Never been a better time to market a small business…
So, I constantly hear small business owners say that they don’t market their business. Well, they don’t SAY it out loud, but that is what I hear. What I hear is that they don’t advertise their small business. That they rely on word of mouth advertising…because it is the BEST form of advertising. Most of these people (and there are the occasional exception), don’t stay busy, or do not have businesses that are growing. I heard an analogy once that compared a business to a plant. A plant is either growing or it’s dying; and that is the same with your small business.
Why do I say that there has never been a better time to market a small business? Well, because that is what my friend Timbo Reid from the Small Business Big Marketing podcast says all the time…and to be honest, I believe him. Gone are the days when in order to compete with the BIG boys, you would have to buy big full page spreads in a magazine, a large radio campaign, or heaven forbid a TV ad. Yes these are all forms of advertising, but this is NOT what you need to do to MARKET your business.
There are a lot of definitions floating out there about marketing. I even have a marketing degree, but I think far too few small business owners understand what marketing is really about. It is a topic we could talk about for…well, forever actually. There are blogs and podcasts, books, and courses and so many other places to educate on the subject. But let’s keep it simple, because that is how I think.
I believe marketing is everything that communicates your value proposition. Everything that reminds your customer what you are really all about. Why they should spend their hard earned money with you. So, that brings up another question (I hate it when people answer one question with another question). Your Value Proposition is the added value a customer gets over and above the actual thing they are buying. So lets look at Starbucks. When you go to Starbucks for a coffee, you are not just buying a coffee. If you think about it, coffee is just filtered water. We have turned coffee into so much more though. Now it includes milk, sugar, flavors, etc. But when you buy your Veni soy not whip vanilla late, you are getting the ambiance in the store, the friendly staff, the music in the store, the Starbucks coffee cup, and the feeling you get driving home. If you don’t believe me, are you willing to pay $4.78 for a coffee at the corner gas station? I don’t think so. These things are their value proposition. They make Starbucks stand out.
So, what is your value proposition? If you are a graphic designer, what do you do for your clients that make their purchase more than just a transaction? More than a nice logo. You have to give them an experience. We love to get emotionally attached to things and people we do business with.
When I was a kid in college, I started painting houses. My dad used to tell me: “Nick, remember, you are going to school so you don’t have to paint houses the rest of your life.” Ha! Still painting houses. Well, kind of, but that is a story for a different day. When I first started painting houses, I bought my paint at the local Benjamin Moore dealer. They were great. They could always answer my questions. And I had a lot of questions. But what I remember what really got me coming back…cookies!! They had a tin of crapy assorted cookies sitting on the counter. When I would be waiting for my paint, I would eat cookies. So stupid, right? Not stupid. It was a very small thing that got me, their customer, to come back again, and again. Do you have something small and stupid that you could give to your customers to encourage them to come back? I bet you do.
So what is marketing? COOKIES! Who doesn’t like cookies. So simple.
If you want to learn how business owners have successfully grown their business, listen to our podcast. We have old shows still on iTunes, and we will be launching our new show October 1st! Stay tuned. It’s time to grow YOUR business.