Most business owners know that marketing is important, but many are not sure where to focus their efforts. The answer is on your messaging, website, and social media. How you craft your messaging and construct your website greatly impacts whether your customers make a purchase or not. Here are the essential concepts of crafting your message and building a successful small business marketing plan.
The three most impactful elements of a strong marketing plan include your messaging, website, and social media. Below is a quick overview of each foundational element and why it’s important. Later on in this article we will discuss each in more detail.
You can maximize your marketing efforts by targeting your best customer. To get specific, you’ll need to understand what your customer’s story is. The key to understanding your customers is empathy—you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes and be willing to make them the hero of your company’s messaging.
A strategic website is your most powerful tool in terms turning prospects into customers. Your website is like a salesman that works 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. But like any salesman, your website needs training! In order for your website to sell your products and services effectively, the messaging must be crafted in the right way.
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become effective tools for businesses to naturally communicate with potential clients. Just like your website, your social media posts and ads should utilize strategic content.
Marketers know that confused buyers don’t buy anything. In fact, consumers don’t even always buy the best products or services; they buy the products and services they can understand most easily. This is extremely important research to understand as it greatly affects the success of your marketing messages.
Storytelling has been proven to be the best way to successfully communicate with the human brain. You might be surprised to find out that effective messaging actually follows the same format as your favorite book or movie. However, the key to writing great messaging is to remember that your customer must become the hero of the story, not you.
It’s more important and effective for your organization to be a guide in the story. This helps build immediate brand trust and lowers the risk of customers feeling like you are trying to sell them something. It’s most effective to focus on meeting the needs of your customers through their eyes.
Storytelling has been proven to be the best way to successfully communicate with the human brain. We appreciate the continuity of the classic storytelling sequence, which includes these key elements:
Using a storytelling strategy in website copy, blogs, advertisements, and social media posts and ads, you will help you connect with readers more effectively and turn your potential customers into buyers.
The key to understanding your customers is empathy—you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes. The easiest way to do this is to take their story elements and create buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a way for you to organize and target your ideal customers based on their stories. Here’s an example from a shuttle company:
Student Sam – Sam is a college student who needs a ride to the airport. Sam could be a domestic student or an international student.
She is looking for a safe, on-time, and affordable option that can carry all of her luggage. More than likely, Sam is a new passenger and has NO idea how the booking process works. She will need to be communicated with multiple times to make her feel comfortable about booking a shuttle ride. She needs to be reassured that she will make her flight in plenty of time. The booking and communication process needs to be very clear and concise.
Many businesses will have more than one buyer persona, but just remember to resist the urge to be too broad.
We know that the human brain responds favorably to clarity. If a message is too complex, our brains determine that it’s too hard to follow and our attention is quickly lost. In fact, clear messaging for your website is so important that success hinges on just the first eight seconds of someone visiting your site. In order to be successful, those first eight seconds a visitor arrives, your site must clearly convey:
This is why choosing the right words for your messaging is extremely important if you want to keep your customers engaged and drive them to do something.
It’s proven that when people are given an easy-to-follow plan of action it helps remove preconceived ideas about something being too complicated. An effective plan of action has three steps that will make prospects feel more at ease and subconsciously think to themselves, “That’s not hard. I can do that.”
By giving customers a simple plan to follow, they’ll be more likely to buy or take the next step. Again, using the example of the airport shuttle service, your plan of action should look something like this:
You can use this plan of action in your web copy, advertisements, social media, and any other pieces of content.
Social media is ever-changing and can be a small business’s best friend or worst enemy.
Social media is one of the most strategic tactics you can utilize to reach your customers. Unfortunately, ONLY posting to your Facebook page is no longer a good option when looking to increase traffic to your website or build brand awareness. This is why a social media ad strategy is a very important part of a foundational marketing plan.
By crafting messages based on your customer’s story and utilizing paid social media advertising to target your best customer types, you’ll be able to drive more traffic to your website. Plus, social media ad analytics will become your best friend. Through paying attention to your analytics, you’ll be able to quickly tell what ads are performing verses the ones that aren’t and then can adjust your strategy and budget accordingly.
While business owners and sales professionals are great at what they do and are experts in their fields, most struggle with knowing how to effectively grow a company. The three most important concepts of a small business marketing plan are messaging, website, and social media. If you implement these elements correctly, your return on investment will surpass your expectations.