A lot of small businesses have trouble with their small business marketing. They have trouble because it’s too simple. But let’s get this straight, simple is not the same thing as easy. Some things look easy, like setting up a Facebook page. But unless your Facebook strategy is interlinked into your overall business strategy, that Facebook page is useless. You won’t be any closer to your business goals in the future than you are today.

The idea of marketing is simple. You have a great product or service, and you tell the people out there about how great your product or service is, thus becoming customers. Sounds easy, right? Well, to be honest it’s a bit more complicated than that. There are so many different techniques that you can use, and you absolutely need to understand who you are trying to reach and how best to reach them.

First of all, let’s clear up a few common misconceptions. Marketing is not all about selling. Marketing involves several different tactics, such as website copy, email marketing campaigns, SEO, brochures, ad campaigns, conversion funnels and much more. And these tactics are very likely to be important to your business. But none of these things is what marketing is really about.

Marketing is about creating a relationship with your one ideal customer. It’s about figuring out who they are, what they are looking for and how you can offer that one thing that they will absolutely adore. It’s about getting into their mind, getting their attention and bringing them on board as a loyal customer. And any of the previously mentioned marketing tactics are only one piece of the puzzle. When used in isolation, you’re not creating that relationship with your customer.

Marketing is simple. There are only three steps, and they’re linked into your business plan. Your marketing plan should never be separate from your business plan. And here they are:

Synchronize

The first part of the small business marketing process is identifying who your ideal customer is. Who would benefit the most from your product or service? Who’s pain can your small business solve? Who is it that is going to be excited about what you can offer? Without knowing who your customer is, your marketing efforts are nothing more than shots in the dark.

When creating your customer profile, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Try to paint a picture as complete as possible. What do they do in their spare time? Where do they go on holiday? What foods do they like to eat? Grab as much information as possible from as many different sources as you can. And don’t think that any of this information is trivial. Finding out about what your customer does in their spare time will shed light on ways that you can start a dialogue with those customers.

Once you have figured out some information about your customer, you’ll need to synch your offer with who you’re offering it to. Once you’ve figured that out, the rest of the marketing plan will be so much easier to put together. You’ll know who you are trying to reach, their wants and needs and how your business can benefit them. Tailor the offer to your customer.

Draw them in

Once you’ve tailored the perfect solution to your ideal customer’s problem, then you need to grab that customer’s attention. This is where much of what people perceive marketing to be comes into play.  You will use all of that information that you’ve gathered in the synch stage to figure out how to draw your ideal customer in. Make sure that your message is in the places where your customer is. Catch them off guard. Pique their interest. And slowly draw them towards you.

Engage them

Once you have captured the attention of your ideal customer, you can’t just come right out and expect them to instantly become a lifelong customer. Things don’t move that quickly. Take it in small steps. Do something simple, like entice them to join your mailing list. Once they have made that step, be sure to reward them. Give them a small token of your appreciation, such as exclusive content, or a brief moment of your time. It will make the effort that they’ve put in seem like a really great value.

Next, take another step. Offer them something a bit more substantial. Something like an offer or a free trial. Something that adds to your perceived value. Once they’ve moved a bit closer to you, then you can entice them into making a purchase. But don’t forget that once the purchase happens, the customer is still engaged with your small business. Make sure that your customer has the absolute best customer experience that they could possibly have. When a customer has a positive experience with a product or service, there is a 90% chance that they will become a repeat customer.

And that’s the name of the game.

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