The Things That Matter
When marketing your small business, it is imperative that marketing efforts focus on things that matter. Business strategy concepts that work for a large enterprise may not be effective when applied to a smaller company. Competitive strategies must be adapted to be impactful for a small business.
I know this sounds obvious, but in my experience working with small business leaders, it is not so common.
Stephen Covey tells us to "begin with the end in mind." This is a powerful idea because it is difficult to arrive at a plan when the destination hasn't been well defined.
The effective use of funnels in marketing your small business allows us to understand each step of the buyer's journey and to determine the percentage of prospects at each stage of the funnel that will progress to the next stage.
If we look at the funnel backward, we can start with the desired outcome and work our way through each stage to understand how many prospects we need to achieve our objective.
For example, if we have a consumer product, we might decide that we need an average of 200 completed sales each month over the next quarter to meet our revenue plan. Our funnel might look like this:
- 1,000 new Prospects get us to
- 850 Leads
- 850 Leads become
- 610 Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) which get us to
- 300 Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
- 300 Sales Qualified Leads result in
- 285 Opportunities that turn into
- 213 New Customers
With this funnel analysis, we can see what we need at each funnel stage along our customer journey path.
Feed the Beast
We now know that we need 1,000 fresh Prospects every month to meet our revenue goal.
Where do we get these Prospects? Good question. Answer these questions to figure it out:
1) What are we selling?
2) What problem does it solve or what aspiration does it achieve?
3) Who has this problem or aspiration?
4) What are the characteristics of this persona?
5) Where do we find them?
Now that we have an understanding of our customer persona and we know where to find them, we need to build marketing campaigns that will pull them into our funnel.
To make this work we need to answer these questions:
1) What do we say to them?
2) How do we prove value?
3) How do we overcome skepticism?
4) How do we compete?
5) How do we get paid?
Back to the Beginning
Everything we need to know and do in marketing your small business is now much easier to understand.
What should we spend our marketing budget on? Let's look at our funnel again.
We need 1,000 Prospects. We can get prospects from:
- paid search campaigns
- paid social campaigns
- list building campaigns
- organic search
- trade shows
- content marketing
We can start with the number 1,000 and determine the appropriate allocation of marketing budget across these channels to get this quantity of Prospects.
Now we have our Prospects, how do we pull them down through our funnel or push them along on their journey? Well, let's look at our funnel again.
What tools do we have to advance the ball?
- brand marketing campaigns (to build an identity and make a promise)
- free trials
- email marketing
- social media posts
- blog posts
- offers and promotions
Getting the Job Done Marketing Your Small Business
Every stage of our funnel defines a particular stage of the customer journey for a persona.
We can design marketing campaigns that help to advance these people to the next stage - ultimately resulting in sales achievement that exceeds our goal.
Before doing anything, ask yourself - what is the purpose and goal of this activity in marketing your small business, and does it have a well-defined role in advancing people through our sales funnel?
If yes, test whether this campaign has a positive ROI. If yes, do it now.
A Well-Kept Secret
If you truly want to be successful in marketing your small business, you must know a lot about the persona that you are targeting. Again, this seems obvious, but when you ask yourself what you really know about them, you will likely be underwhelmed.
Knowing about your persona helps in crafting effective messaging, defining your value proposition, and other important marketing tasks.
But (and here is where the secret comes in), knowing your persona allows you to find other people with common characteristics that have a high propensity to become customers.
Here's how to do this:
1) create a list of your current and past customers' email addresses
2) send this list to a data vendor and ask them to append everything that they know about these people
3) use this data to create segments
4) begin to use these segments to bucket your new prospects
5) create marketing messages that will resonate with these segments
6) perform statistical analysis to identify correlations between the propensity to buy and other characteristics
7) go to your data provider and begin purchasing contacts that fit your propensity model
8) use your list segments to build look-alike audiences on Facebook
I call this process Propensity Marketing. Put another way, successful marketing requires you to fish where the fish are. If you don't know where the fish are, throwing your net (or hook) in the water may catch you a random fish, but the process will be slow, expensive, and ineffective.
Knowing where the fish are will make your marketing faster, less expensive, and more effective.
There are many more concepts, tools, and techniques behind a comprehensive Propensity Marketing program.
Get Help Marketing Your Small Business
Asymmetric, led by former Army Delta Force operator and corporate executive, Mark Hope, can help you implement these ideas in your business. You can contact Mark by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at +1 866-389-4746, or you can schedule a complimentary strategy discussion by clicking here. You can read all of his articles on Medium.
Mark A. Hope is the founder and CEO of Asymmetric Marketing – a unique agency specializing in building high-performing sales and marketing systems, campaigns, processes, and strategies for small businesses. Asymmetric has extensive experience with organizations across many industry segments. If you would like some help in implementing ideas like these in this article, feel free to give Mark a call at 866-607-3593 or by email at email@example.com.