As the marketplace of every industry floods with businesses offering every imaginable service and product, having an arsenal of targeted marketing strategies is becoming critical for every small business owner in order to attract the best customers and clients. The Small Business Association (SBA) reports that as of 2015, there were 29.6 million small businesses – companies with 500 employees or less – in the United States, employing over half the nation’s workers. With competition increasing and the recession still lingering, every small business has to pay close attention to attracting and keeping the right kind of clientele.
Advertising and promotional opportunities have expanded exponentially with the rapid growth of the internet, and websites, social networking – the ultimate in relationship marketing – and online advertising has become a necessary part of every small business marketing portfolio. The intensely personal nature of social media and the increased possibility of instant gratification on the internet is raising expectations about customer service and business-customer interaction. Thanks to the internet, customers and clients can very easily research any company’s products and services with just a few mouse clicks and often find out personal information about the owner or employees.
The internet is definitely becoming an inexpensive and necessary evil for every business owner; but tried and true hands-on, tangible tactics like phone calls, face-to-face meetings and direct mail postcards are also still necessary for building important connections with prospective customers. A professional that is successful at small business marketing is one that can harness the power of personalized, focused relationship marketing in every form and use it to construct a diversified marketing portfolio that will attract customers and clients committed to making long-term investments in products or services.
The following four quick tips can help a small business owner develop targeted marketing strategies and make real connections with high-quality customers.
Small Business Owners Must Think about Target Clients’ Biggest Problems
Successful business plans and marketing strategies are those that are built around solving clients’ biggest problems. The copy of targeted marketing pieces, whether on or offline will address a big problem faced by customers and clearly show how the company’s products or services are the only real solution to this problem. For example, an IT company owner might conduct research through surveys of current steady clients and discover they are terrified about computer viruses destroying important data. A marketing piece that names this problem and succinctly explains how the IT firm can solve it will get more attention than one that brags of prices that are lower than competitors’ prices in the area.
The Headline is the First and Often Only Impression
In print ads, direct mail postcards or with any online small business marketing, the headline is the first impression prospects’ will get of a small business as well as the first and often only chance to grab attention. It is also a way to get the attention of the right people and weed out “the masses” that aren’t going to benefit from a specific product or service.
The headline should be specific and focus on benefits the company provides to its clients, rather than just features of a product or service offered. For example, a company selling “green” beauty supplies, including face cream would not want to lead with a headline such as, “Our Environmentally-Friendly Beauty Cream is the Cheapest in Town!” Instead of leading with this price-based feature and reducing products to cheap commodities, that small business should lead with a statement that captures the real benefit of the product to customers: “Let Your Love of the Earth Shine through with Healthier, Firmer Skin.”
A Tight Market Focus Means Less Money Spent on Marketing Strategies
A small business owner that narrows his/her market focus and zeroes in on one specific market area will get better results than one that throws out a wide, generic net to the hundreds of thousands or even millions of local consumers. For example, someone selling subscriptions to a new country-focused online music service can’t expect great return rates on non-targeted direct e-mail campaigns sent to every music lover, regardless of genre and run the risk of the e-mail being perceived as spam. A great direct mail response rate for even the most targeted marketing strategies is only 2%-3%. Small business owners should do careful research to find the best recipients of their unique marketing messages and target that group of people so they can get better results and save money by not embarking on wasteful, ineffectual marketing.