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17.07.2015
What’s the difference between the confident entrepreneurs who lead growing businesses and owners who can’t get out of survival mode?  It all comes down to this:  All successful businesses have a clear marketing strategy that makes everything they do more effective. Unfortunately, many busy small business owners get so caught up in tactical daily marketing execution like building a website, sending email, tweeting, advertising, optimizing a landing page, blogging and so on, that they are not taking the time to work on the decisions that’ll improve the performance of their tactics.
There are many things to consider when crafting a successful strategy, but there are five key decisions that over the years I have seen help hundreds of small business owners grow their sales and create sanity in their businesses.
To make your tactics work better, to grow your business and bring sanity to your world, you have to decide on the single, simple answer to each of these questions and commit to not changing it for a year or two. Focusing on a well-defined target may make you uncomfortable at first, but stay the course and follow through. If you are spending time and money on marketing but your efforts are not driving enough sales, the problem is almost always that you haven’t narrowed your target market definition enough to be effective. Your unique benefit should highlight the one (or two) main things your product or service actually delivers (benefits) that your target customer really wants, not a long list of all the things your product does (features). At Infusionsoft, we know our customers don’t just want our software: They want to grow sales and save time. When someone is looking to buy a solution to a problem, they will quickly make sense of the alternatives to compare against – your competition. Once you have defined your competition, make a list of all the things you do differently and better.
Your company name is the leading category for target customers that provides unique benefit.
Our growth rate doubled when we focused and committed to this clear and simple marketing strategy.
Try it for yourself: Fill in the blanks to create the marketing strategy statement for your own business. Can you see why it makes no sense to Tweet, to send a broadcast email or build a new website if you are not clear about your marketing strategy that has laser-like focus? Here’s the real secret that successful companies practice with extreme discipline: Creating a clear marketing strategy is not what companies do after they get big, it’s what small companies do to grow and get bigger in the first place. Greg brings 25 years of software industry experience to Infusionsoft, where he oversees the company’s marketing strategy, communications and partner programs. The real difficult thing, in my experience at least, is the human resources to run and maintain a marketing campaign. Amazing article to show what it needs to strategize marketing plan for efficient running of the business. That’s right, but I find that most entrepreneurs jump to the benefits before doing the work to focus on a clear target and a clear competitive alternative. Yep, and your differentiation depends on who you are targeting, who you compare yourself too, what you are selling and what is the unique benefit. Bigger companies have more execution capability, marketing leadership, tools and resources than small companies, so it could be strategy or it could be execution.
Greg agree with all points except for point 1(Who is your narrowly defined target customer?), 4(Who is your real competition?) and that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with those points. Let me explain, in my personal experience when it comes to target customers, and you want to identify your target customers I believe you need to start with “Others Like You (your business)”. I could have used “competitors” instead of others like you, but I didn’t on purpose, it is quite clear that “competitors” encompass not only businesses like yours but the “best of the industry” and that creates two big problems.
First problem is of “Overnight”, when you focus on your competitors, your focus is mostly on best in your industry, the big brands, you want to be like them, you want to beat them and thus you try everything.
I mean it all started in a dorm room for facebook, it took over a century for coca-cola to become coca-cola, Apple became Apple after decades of hard work, efforts ….
So you need to focus on other business similar to your in almost all angles, you need to win small battles to win the war (beat the best of your industry through persistency and consistency). When people are looking for a local business, more and more often they’re turning to their smartphones or tablets for help. If you don’t already have a small business mobile marketing strategy, or it’s been on the back burner and you haven’t done much with it, it’s time to shift your priorities. Smartphone and tablet screens are smaller and your website has to be able to function on reduced screen real estate. Keep the overall design simple and clean, and avoid Flash animations—they don’t play well with mobile platforms.
If possible, avoid drop-down menus—they’re difficult to near impossible to work on a small screen. Place information that’s important for mobile users, like your address and a click-to-call phone number, near the top of the page.
The key to benefiting from mobile search is to make sure that when people are looking for your products or services in your area, they’ll find your business.
Make sure you’re easy to find on social media by listing your address and phone number on your Facebook page, and claim your business location on Google Places, which can be linked to a Google+ account. Allocate a budget for mobile search marketing, which is separate from Web search marketing.
In much the same way you build an email marketing list, you should also be working on a text or SMS (Short Message Service) marketing list.
