The Best Small Business Marketing Strategy for 2020
By John Welch on October 7, 2019
Small businesses are losing huge portions of their revenue to sales and marketing efforts that never amount to anything. These small businesses hold out in their vision of more leads, more sales, and less worry. What they end up with is a $50,000 hole and no ladder to climb out.
There are a couple of specific reasons for this:
- Sales and marketing consultants are charging significant monthly fees to develop strategies for small businesses. The magic number seems to be $5,000 per month.
- Those strategies are not providing many– if any– results for the business.
- The cost of the consultants is too high for the business to carry on long enough to realistically see any results.
- Because of the general distrust of sales and marketing consultants, these same consultants are spending most of their time trying to concoct ideas that will sound good to their prospects. This means their time is not spent on implementing strategies that will amount to a measurable increase in sales conversations and, consequently, an increase in revenue.
- The Reality of Marketing for Small Businesses is Simple.
- Getting Under the Hood
- What It Really Takes to Market for a Small Business
- Your Expectations
The Reality of Marketing for Small Businesses is Simple.
This isn’t rocket science, folks. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, the reality of small business marketing is attraction marketing. It’s a very specific and straightforward set of principles that anyone can follow.
- Prove that you have the knowledge and experience to accomplish the business objective that your prospects desire.
- Give away everything that your prospect needs to accomplish their objectives without you.
- Develop an ongoing conversation with your prospects through your generosity.
- Provide a clear and simple way for your prospects to engage with you when they are ready.
Whether they realize it or not, this is what is working for small businesses that are growing. The reason they are gaining new clients is that they are ATTRACTING them.
Let’s take a look at the three specific elements of this small business marketing strategy:
Element #1 - The Website
- Release 3, 2000+ word blog posts every month detailing the exact steps your prospects need to follow to accomplish their objectives.
- Place a free, valuable resource at the top of your website homepage in exchange for your prospect’s email address.
- Place a link at the bottom of every page on your website inviting your reader to download your free, valuable resource in exchange for their email.
Element #2 - Email Marketing
- Gather all of your current and prospective customers’ emails that you have currently and put them in an email marketing platform.
- Schedule 1 email every week to go out that contains a 300-500 word snippet from your blog posts.
- At the end of the email, place a button inviting your email list subscribers to read the rest of the blog post on your website.
Element #3 - The Initial Offer
- Create a page on your website dedicated solely to a low-cost, high-value offer so your prospects can engage with you at a low-risk to them.
- Place a link at the bottom of every blog post inviting your readers to check out your low-cost, high-value offer.
Getting Under the Hood
An important aspect of this marketing strategy is that it is very specific and only utilizes a small portion of the available marketing techniques and platforms. You will notice that there is no mention of social media in this strategy. There are also no webinars. This approach is specific, simple, and straightforward. All that is necessary is consistency and time.
The number one reason marketing campaigns fail is that they run out of money before they realize a return on investment.
The second reason is that they run out of content. The focus of this marketing strategy is to remove both of those obstacles. Content creation fails because there are too many types of content being created.
A small business will never be able to sustainably create content for social media posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and more while also developing webinars, managing emails, writing blogs, creating videos, and any other content creation “pillars” they are trying to maintain.
In pursuing these marketing strategies, small businesses will hire social media managers or email marketing managers to attempt to cover all the bases they’re being told they need to cover. The problem is that those employees will never generate revenue or results to justify their existence at the company. 6-12 months later, the business will let them go and the only thing they have to show for it is a hole the size of that employee’s salary.
Businesses may also hire a marketing consultant. This usually fails because the consultant usually costs around $5,000.00 per month themselves, and they require that the business spend more money on top of their cost in order to implement all the marketing strategies the consultant recommends.
Small businesses simply cannot bleed the kind of money that most marketing and sales consultants demand in the hopes of seeing some return.
This is why every marketing effort that a small business is going to use needs to have two elements.
- They need to have a low enough content requirement that the content creation can be sustained.
- They need to be at a price-point that the business can maintain for a significant period of time without it hurting them.
The marketing system outlined here fulfills both of these requirements!
All that a small business needs are a few keystone marketing efforts that are applied consistently. These efforts must be given the time they need to realize their potential.
This means that the business needs to have enough money to finance the marketing efforts for 9-12 months and they need to have the patience to do the same few things over and over, month after month, until they start to see results.
What It Really Takes to Market for a Small Business
Let’s return to the strategy itself and detail the requirements for a small business to sustain this marketing strategy.
