The Right Way to Do Small Business Marketing
If you’re a small business based in Minnesota, your customers are probably too polite to tell you that your advertising is annoying them. It’s what we like to call “Minnesota nice”.
However, we’ll be honest. We are called “FeedbackWrench” for a reason, after all.
There’s a major mistake almost every small business makes when it comes to digital marketing–we’re posting things that irrelevant, uninteresting, and just plain boring.
It’s a little bit like the person you meet at a party who can’t stop talking about themselves. They don’t say anything relevant to you, but they’re happy to keep on talking about their own life. They’d be infinitely more interesting if they considered you. Instead of blabbing about being a travel expert, they could take interest in your upcoming vacation and use their expertise to lend a tip or two.
Suddenly, you’re engaged in the conversation.
Share the Recipe, Not the Ingredients
Here’s a more practical example. If you sell flour, wouldn’t it make sense to tell your customers how to make amazing cookies?
Believe it or not, even this kind of value add is absent from most business’s marketing plans. Small business owners and large corporations are too interested in telling their customers about what they want them to do or buy. They have forgotten that their customer can choose to tune them out. Like the person at the party, companies like this keep talking about things that aren’t interesting to the people they’re talking to.
Small business owners want to sell product, but they forget that to do so, they also have to engage the customer.
Gone are the days where you could just tell people to buy your flour. That’s going to get lost in the noise. You have to show your customer why it is they should buy your flour. Share recipes that your fans are using, give tips on baking, and find unique, creative ways to display the massive amount of value your flour brings to someone’s kitchen. Don’t market with ads, market with content.
Ads are something to be avoided, content is something to be sought out.
The only logical solution for someone enjoying your content about baking is to buy your flour and get to work.
While that may sound like an overly simplified example, many small business owners are not providing any value whatsoever to any of their potential or existing customers. They simply don’t realize how they’re missing the low hanging fruit.
We’ve convinced ourselves that the best way to sell to our customers is to simply invade their lives with more brand messaging, more beautiful photos of our product, and more insistent ways to demand that people buy what we sell.
Instead of telling people that they need to work with you, show them.
How to Provide Value in Online Marketing
Business owners often forget that there’s a fine line between creating content for “themselves” versus creating content that’s relevant for their clients.
Your customers are not looking to be sold to. In fact, if your customers could choose to not be sold to ever again, many of them would.
So what’s the point of marketing if no one wants you to do it? Well, the trick is to make a trade. That’s how the free market works after all. Marketing should work the same exact way as the rest of the free market if it’s going to be effective. If your marketing provides your client with something of value in return for their time and attention, you will find that it is more effective than your old outbound style ever was.
So how do you provide your client with something of value in your own marketing messages? Simple. Ask yourself this: What problem is your client or potential client trying to solve?
A follow-up question: Why are they turning to you in the first place?
What questions can you answer for your clients that can’t be answered anywhere else? What do you know that most entrepreneurs in your industry aren’t willing to share?
In marketing, or at least effective marketing, it is absolutely essential to know your client. Once you know your client, you can sell them almost anything. Or at least, you can sell them almost anything if you do it in consideration of their needs first.
Once you’ve established who your customers are, you have to divide them into two groups. With all businesses, there are two kinds of customers. First, you have your existing customers. Second, you have your potential customer.
These two groups are vastly different. Tomorrow, we’re sharing more information on how to market to each of these groups. Check back in then for more information on how to capitalize on each unique marketing opportunity.
Also published on Medium.