3 Crucial Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

by Halisi

At my last marketing workshop I ran into what I now understand is a very common problem with small businesses.   I had a plethora of attendees, from catering trucks to attorneys to customized cosmetics.  Some of these businesses were a little more established and some were still in the business-plan-writing stage.  Obviously some were business to business (B2B) endeavors and some were business to consumer (B2C).  Regardless of the business, the maturity of the business or to whom they were selling, there were 3 crucial mistakes that nearly all of the entrepreneurs were making.

1. Everyone is a potential customer

“I want to sell to everyone” or “I don’t want to limit my potential for profits”, were common assertions that I heard.  My reply, ALL BUSINESSES would like to sell to everyone, but there isn’t a business out there that does.  The closest to it would be utilities companies.  Furthermore, in order to get everyone to buy from you, they have to know that you exist or you have to have a large marketing and advertising budget.  Needless to say, none of my entrepreneurs had much of if any marketing budget.

The truth is, if you have created a strong brand you will never sell to everyone.  Seem like a contradiction?  No!  A strong brand has a well articulated “personality” and set of values.  This personality and the value set will not appeal to everyone.  Create a list of your brand’s personality traits and values and then match that with your behavioral demographic chart.  (demographics based on behaviors instead of age, etc)  Then you will know where to put your marketing resources.

2.  I don’t know what sets me apart from the competition…well I’m cheaper

Being cheaper or what marketers refer to as a “cost leader” is probably not what you want to use as your differentiator.  The thing that sets you apart, that makes your company/product/service special should be

  • hard to copy.
  • It should be highly valued to your customers and
  • should move them to action.

Lowering your price is EASY TO COPY.  Unless you’re a Walmart and you’ve put in place a complicated distribution system that allows you to charge less for the same items.  If you have all 3 of the above items happening you shouldn’t have to worry about trying to be cheaper.

3.  They had not thought about the high-level needs they were meeting

The biggest reason why they didn’t know what set them apart from the competition and why they resorted to, “I’m cheaper” is because they didn’t take the time to write down all of the needs they were meeting.  If they were a burger joint they stopped at “cheap, and fills you up”.   That’s not good enough to survive in this economy and certainly not good enough to survive the corporate franchise machine.  You should be able to come up with emotional needs that you’re meeting – that’s what will set you apart.  That’s what will help create loyalty and grow your business.

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