- For a person who is comfortable with the topics they are writing about, a 2,000-word blog post takes roughly 3-4 hours to create.
- You should spend no more than 4 hours on your free resource giveaway. Here are a few examples of giveaways:
- A guide to fixing a common problem in your industry
- A 21-Day Challenge to make some sort of positive change for your prospects
- A cheat-sheet or reference guide for common technical terms or mistakes people make about your industry
- A how-to downloadable for a specific issue that you solve for your prospects
Since you’ve already done your content creation when you wrote your blog posts, the emails will be much less time-consuming.
- Writing your weekly email and scheduling it to send should take about 30 minutes per week.
- You can design a template in your email marketing software and then simply change out pictures and texts for each new email.
The Initial Offer
- The only time-consuming part of this is developing a specific webpage designed to sell your high-value, low-cost offer. This will most likely only take around 10 hours.
- Once you’ve developed the offer page, you can leave it alone and it will do its thing.
When all is said and done, in month one a business is going to need to invest 15-20 hours in getting their website adjusted, adding the initial offer page, and developing a list of blog topics. From there, the monthly time investment will be around 12-16 hours per month for blogs and 3-4 hours per month for email marketing.
So it only takes roughly 16-20 hours of work total per month to maintain this marketing strategy.
From a cost perspective, there are 2 ways to look at this.
The first is that in a small business scenario, the business owner is usually the most qualified person at the company to write the blog posts.
Most business owners I know bill themselves out at between $100-$200 an hour. We’ll say $150 as an average. So for a small business owner to spend 12-16 hours in a month writing blog posts, that’s roughly $2,400 - $3,000 in their time per month.
There is usually someone in most small businesses that already handles email marketing and giving them this task would simply be a change in how they were handling the emails.
From a website perspective, if the business has a company that manages their website already, they will most likely charge around $1,500 - $2,500 to build the offer page and adjust the homepage and the footer.
In this scenario, the business will likely have “hard” costs of about $1,500 - $2,500 in website fees up-front and “soft” costs of about $2,400 - $3,000 per month in ongoing time that the business owner spends writing blog posts. The most difficult part is sustaining the writing. The blog posts are the cornerstone of this marketing strategy and cannot be neglected.
Remember, you must be patient to see results from this strategy.
Understanding why this strategy works is necessary if you want to pursue it. There are a couple of reasons why this is the best way for a small business to maximize its marketing efforts with the least effort and expense possible.
- SEO is one of the most powerful ways to drive traffic to your website.
As the web and search engines have progressed, Google has only become more and more obsessed with websites that are proving to be customer-centric. One of the ways that Google measures this is through blogs, specifically long-form blogs. Google loves to see long, well-written, educative blogs and its algorithm favors websites that do this by placing them higher in search results.
- Email marketing is the most effective way to communicate with anyone.
Email is still the most highly opened and engaged form of communication available. So long as you are providing real, actionable information that is valuable to your subscribers, your email marketing efforts will generate significantly better responses than any other type of mass communication, including social media.
- The likelihood of a customer buying from you increases exponentially with the number of times they have purchased something.
This is a fancy way of saying if someone buys from you once, they’re more likely to buy again, and if they buy again, they’re way more likely to buy again. The use of the initial offer (the low-cost, high-value offer) is essential to creating a base of customers that have already agreed that you have something valuable and are willing to pay you for it. Once you’ve done this, you will be able to engage with them as customers, not prospects. This is a very important distinction.
- This strategy is cheap and simple enough that a small businesses can sustain it for 9-12 months.
This is perhaps the most important element of this marketing strategy. Without time, no marketing efforts will succeed. Again, content creation and cost are the two main reasons small business marketing campaigns fail. This marketing strategy solves both of those problems.
Get Started on Your Marketing Strategy!
If you’re a small business that is engaging with a marketing consultant and you’re starting to wonder how much longer you can keep paying them, stop working with them. In order for marketing to work, it needs to be consistent and have enough time to start working.
It’s like an apple pie. You have to let it bake for a while. If you know, right now, that you can’t maintain the monthly cost for 9-12 months, then stop immediately. You are literally wasting your money.
Keep in mind, everything I have outlined in this article is completely doable by any small business. There aren’t any special skills required (you can Google about mail client, website building, etc), just knowing which actions to take and how long to take them.
Marketing is more straightforward than many people think, the real trick is consistency and patience.Back to the blog