During a meeting with a friend who is also a colleague, she mentioned that she was joining a group that meets at 7.30 in the morning. After expressing my extreme dislike for early morning meetings, her response was: “I don’t like morning meetings either, but this is important enough that I’ll do it.” And I totally agree with her, because her business runs on in-person referrals. It is critical she finds groups that will send her good referrals. For a virtual business like mine, I do not need to meet people in person for referrals. So a 7.30 in-person meeting is not as important for me.
After this conversation, I created a Marketing Decision Tree for choosing the best marketing tools for your business. So many business owners get caught up in what they think they are supposed to be doing with marketing that they may not be getting the best bang for our buck.
Foot Traffic: a way to spread the word about your business in masses, with limited targeting. This could be a sandwich board on the sidewalk outside your shop. Or it could be online followers on Instagram, etc.
Relationships: can be in person, online, between people, and between companies.
Expert: Ways to share expertise that is not advertising, such as giving interviews. There is no overt pitch when sharing expertise (though some may give a pitch at the end). By being out there and being seen, you are promoting your business by spreading your knowledge.
Advertising: Physical (flyers, billboards, radio/tv) or online (google, social media). These have an overt pitch, can be catchy, and can focus on the benefits. Think commercials or paid ads.
If you are a retail shop, your customers are individual consumers. You rely on multiple customers per day, expecting walk ins etc. Thus Foot Traffic and Advertising will bring the optimal amount of business. That could be a sandwich board, a radio spot, an Instagram feed, or Facebook ads. You do not necessarily need to join a networking group or exhibit at a conference. In my Marketing Decision Tree above, you would be the B2C (Business to Customers). You are customer driven and must get foot traffic in and out. Therefore, your best means of marketing is through foot traffic and advertising.
But say you own a consulting firm that supports small businesses. You work at your home office that clients do not go to. And you only need a handful of clients at a time. You are a B2B (Business to Business) on my diagram above--no physical location, and low volume. Your primary areas to focus would be Relationships and Experts. You need to join networking groups and share your expertise through interviews, blogs, public speaking, etc. A lot of businesses like this find that they do not even need a website and sometimes not even a social media presence. I have met consultants like this who only have a simple landing page to obtain client leads. The relationships they make and networking they do is far more important than selling their business on other platforms. It is crucial for them to get their expertise out there through podcasts and panel events. They focus their efforts purely on nurturing relationships for referrals.
For help in marketing your small business, contact Freedom Makers today. We can help you decide which way to market and provide a virtual assistant to maintain it. Be it creating and managing social media posts to researching professional organizations, podcasts and events to attend, a Freedom Maker can keep your marketing efforts strong.