As a small business leader, you are constantly being pulled in various directions and bear the ultimate responsibility for every element of your business. Because of this, during busy periods or when urgent matters arise, marketing often takes a back seat or gets delegated to team members who may lack the necessary marketing expertise.
This situation inevitably leads to uncertainty, inconsistent branding, confusing messaging, communication and marketing materials riddled with errors, and a constant cycle of trial and error without achieving desired outcomes.
If you’ve been listening to the Priority Pursuit Podcast, then you know that utilizing the flywheel marketing method can eliminate this confusion and provide you with an effective marketing system. But what exactly is the flywheel method, and how can you implement it in your own business?
In this week’s episode of Priority Pursuit, we break down the four phases of the flywheel method and go into detail on why it’s the best marketing strategy for small businesses.
What is the flywheel marketing method & how do you implement it?
The flywheel marketing system is a marketing strategy where your website and online marketing efforts are in sync and function as a flywheel to continually produce results. Think of it like a hand-crank flashlight. If you apply energy upfront, you’ll have light for a long time.
In the same way, when you use the flywheel marketing method, you or your marketing team will need to put in quite a bit of work upfront. Then, your marketing will more or less continue to work on its own—simply requiring minimal maintenance—which is ideal for busy small businesses who want to see big, consistent results.
The flywheel marketing method includes four phases:
- Understanding your audience and creating clear messaging
- Building a strong foundation with a strategically-built, SEO-optimized website
- Creating content and a sales funnel that serve your ideal client well
- Promoting your products, services, and content
Again, creating your flywheel system will take a lot of upfront work—whether you do it yourself, work with freelancers to handle pieces of it, or partner with an agency like Treefrog to build your flywheel entirely. But, once this system is in place, we can almost promise you that you will finally see the results in your small business you’ve been working so hard to achieve—that is assuming you’re already offering a great product or service and are serving your customers well.
Now, let’s break down each of the four phases you need to complete to create a functioning marketing flywheel.
1. Understanding your audience and creating clear messaging.
If you’ve listened to any of our recent episodes, you likely already know the importance of understanding your audience and creating clear messaging. This is absolutely the most important step in marketing and something we often see small businesses fail to do.
So, let’s break down how to understand your audience.
Before you can truly understand your audience, you need to understand that they are the hero of your marketing story—not your business. You instead need to position yourself as the guide, the person who helps the hero find the solution to their problem.
If you don’t do this, your marketing will continue to fall flat time after time. In other words, your marketing won’t work if you make it about your business and not about meeting the needs of your ideal customers.
Now, to truly understand your best customers so that you can build your flywheel marketing system around them, you need to complete six steps.
1. Learn who they are.
First, you need to learn who your ideal client is. What’s their age, income, or gender? Work to understand what they value, what their opinions are, and what they’re interested in. You’ll also need to determine where they live—or determine if that even matters.
Also, how do they like to be communicated with? Are they on social media? Do they prefer email? How about asking questions via a chat?
2. Determine what your audience wants to accomplish.
Do your ideal customers want to make a difference? Do they want to save money? Save time? Have the best-manicured lawn in the neighborhood? What is the thing they really want help finding or achieving? This is going to be what you help them to accomplish.
3. Identify what problems they’re facing.
Most people put stumbling blocks in their own path when it comes to solving a problem or getting involved. For some, it’s a lack of time, lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, or fear of spending too much money or having to break a societal stigma. You need to figure out what is the most pressing issue your ideal customers have, so you can help them solve it.
4. Understand how these problems make them feel.
When you know how their problems make them feel, you get the opportunity to help them overcome their challenges, allowing you to be the guide. Remember—the guide doesn’t just start telling the hero how to fix his or her problem—the guide builds trust by showing that he or she understands the situation before giving advice. You need to do the same. So, figure out how their problem makes them feel so you can provide guidance out of their emotional turmoil.
5. Create a clear solution for their problem.
In other words, how can your products or services help them make their lives better? Just like in your favorite book or movie, the guide didn’t just pat the hero on his back, raise his confidence, and tell him it was going to be ok. The guide also told the hero what he needed to do in order to save the day. You need to do the same with your audience.
6. Define what will happen when they follow your advice.
If someone chooses to buy from you or work with you, what will they get in return or how will it help them? Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” by reminding them what success will look like if they follow your advice.
How to Create Clear Messaging
Now that you understand your audience, you’re ready to create clear messaging—which is simply communication that your ideal customers can understand quickly and easily. Again, if you’ve listened to just about any episode of Priority Pursuit in the last six or seven months, you know that the key to successful marketing is clear messaging.
This is because people don’t always support the “best” businesses or invest in the “best” products or services. Instead, they typically purchase the products and services they can most easily understand.
