How to Build Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

by | Sep 24, 2021

In an earlier blog post, we discussed the importance of developing a small business marketing strategy and gave you a few examples of what that strategy might look like. Hopefully, you’re ready to dive in and build a strategy for your small business’s marketing.

Holistic strategy involves taking a deep dive into your business from its purpose to its brand story. While digging into every facet of a marketing strategy is too big a topic for this article (we developed a whole online course on it), here are three foundational areas to help make your strategy more customized and successful. 

1. Who you are as a company

2. Your marketing goals

3. Your target audiences

Who You Are As a Company: Define Your “Why”

Your company’s “why” is foundational to all else. It’s the reason and purpose behind your company’s existence and is often labeled as your company’s mission and vision.

We recommend boiling your why down to a single statement. Please don’t create the corporate mumbo-jumbo mission statements that so often get posted on corporate office signs. While good, that type of mission statement doesn’t provoke the customer loyalty that creates a brand.

What you need is the WHY behind the existence of your company, the purpose of your company. Or, the real, good, and tangible change you want to achieve in the lives of your clients.  It can be as simple as, “We value ____, so we create _____ by doing ____.”

Patagonia is one of my favorite examples of a company that clearly markets and develops products from their “why.” According to their website, their “why” is “We’re in business to save our home planet.” Their clear environmental mission has earned the company a large following. Even people who’ve probably never hiked a mountain will wear the Patagonia brand because they believe in Patagonia’s WHY.

In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek champions the concept of defining your company’s why. He writes, “When a company clearly communicates their WHY, what they believe, and we believe what they believe, then we will sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to include those products or brands in our lives.”

Don’t you want the type of customer who will “go to extraordinary lengths” to be your customer?

Your Small Business Marketing Goals: Make Them SMART

“SMART” is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. SMART goals are not overly complicated to create and go a long way to ensuring the success of your small business’s marketing strategy.

  • Specific: Your goal needs to be well defined and clear so it’s obvious when it’s complete.
  • Measurable: Your goal needs to have at least one metric you can use to track your progress toward your goal.
  • Achievable: Your goal needs to be something that your business can realistically accomplish in a definite timeline (see “Timely”).
  • Relevant: Your goal needs to be beneficial to the purpose or mission of your business.
  • Timely: Your goal needs a specific timeline for completion. Strategic goals typically range from 3-12 months.

For a more in-depth explanation, check out this article on SMART Goals by Atlassian.

SMART Goal Examples

Here are examples of SMART goals for a small business marketing strategy:

  • Increase the annual number of leads by 10%.. 
  • Increase the number of website visits from Virginia users by 20% compared to the same quarter last year.
  • Increase the click-through-rate on Google Ads by 1% within three months.

Notice how you can further break a year-long goal into sub-level goals. But that’s another subject for another article. 

Your Target Audiences: Know Who Needs Your Product/Services

Knowing your target audiences for your small business marketing is a two step process: First you need to identify them, then you need to understand them.

First, identifying your target audience should be fairly easy if you’re an established small business. If you have a point of sale or some other customer tracking software, you should be able to run reports on your top customers. As you look at the reports, you should start to see groups of people like Gen X women if you’re a boutique, or middle income single family homes if you’re an HVAC company. Start with the three or four categories that have the most customers. Those are your target audiences.

If you’re a new company, you may not have much data to consult. But by collecting what data you may have and researching similar businesses who can get a pretty good idea of who your top target audiences might be. For a new business, it’s ok if your audiences are only one or two categories of people.

After you’ve identified your target audiences, spend some time digging into the psyche of each group (Google can help with this!). What are their fears, their likes, and dislikes? What’s their income like or their family like? What media do they like to consume? What is their big problem that your product or service solves? Answering these questions (and many more like them!) will help you talk to your audiences in a way that’s winsome and compelling. And it will help you choose tactics that will successfully reach them.

Sidebar: Leveraging

You might be surprised that we suggest targeting audiences that you already have. That’s because we often find that current audiences are hugely underutilized, or not well leveraged. At Ingenium, we believe that your best marketing asset is the group of happy clients you already have.

Your next satisfied customer is more likely to come through a referral from a current customer who gave you a wonderful Google review than from any Google ad you might run, no matter the ad spend. In today’s social world, your potential customers are checking out your Google and Facebook reviews, asking their friends for advice, and looking your business up on third party review sites. Are you fully capitalizing on that? Look around online and research what people are saying about your business.

Hubspot heavily advocates for this type of marketing, and we recommend checking out this article on their marketing Flywheel concept to learn more.

Build your small business marketing strategy

We believe that marketing is more effective and more profitable when it starts with a strategy. If you want to develop a strategic marketing plan for your small business, we invite you to schedule a no-obligation, marketing consultation with one of our consultants. We’ll discuss your sales goals and develop some preliminary marketing strategy ideas.

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