You can promote your text club on your website and social media pages, and in your retail location if you have one.
What type of companies do you think the “text clubs” mobile promotions works best for? Seems like something that a lot overlook but at the same time, I don’t think it works for everyone. SMS is such an intimate and immediate form of communication that it only makes sense to use when the end user, your customer, gets real value out of it. If your business relies on local business, this type of marketing should be integrated into your business today. Mobile marketing is cheaper and if correct messages are sent, it can bring instant customers and boost up your sales.


We think text clubs and SMS marketing in general is a really useful and friendly way for local businesses to build up their customer base at the point of sale or local events.
All of these things were built to help people be successful, and we’ve really tried to minimize the promotion of Signal within them.
The question is “How do you define success?” Will you look at the total number of views for each piece of content you put out there?
It’s amazing to see how many businesses put together plans, from search engine optimization to a social media strategy, but then fail to track to results. Nowadays, more small- and mid-size businesses are leveraging the power of social media marketing than ever before. In order to help us with marketing and web design for small businesses, we employ a full time psychic.
And focus is almost always the difference between a business that grows profitably and one that never seems to gain any momentum.
An accountant friend of mine changed his business from “doing taxes for anyone in Phoenix” to “a CPA who does taxes and investments only for physicians” – his best customers who have special needs.
The narrower you define your market so you can focus on those that you can best serve and those that can best service you, the more effective your entire business will be.
This leaves people unsure of what you actually do, which weakens your marketing effectiveness. We don’t describe everything our software does or the hundreds of benefits, we keep our focus on those three key benefits in everything we do. However, most entrepreneurs haven’t specifically defined who their real competition is and don’t focus their messages to create clear differentiation for their buyers. Doing these tactics without a road map – your marketing strategy – will not deliver the right customers and will give you fewer sales than if you had invested the time to implement a focused marketing strategy. He also launched a successful consulting company targeted at emerging software and technology service companies, which provides him a first-hand perspective on the unique needs of the small business market.
It’s hard to get someone to split their time between running the marketing side of things and their other commitments, and even harder to find the time to discuss and develop strategy with other employees.
Small business owners are so busy getting through the day or the week that most never get to the thinking needed to focus their sales and marketing efforts to be more effective.
Since it very important to know who is the targeted customer, basis on which steps needs to be taken to build a strong business plan for implementation purpose.
I see this often where companies are concerned about turning away customers, rather than focusing on one of two target customers. A good strategy creates simplicity and power, but it’s much harder to create and refine than it looks. Generally any larger company whose brands you recognized and identify with have done this work with extreme discipline, by definition. Small businesses are much more tactical and time-limited than marketers in medium sized businesses.
You fail to realize that these big brands have been going through years of hard work, testing and retesting, effective utilization of resources, taking baby steps, having persistent and consistent approaches and after decades of hard work they became what they now are “The big brands” and you want to achieve all of that “overnight”, which is not gonna happen, never!
Mobile searching is a whole new playing field, with the majority of searches related to shopping or finding a nearby business—a gas station, a restaurant, a hotel or retail store. According to StatCounter, the search engine giant is responsible for 96 percent of mobile searches worldwide, and 57 percent of mobile ad revenue. If consumers can’t read or navigate your site on a mobile device, they’ll head for the nearest competitor with a mobile-friendly website. If your site is built with WordPress, you should check to make sure this option is enabled on your dashboard. These lists, often called “text clubs” to emphasize exclusivity, can be used to send customers special offers, discounts and promotions. You can also use interactive smartphone technology like QR codes or NFC tags that let shoppers sign up for your SMS mailing list with a wave of their phones. Chamber specializes in helping SMB's grow their business on the Web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. When do you think we have reached the stage when we got so much SMS that it feels like the cold-calling phone sales people ringing you up on a daily basis? We build SMS apps for social entrepreneurship purposes that do very well in building subscriber lists, while at the same time generating a lot of engagement. With other methods of marketing it can take time to get a response but with the mobile it’s very fast.
One challenge that companies routinely have is getting their customers to make the decision to visit their website when they add it to a print-ad or product packaging.
Customers do not have to clip the coupons, print them or remember to bring them to the location.
And the true marketing benefit of being able to use SMS is that text message based conversation that happens in real time.