To ensure your message is clear and customer-focused, you simply need to create what we like to call your five Marketing Guiding Statements, which include your:
- Talking Points
- A One Liner
- Your Story Pitch
- Your Why
- A Sales Script
Your Marketing Guiding Statements are part of the first phase of the flywheel marketing method because they are the GPS of your marketing efforts. Meaning, once you have these statements written, you’ll know exactly what to say on your website, in your content, in social media posts, and to prospects to convert prospective clients into paying customers.
2. Building a strong foundation with a strategically-built, SEO-optimized website.
Now, let’s move on to phase two: building a strong foundation with a strategically-built, SEO-optimized website.
Your website is the foundation for all of your marketing and communication efforts and is your small business’s most powerful marketing tool. That said, it isn’t enough to just have a website. Your website needs to serve your ideal clients well by helping them quickly and easily understand what you offer, how you can help solve their problems, and how they can work with you. And, your website needs to be able to be easily found when prospects are actively looking for your products or services on Google.
How to Build a Lead-Generating Website
Now, a common mistake small businesses often make is building a website without taking the time to develop a website strategy. To make your next website build as efficient and effective as possible, we recommend building a website using the following steps:
1. Create a customer-focused web plan.
First, create a customer-focused web plan. Your website needs to serve your ideal customers extremely well—which is one of the many reasons understanding your audience is the first step in creating your marketing flywheel.
As a result, the first step in building a strategic website is to outline a plan for your website. For example, what pages need to be on your website? What elements or functionality does your website need to include (e.g. an event calendar, a way to schedule appointments, etc.)? What does the layout of your website need to look like? What elements or information need to be on your site?
2. Create an initial keyword & SEO strategy for your website.
Next, you need to create an initial keyword and SEO strategy for your website. You will save yourself hours upon hours of time if you do keyword research for the main pages of your website BEFORE you start writing copy or designing your site.
3. Write the copy for your website.
Once your web plan is designed and the keywords for the main pages of your website have been identified, it’s then time to write the copy (AKA the words) for your website.
Now, a common mistake small businesses make is trying to write their copy and design their website at the same time. However, to save time and so that your content can drive the design of your website, we recommend simply writing the copy for your site in a Google Doc BEFORE you design your site.
4. Design your website with a purposeful flow.
Then, in addition to making sure your website includes the right information, you also need to ensure your site is easy for your ideal customers to use and navigate.
Basically, as you design your website, make sure your site doesn’t require users to do a bunch of clicking or detective work to find the information they need. To do this, we recommend only including five to six options in the main navigation to make it extremely easy for people to find what they are looking for.
5. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Today, more people view websites from their mobile devices than from desktops. With this in mind, design your website to function well on all devices. User-friendly web builders like Showit allow you to optimize your website for both desktop and mobile.
How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Now, a customer-focused, well-designed website will get you far—but optimizing your site for search engines is crucial.
When people are in need of a local product or service, 97% turn to Google. As a result, if your website isn’t appearing on the first page when prospective customers look for your products and services, you’re missing out on business.
With this in mind, you want to take the time to optimize your website and business for search engines.
SEO (which stands for search engine optimization) is a free process that helps your website rank well on Google (or other search engines) when users conduct searches related to your products, services, or content.
There are a lot of moving parts to a successful SEO strategy, but SEO has the power to do big things for your small business. After all, when people intentionally look for a service or product, most go to Google and many are ready to make a purchase. So, when your website is one of the first solutions they see in a search, they will be more likely to buy from you.
Again, there are a lot of moving parts to a successful SEO strategy, but when it comes to building a website with a strong SEO foundation, you want to be sure to:
- Add Google Analytics to your website.
- Set up Google Search Console.
- Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.
- Create a Google Business Profile.
- Create online directory listings.
- Create a system for regularly receiving online reviews from happy customers.
By building a strong foundation with a strategic website and proper SEO, you can effectively engage and reach your ideal customers.
3. Creating content & a sales funnel that serves your ideal client well.
After you’ve built a strong foundation with a customer-focused, SEO-optimized website, the next step in the flywheel method is to implement a content marketing strategy and sales funnel that serve your ideal customers well and make them want to further engage with your small business.
How to Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
First, let’s talk about content marketing. Content marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses create and distribute valuable, relevant, and engaging content to attract their ideal clients. Just for clarification, when we say “content” we mean blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, infographics, organic social media posts, and any other medium that allows you to share a message and engage with your audience.
Instead of promoting a product or service, content marketing focuses on providing information, entertainment, or helpful resources that get prospects to see a business as a trusted authority.
Now, the goal of content marketing is to attract prospects by creating content that is relevant and helpful—not interruptive. Great content leads, guides, and directs customers where you want them to go.
In order for your content marketing efforts to be effective, you must use your audience and keyword strategies to understand who your prospective customers are and what they want to accomplish. With this information, you’ll be able to determine what content needs to be developed and how you can lead prospects through your buyer’s journey.
