Small Business Marketing Guide

2. How to Create a Small Business Marketing Strategy

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How to Create a Small Business Marketing Strategy

Jun 30, 2023 • 9 min read
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      Small business marketing is no small feat. With limited time and resources, you likely feel strapped when it comes to the marketing side of your business. But, if you’re here reading this guide, you likely already know just how important marketing is, particularly for small businesses. 

      Let’s talk about how to get your small business marketing strategy going, so you feel ready to tackle this part of your business. 

      The four P’s of marketing.

      First, you need to know your four P’s: product, place, price, and promotion. 

      • Product – What is your product and who needs it? How will they use it? 
      • Place – Where will the product be available? How will it be displayed to get consumers’ attention?
      • Price – How much will it cost? What is the perceived value vs. the real value? 
      • Promotion – How will consumers learn about it and what will drive them to buy?

      The following five steps will help you answer these questions as well. The four P’s are critical to keep at the front of your mind as you develop your small business marketing strategy.

      The Four Ps of the Marketing Mix and How to Use Them

      1. Do market research.

      Before you do any actual marketing, you need to know who your market is. While many first-time business owners initially think their product or service can be for anyone, you’ll quickly learn that the more specific your targeting is, the more effective your marketing will be. 

      Knowing your target market helps reduce business risk and establish a stronger marketing strategy. It also enables you to be more competitive, particularly in established markets. 

      Start with primary research to establish your core audience. Primary market research includes:

      • Surveys – There are plenty of affordable survey tools available for small business owners for you to reach a broad swath of potential customers and learn more about their interests and behaviors.
      • Interviews – Meet directly with consumers to learn about their primary concerns, needs, and opinions. Interviews take more time and effort than surveys, but they can lead to a deeper knowledge of your customers. 
      • Focus groups – Focus groups get a little more in-depth than interviews, particularly since they are run by professionals who are experts in their execution. This avenue might not be in your budget, but it is guaranteed to be impartial and extra-productive. 
      • Customer observation – Go to a competitor’s place of business and check out how their customers are behaving. What are they looking for? What are they saying as they shop? What are they buying? How much are they paying?

      Beyond these primary methods, you can also look through available research and data to learn more about your target market. While this information is less tailored to your specific business, it may still provide valuable insight. 

      Whatever route(s) you choose, ensure you know what questions you are trying to answer with your research. What do your customers care about? What do they find valuable? What do they not need? What makes them choose one product over another?

      How To Perform Market Research For A New Small Business

      2. Establish a pricing strategy.

      Thanks to your market research, you’ll have some idea of what your customers are willing to pay, but you still need to determine what strategy you’re taking. That’s right: pricing is strategic! Your first instinct might be to price for value—what you and your customers think your product is worth—but there are several different strategies you can use, which you can read about here

      Budget pricing, for example, aims for a high volume of sales. Some businesses decide to use freebies, like a bonus product or a free trial, to drive sales. Not all strategies are appropriate or applicable for all businesses, so be sure to pick which one is right for you, which isn’t necessarily the same strategy your top competitor uses.

      Additionally, you don’t have to pick just one strategy. You can use more than one at a time and can rotate through different strategies, particularly if your business is sensitive to seasonality.

      The Complete Guide to Small Business Pricing 

      3. Select your marketing channels.

      Next: where is your small business marketing going to occur? Possible marketing channels include:

      Again, you do not need to show up on every single marketing channel. In fact, your marketing will likely be more effective if you are selective in your channels rather than spread thin across all of them. Not every business has to be on social media if their customers aren’t there or they don’t have enough time to execute it well.

      You should pick your marketing channels based on where your customers are, your budget, and your capacity. While your market research should help you know where your customers are, you can also check out where your competitors are present and see where they’re finding success. Just because they’re present somewhere doesn’t mean it’s working for them.

      Five Marketing Channels For Small Businesses

      4. Set your marketing budget.

      Of course, marketing requires money. What portion of your budget will go toward marketing? For small businesses, you’ll likely dedicate 2% to 10% of your overall budget to marketing. Your budget should correlate with your established business goals. Learn more about how to set your budget here.

      Start small—just a few hundred dollars for your first venture will work. Don’t instantly jump to a huge billboard investment if you don’t have data to go off to know what will garner the best ROI. Be sure to track your results and determine what you’ll do next based on the data.

      How to Create a Small Business Marketing Budget

      5. Create your small business marketing plan.

      And finally, how exactly will you get all of this done? It’s time to make a marketing plan! 

      Here are some important questions to answer when building out your marketing plan:

      • What is your anticipated schedule and output? 
      • If you’ve decided to use email, how many emails will you send out each month? (The same question goes for social media and your posting frequency.)
      • How are you delegating if you have multiple team members? If not, how will you set aside time to do it yourself?

      How to Create a Small Business Marketing Plan

      It might feel overwhelming, particularly if you’re handling all of this yourself, but with a plan in place, you’ll be set up for success. The best small business marketing strategy is one that is done with care and attention to detail, so don’t be afraid to take your time, so you can be sure to get a great return on your marketing efforts.

      About the author
      Maeve Ginsberg

      Maeve Ginsberg is a copywriter & storyteller. She is a marketing strategist a Picante Collective where she helps businesses with marketing strategy and brand voice.

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