As we do, we continuously note the importance of having a plan that reaches well beyond the creation of accounts on every social media outlet known to man. The shotgun approach is less focused and relies on putting out as much varied content as possible, appealing to different target audiences at different times.
Will you look at the number of visitors coming to your website from each of the social media outlets? Any good marketing effort, including a social media strategy, uses effective calls to action. Any small business deciding to invest in a social media marketing effort must first understand and put a value on each new follower, fan and subscriber they gain. Building an online community is an effective way to increase brand awareness and brand equity. Your marketing strategy guides your company culture, your products and services mix and your pricing.
You can continue to hope that “next time that email is going to work better,” or you can develop a clear focus and a realistic strategy.


This means you have to say “no” to other potential customers who might buy from you but who are clearly bad fits for your narrow focus. He made this change over a period of two years and tripled his business, narrowed his service offerings and strengthened his pitch. Here’s a simple rule: If someone can’t clearly remember your category description a month after you meet them, they were never clear about what you do in the first place.
Pick the top one or two and put them on your homepage and include them in your elevator pitch.
It is surely a trap, but being intentional and focused is best way to building a life and a business that thrive.
It’s one of the hardest things for small business owners, especially if they are struggling.
Here is my question to you – do you pick who your companies target customers already are or can you make a push to target customers you do not already have?
It takes time and a little change in mindset to get out of the urgent daily grind and develop a new discipline. Eventhough you have a small business, someday it can evolve to a bigger one if you have this patience and techniques to manage your business.
Small business owners are stretched thin, so it’s very hard to stop working frenetically IN THE BUSINESS and spend time ON THE BUSINESS to make decisions that make the execution work better. However, mobile users are increasingly turning to services like Yelp for reviews during business searches, and the majority already searches for product information from their phone in-store – 84 percent of them, according to a Google study.
SMS marketing is highly effective—according to Nielsen, 97 percent of all text messages, including marketing, are opened and read, compared to an average email marketing open rate of 10 to 20 percent depending on industry. Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources and provides advice through her column on the Chamber blog. So I think small business need to deeply consider about mobile marketing and if possible they must all come up with a mobile version of their website.
Google also has introduced mobile seo in organic search also added enhanced campaign in Google ad-word for sponsors search. We continuously remind our clients that, without a plan, many of their peers are actually doing more harm than good with their social presence. Taking a wide aim at your target audiences can yield scattered results from the various potential clients. Will you look at the number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, etc.? Your audience may respond best to a formal approach, or may find a personal or humorous voice more appealing.
Although ROI calculations for social media marketing campaigns can be complex, they are an essential part of the process. In addition, you may want to look at total revenue, gross profit and net profit as indicators of a positive return.
This takes time to develop the discipline, but you can’t do effective marketing without it. Then narrow your category definition (or your target market focus) until you are the leader. However, I would like to mention one thing that online marketing is needed as well and the same thing goes there too.
For example your friend – did he begin to announce that he was for physicians only before he only had physicians? I find that most up-and-running businesses have obvious subsets of their customer base that are clearly their best customers.
One of our most successful ventures has been the creation of a very effective text to give SMS donation utility that is integrated with Twitter, and which utilizes both short codes and long codes. As part of strengthening a small- to mid-size business brand, a strategic social approach is required in order to yield the best possible results. If you don’t provide clear, succinct direction to guide their actions, you may just as quickly lose them.
Understanding how to best engage your audience is an integral part of your brand and marketing. To maximize ROI a company must then use it’s social community to incentivize buying and promote future social initiatives.
Each competitor type would create different comparisons, so you need to narrow it down to one or two main competitor types.
This works very well for our smaller, successful local nonprofit clients who don’t have the big fundraising budgets of the larger, national nonprofits. A good business owner knows that he should not miss on this traffic by optimizing his website for these gadget users. With the laser beam approach, businesses identify a specific target audience and create a campaign designed to elicit a particular response from this group. Whatever approach you choose, make sure it is consistent with your overall brand and is similarly presented in everything from your corporate website to your email marketing and your collateral materials.
It will also show you a few things you could stop doing in your business that would create more focus. As part of our marketing process, we determine whether a wide shotgun approach or a narrow laser beam approach is right for each of our clients. While based on your defined metric, the program was only mildly successful, we would consider a sharp increase in social media followers to be an extremely valuable indicator of success.




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