With all of this in mind, in this phase of the flywheel marketing method, you want to create a content marketing strategy with:
- Engaging and informative content that leads prospects through your buyer’s journey.
- Monthly, SEO-optimized blog posts. Again, there are many moving parts to a successful SEO strategy, but Google favors websites that are regularly updated with fresh, quality content and websites and content that utilize SEO based on best practices.
How to Create a Sales Funnel
Now, content marketing is a great way to attract prospects, serve them well, and build trust. However, the secret to generating more qualified leads is to build and get prospects into your sales funnel (AKA your email list).
Your lead-generation system should include:
- A Landing Page: Your website landing page (or opt-in page) guides customers through the curiosity phase of the relationship. It gives them the reasons why they should exchange their email address for the valuable information you’re offering.
- Lead Generator or Offer: Your lead generator—which can be as simple as a PDF with valuable information—is an excellent way to generate highly qualified leads. It also allows an ideal customer to continue to engage with your brand without having too much risk associated.
- Sales Email Campaign: Someone who gives you their email address is a highly-qualified lead, and you want to use this to your advantage by creating an automated sales email campaign (we use six emails at Treefrog) that is used to “seal the deal.
4. Promoting your products, services, and content.
The final phase of the flywheel marketing method is promotion. Basically, once you have a customer-focused website, content, and lead generator—you need to promote these items.
Now, you might be listening and thinking, “Got it. I’ll just share about these things on social media, and my flywheel method will be complete.” However, thanks to ever-changing social media algorithms, organic posting isn’t enough for most small businesses anymore.
In order to reach and connect with your ideal clients, you have to get your content in front of your audience. Since organic social media is no longer a dependable resource, this phase of the flywheel method includes helping your audience find your website and content through:
- Social Media Ads: While organic social media’s reach may be down, social media advertising is a highly effective and arguably very affordable way to reach your best customers.
- Google Ads: Like we mentioned before, when people are looking for a product or service or if they have a question, most turn to Google. With Google ads, you can ensure that your website and content are among the first listed via Google search.
- Nurture Email Campaigns: After prospects take you up on your lead generator or opt-in, the conversation shouldn’t stop after they’ve received your six sales funnel emails. Continue to engage with them via nurture email campaigns, which can include regular emails featuring product announcements, tips, inspiration, updates, valuable content you’ve curated, and sharing nearly anything that serves your ideal clients well and keeps your small business top of mind.
- Targeted Email Campaigns: Emailing your entire email list is great, but you’ll likely find even more success through targeted email campaigns—email campaigns for specific subsections of your audience who have already expressed interest in specific products, services, or types of content.
Can a single person realistically implement the flywheel marketing method?
If you have the time, yes. Between drag-and-drop web builders like Showit, YouTube how-to videos, the resources we’re committed to sharing with you via Priority Pursuit and at Treefrog, and all the information available on the internet, you can implement this strategy on your own.
However, as a small business owner or leader, handling every aspect of this strategy on your own likely isn’t the best use of your time. After all, several skill sets and knowledge you may not currently have will be required. And, chances are, the time needed to learn these new skills and information will take a lot of time—which will inhibit business growth— and prevent you from focusing on other aspects of your small business and life outside the office.
With this in mind, we want to encourage you to:
- Commit to implementing the flywheel marketing method. Again, we are passionate about this strategy because we’ve seen it work for small businesses of all sizes and across countless industries.
- Take the flywheel method one step at a time. There’s a reason this strategy is broken up into four phases. With every phase, you’ll see bigger results. Even if you can only focus on phases one and two for now, you’ll likely experience growth.
- Outsource aspects of the flywheel method. Again, implementing the flywheel method is a lot for a single person or even a small team to handle. That said, you can outsource some or even all of this strategy.
For example, you can hire a web designer to build your website or work with a StoryBrand certified guide to write your lead-generation items. Or, if you’re interested in working with us at Treefrog, we would love to jump on a discovery call with you—which you can schedule at treefrogmarketing.com.
We work with our agency clients to get their flywheel marketing system set up in full so they can focus on other important aspects of their businesses and life outside the office.
While implementing this method may seem daunting, we at Treefrog truly believe the flywheel marketing method is the best marketing strategy for small businesses. By bringing clarity and structure to your marketing efforts, it can help your small business see the results you’ve been working so hard to achieve.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Clarify Your Message with Our FREE Mini Course: “The First Step to Effective Marketing for Small Businesses: Writing Your Marketing Guiding Statements”
- Receive 50% Off Your First Year of HoneyBook
- Learn More About Treefrog’s Small Business Marketing Resources & Services
- Join the Priority Pursuit Facebook Community
- Follow or DM Treefrog Marketing on Instagram
- Follow or DM Kelly Rice on Instagram
- Follow or DM Victoria Rayburn on Instagram
The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.
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