Small business marketing, why doing less, will do more for your business

Small business marketing often resembles a new year resolution. Have you ever woken up on 1st January, convinced that this is the year you’ll finally develop that healthy lifestyle? You’re going sugar free and will never let a morsel of chocolate pass your lips again. It’s going to be all about the greens…and the gym. Exercise will become a part of your daily ritual.

Small business marketing

But a few days later you’re already beginning to struggle. The trouble is that it was just not sustainable. Success comes from being realistic and consistent.

The same goes for small business marketing efforts. Many small business owners operate under the illusion that you must put time and money into all the different channels. The fear is that if you don’t, you’ll miss a customer somewhere along the way.

The truth is, most small businesses struggle to get a single marketing channel to work let alone numerous different ones. Sadly, it’s this that can often lead to a small businesses failing regardless of the quality of their service.

As Google founder, Larry Page, has put it, “put more wood behind fewer arrows”.

When looking at their statistics, most small businesses will find that just one or two marketing channels are optimal. Instead of trying to cover too much and diluting what they offer, small business owners should focus on mastery – becoming the go-to service for users on one key marketing channel.

“Those who follow the crowd, usually get lost in it”

Just like the latest diet or exercise regime, it’s all too easy to become distracted by the latest fad or your competition’s actions. But it’s important to develop a focus on what will work for you.


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I have a client who is a start-up in a very competitive industry. Their main competitor is over 30 years old, has a serious budget and dominates the market. It would have been easy for them to become distracted by this competitor and try and replicate what they do.

Instead, we chose to focus on the marketing channels their competitor wasn’t using rather than competing in the same space. The competitors poor service and bad reputation meant that they had not used viral marketing channels and as they focussed on volume rather than service, they would not be able to counter us on this.

It’s been a huge success. We implemented customer referral programs, used Facebook customer groups and regular interactive competitions to engage their audience. In six months, we have taken them from 900 users to nearly 5000!

Which small business marketing channel is the right channel?

It can feel like an impossible choice and there’s always the fear of making the wrong one. But a great place to start is with your perfect client for your small business. Once you understand who they are and how they want to engage, the decision becomes much easier.

In other words, your small businesses marketing need to talk to those ideal customers! You can do this on the phone, through surveys or by regularly asking questions in your Facebook group. Focus on understanding their needs better.

Knowing who you are targeting will also help you find the space where you can have these valuable conversations. If you’re targeting managing directors of larger businesses for example, then Facebook is unlikely to be the right place. However, LinkedIn, trade shows and business networking will have a much higher chance of success.

Get realistic with your small business marketing

Finally, be realistic. The marketing channel that you choose must be sustainable. Starting something that you can’t continue long term won’t do you any good. One off attempts at marketing rarely work, for example.

Instead, focus on continually testing. Measure your results and optimise your efforts you get from your small business marketing. Like much in life, marketing works best when you prioritise quality over quantity.


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