26 Oct 2018
3 simple steps to an effective marketing strategy
Written by Doug D'Aubrey

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.