Marketing can be a complex endeavor, but it’s essential to small-business success. You can cut to the bone with a meat-ax if you focus on just three pillars of effective marketing.
1. Know Why You’re Better Than the Competition
If you’re not superior to your competitors in some way, the market will eventually find out and go elsewhere. Fortunately, almost any business can find some element of what it does — some aspect of its products or services or operations — that’s “better” for at least some customers and prospects.
Hone in on this differentiation, sometimes called your “unique selling proposition,” and learn to articulate it with simplicity, clarity, and passion. Getting it right makes the rest of your marketing efforts easier and more effective. It also helps to ensure that once you bring in new customers, they’ll keep coming back for more.
2. Tell Your Story in a Compelling Way
Your unique selling proposition only drives business when your prospects and customers know what it is. Developing marketing literature that tells your story is the second pillar of effective marketing.
You may do this through your logo, product, and company names, as well as marketing collateral. The latter may include carefully crafted ads, catalogs, brochures, flyers, coupons, signage, business cards, and more. Of course, conceiving, designing, writing, and printing marketing literature takes time and costs money — so get it right from the get-go.
Your objective is to motivate people to buy from you, or at least contact you to find out more about how you can meet their needs and fulfill their desires. For inspiration, check out the marketing messages, wording, logic, imagery, and benefits that have the most impact. Study the iconic branding campaigns of market leaders like Coke and Intel, and consider the strategies behind any local successes (including your competition).
3. Invest in and Maintain a Digital Presence
Beyond crafting a rock-solid message, its speed, reach, and interactivity matter now more than ever. Thus, leveraging the internet is the third pillar of effective marketing. Consider:
- Your website, blog post, tweet, or banner ad can be served to a targeted prospect within seconds.
- Your online messages may be seen by many times more people than you could possibly reach offline.
- Your digital communications can vary from one prospect to another, and you can even respond instantly to questions and actions.
Set up your company website — and fine tune it over days, weeks, and months of live contact with your fans and customers — so it guides people from their initial inquiry all the way to making a purchase.