clarity around who your buyers are, why they buy & a repeatable process of reaching out to them make marketing a success.
2020 is turning out to be hard for small businesses around the globe. Even before the pandemic, the odd against small and medium enterprises were 1:8 if they would survive 10 years of operations. In times like these, the odds are further up.
We work with a lot of small and medium businesses as they set up their sales and marketing. Our journey is a case in point and we still are running against the odds. Having come this far here is a look back and overall the SMB marketing challenges and how to overcome them.
Hardly anyone would disagree with this as the No. 1 challenge. You don't sit and wait for customers to come. You go out and seek them. Early days when you are not known and have limited resources and references, the search is harder. You have to optimize what channels to use and how much to invest in them because you know you have a short runway to take off. Your strategy depends on who you are selling to?
Start with a definition of your ideal customer. Recommend adding a name and a role. For example; Mary, the sales manager working with a team of 10 reports and a demanding boss who wants to see the quarterly number up by 10%. Expand on what Mary does and what she reads, where she spends time, and her top 3 problems is a great way to firm up buyer persona. The more details you go into, the easier it becomes to craft your messages and sales process. Putting up a bunch of campaigns or promotions without clarity does not deliver. It may be tempting to open the gates and go all guns blazing but not know your targets may just end up wasting a lot of fire-power.
If you are on Linkdra, you already know the value of a buyer persona and how to seek them out on LinkedIn. Finding customers starts with a search of the buyer persona. Reach out to people on LinkedIn and other professional networks with a message that would resonate with them. Test different variations and track outcomes. It's tempting to go with your instincts but it is equally important to have an objective view of what customers care for. Linkdra can be very effective in reaching out to your early customers. And if you are not yet on Linkdra, then give it a try. You would see leads start coming in within a week. Sign up today
Brands take time to build. For SMBs they mean more of high recall than the shiny logo of a global brand. Brand means the values you represent and how others see you. Customers buy when they are comfortable with a brand. Brands are built when a custom goes and talks about you favorably to others. As the cycle repeats and grows, so does your brand.
The core you represent
They are the soal of the business. Are you known for customer service or say quality or innovation or anything else? Clarity around core values drives your processes, communications, and the impression they create in the market. Once you get the fundamentals right, it is useful to work on spreading the word. Here are a few ways to build up.
- Partnership: Tag along with a bigger related/favorable brand. Users tend to form an opinion based on the company you keep. It's also a good way to reach more prospects and build your contacts.
- Share content: Blogging, Podcasts, Events are some of the ways to share and spread the word. Give out something of value and users will take note.
- Network: The above two approaches can work only when you have reasonable traffic of users. Build a strong network, even before you start the business. Once again, LinkedIn is a great place to build a strong professional network and Linkdra is designed to fill that networking requirement with ease.
If the buyer persona gave you the clarity, the action step is to have your message reach that segment of potential buyers. Often called the top of the funnel activity, leads ensure there is enough for the sales team to engage and sell. Setting up a robust repeatable lead funnel is like the booster rocket to give you the escape velocity to outer space. The view from the top is great but it takes a lot of effort to get there.
Focus on conversion before you go after volume.
Linkdra helps you reach the target buyer easily. However, it is equally important to make sure once they land on your web page they see a path to action such as sign up. Conversion of a visitor to a signed up user needs to be smooth and clear. Use page tools such as Google Analytics to track down user behavior and where they might be dropping off.
To keep the user engaged, provide meaningful content. Blogs, Guides, Learning Resources, Templates, E-Books, Videos are some of the ways to seed that journey.
Very few companies can do it better than Amazon where customer success is upgraded to the phrase "customer obsession". A happy word of mouth by existing customers is magic for sales. Keep your customers engaged.
Understand customers and why they picked you
It's very important to go deep into understanding customers and their choices to deliver that customer delight. Setup customer journey paths can tune each step for conversion. Companies like Airbnb became global names once they reached that point of customer delight. They focused on what customers wanted and not just clock sales.
Small and Medium businesses have an advantage because they are small, nimble, and can adapt faster. Leverage this strength to listen and learn.