3 simple steps to an effective marketing strategy

Don’t be daunted by complex, expensive marketing strategies. Often, basic marketing activity is all that’s required for a small business.

I once visited a small business on the verge of collapse. Despite having had an external consultant craft a marketing strategy, they still weren’t winning business.

The strategy itself was about 6 inches thick and kept in a folder. Understandably, the business owners hadn’t read it in detail and felt it was ‘just stuff copied and pasted from the internet’.

The nature of the business was website programming. The only marketing tactic identified in the marketing strategy was telesales, the thought of which was too daunting. Therefore the strategy document had been a waste of money.

If this sounds familiar, then I’m here to tell you creating your own marketing strategy should be much more simple!

Step 1: Identify your core service

Seems obvious, but is your core service or product offering crystal clear? Without a straightforward definition, it’s impossible to determine who will want what you’re offering.

Establish what problem your business solves for buyers and write it down. Ensure to avoid jargon and write it so a 14 year old could understand it.

Take me as an example, I’m a Management Consultant. I can’t assume that everyone knows what that means! So what is it I actually do? This is a clearer description of the service I provide:

“Sound advice and practical assistance to help small businesses increase profits”.

Step 2: What is your target market?

With a defined service offering, the next stage is to determine who is in the market for it. What type of customers are you trying to attract?

The web programmers I visited had failed to identify their core service offering and target audience, proving almost fatal. Without this knowledge, the external marketing consultant had recommended they market their business to companies needing new websites. However, when we followed my recommended steps one and two, we discovered the following:

Core service offering: technical build of pre-designed websites
Target audience: website designers

So actually, their audience had been completely wrong. It’s no surprise then that their marketing strategy was destined to fail.

Step 3: Decide on marketing strategy

Now you understand the importance of knowing who you’re talking to and what about. The question is, how do you communicate it?

For the web programmers I mentioned, in fact telesales was still appropriate. All that needed to change was the audience. With a list of the right people who needed their services, the idea of speaking to those people became less daunting.

In addition to this, they redesigned their own website to have the right messages and also started networking.

The moral of this story is simple, get the background right before deciding on your marketing actions! To find out more about choosing the right marketing activity and creating a plan, read on to my next blog: 4 simple marketing tactics for micro businesses.

As ever, if you need any help implementing my advice, why not contact me for a free new business review? I’ll spend two hours with you giving you professional coaching and will leave you with actions for immediate implementation.

Doug D’Aubrey.

4 simple marketing tactics for micro businesses

Micro businesses don’t need a complicated marketing strategy. Instead, key marketing tactics that fit within resource and reach the correct target audience are absolutely sufficient.

In my last blog I explained the 3 simple elements that make up a marketing strategy fit for a small business. Refer back to it here if you haven’t yet read it.

Put simply, the strategy should define the product or service you provide, together with the target audience. The final step is to establish which marketing tactics to employ?

There are many options! Here are some of the tactics I recommend to my clients:


Having a recognisable brand is an excellent way to raise awareness of your business and to build customer loyalty.

As with much of my advice, you can keep this pretty simple. A logo combined with a set of brand colours and fonts is all a micro business needs. Using these consistently across all of your marketing efforts will aid recognition and help build trust. When you have a recognisable brand and offer a consistently good service, customers spend less time researching you, and their buying decisions become easier.

I do recommend getting proper support with this though; to get all the benefits it does need to look like it’s been professionally done. I personally recommend Wondrous, who I use for my marketing communications. Ensure you find someone to help you get this right.


Another fundamental is to have a company website. Apart from anything else, many prospects will want to look you up when completing their research prior to deciding whether to spend their money with you.

If you sell products, a website can be an additional revenue stream. Likewise, done well and with regular, useful content being added it can also draw potential new customers to your site.


If you can’t afford to pay a sales team, then networking could be your answer. This involves promoting the products and services of other members to your own clients, and crucially, they do the same for you! This creates warm leads.

Networking is another great way to raise awareness of your business but also has the hidden benefit of making great contacts for your own business. Meeting with like-minded business owners can help with sharing advice and problem-solving.

There are many free and paid events, check them all out and see which works for you. Find out more about the benefits of networking in my recent article: How to create strategic alliances that win sales.

Social media

71% of people say they are more likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow on social media (source).

Which channels to employ really depends on the product or service you offer. For B2C products, Facebook is a no-brainer while LinkedIn is best suited to B2B businesses. That’s not to say they can’t work the other way around though. Test the ones you think could apply and monitor responses and engagement to decide where you should focus your efforts.

There are lots of social media specialists out there who can help with this, and depending on your budget, you can could choose from one-off or ad hoc audits and training sessions, right through to full management including content creation and scheduling.

If you do decide to go it alone, just remember that social media should be social! So be conversational rather than overly promotional and be sure to also share content from other sources that your audience may like, it will help place you as an expert in their eyes.

If you need any help implementing any of my advice, or would like to investigate other marketing options available to you, why not contact me for a free new business review? I’ll spend two hours giving you professional coaching and will leave you with actions for immediate implementation.

Doug D’Aubrey.