It’s the age old question: now that we’ve hung our shingle, how do we let people know we are here? This Information Age has given us the ability to tap into markets like never before. Instead of selling within our city or neighborhood, we can offer our products and services worldwide at the click of a button.

Sounds great in theory – and it is! But this freedom also makes marketing much more complex.

It’s important to remember that the same basic marketing principles apply whether you are selling an ebook in Hong Kong, professional financial services in Philadelphia, or a line of funky t-shirts in shops across the United States. Here are the 3 basic steps to winning small business marketing strategy:

  1. Find Your Market
  2. Grab Attention
  3. Make Your Pitch

How to Create a Winning Marketing Strategy to Get Your Small Business Noticed

The “whats” are easy enough to list. The challenges come when you start talking about the “hows.” How will you find your market? How will you grab their attention? How will you give them an offer they can’t refuse?

We’ll show you step by step what you need to consider and how to create a winning small business marketing strategy that will get you noticed.

1. Find Your Market

Ice cold coke - but not everyone is your target market.

The first step to finding your market is understanding who your market is. If you said “everyone,” then look again. On the surface, you may see a lot of diversity in your customers: different ages, backgrounds, genders, geographic locations, and so on. But there has to be some common ground that connects them.

For example, who drinks Coca-Cola? You might still think that “everyone” is a possible answer. But the real answer is a bit more nuanced. As a group, Americans are the second-largest consumers of Coke products per capita in the world behind only Mexico. Yet about half of Americans never drink Coke or any sweetened beverage, or very rarely. Advertising to this group won’t change their decision to not to drink sweetened, carbonated beverages.

The best way to find your market is to review your current customers (or, if you are just starting out, those of your competitors). Why do they use your product? What problem does it solve for them? Are there a number of factors they react to such as customer service, quality, price, etc.? How are they similar to each other? How are they different from other people?

Create a profile of who your current customer and/or ideal customer would be. Be as detailed as you can – do they tend to live in one place? Do they tend to be in a certain income bracket? Do they tend to be of a certain age, background, gender? All these will help you determine where to find them with your advertising, and – crucially – what to say and how to say it.

That’s next…

2. Grab Attention

Grabbing attention is one of the hardest things to do in small business marketing. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to do in marketing, period. Even the large Madison Avenue marketing firms have problems with this. Which is part of the reason why one of the go-to examples of great advertising is a 60-year-old magazine ad for the Volkswagen Bug.

Some tips:

  • Use artwork like a great photo to capture interest
  • Keep your message short and snappy
  • Make an emotional connection with your potential customer
  • Solve a pain point or problem for your potential customer
  • Keep your business and/or product front and center
  • Emphasize what makes you different from your competition

This VW ad does all six of these, and does them well. The artwork was revolutionary for the time, featuring a lot of white space. (Most car ads of the time were drawings of families going out to enjoy a drive.) The one-word caption “Lemon.” doesn’t get much shorter. Everyone in the 1960s had experienced the frustration of driving a lemon car or knew someone who had a lemon car, so there was an immediate emotional reaction. However, with this surprising use of the word, the unsaid promise was that VW wouldn’t be giving you a lemon so you could avoid that pain. And, of course, the VW Bug is front and center of the ad. The whole effect of the ad underlines what made VW different from other cars: reliable, playful, smaller (and therefore better on gas), and overall, the smarter choice.

This is one way to grab attention. Other ways include creating special offers and discounts, or making a special announcement for a new product or major change in your business.

Of course, where you advertise is just as important as what you advertise. Social media marketing, email marketing, direct mail, website ads, TV, radio – and yes, even magazines. Don’t forget in-store advertising! Selling more items to your current customers is much easier than finding new ones.

3. Make Your Pitch

Boy screaming into a microphone.

Once you have their attention, you need to make your pitch. Why should the person reading your ad buy your product or service instead of someone else’s?

Let’s look at the VW ad again. You’ll notice there is ad copy of the bottom. After the surprising headline “Lemon.” has made you stop to look, you can’t help but read the rest to find out what the heck is going on. It goes on in the same playful way to describe how this Bug “missed the boat” because it wasn’t good enough to be sold. So, it’s not that VW doesn’t make lemons. It’s that Bugs undergo 3,389 different inspections to make sure that the VW Bug you get isn’t a lemon. The mention of “preoccupation with detail” also reinforces the general feeling that German companies are known for precision engineering. And, it wraps up by underlining that you never get the lemons, only (cleverly) “the plums.” Your car is special – and so are you if you buy one.

You want to do something similar with your marketing. The key ideas to convey about your product, service, and/or business in your winning small business marketing strategy are:

  • What makes it good
  • What makes it different from the competition
  • What problem you are solving for them
  • How you are making their lives better

Create a Winning Marketing Strategy to Get Your Small Business Noticed Is Not as Easy as It Sounds!

Boy with too many ads to look at in Times Square -- it's hard for one ad to stand out.

By now you’re probably realizing that small business marketing might not be as easy to do as you first thought. That’s why it’s always better to bring in the professionals to help you with your marketing.

Elite Marketing + Promotions can help. Our team creates in all areas of marketing including social media, web (such as your website), print, and marketing strategy development. We’ve helped many small businesses develop their own offerings and launch their marketing campaigns. We can help you find your winning small business marketing groove too, identifying your best customers, finding the best ways to grab their attention, and giving them the messaging they need to buy from you.

Don’t worry – you’re still in charge! Nobody knows your business like you do. That’s important when creating marketing and advertising. And, of course, you’ll have the final say on what marketing ads go out and what needs more work to reflect your business in the right light.

Contact Elite Marketing + Promotions right now, and let’s get your small business marketing strategy rolling. You can call us directly at: 215-491-0400 or use our handy email form.