Marketing — like every industry under the sun — is undergoing rapid, radical change thanks to digitization and modernization. But that doesn’t mean the fundamentals of marketing have changed, too.
As a small business, you still need a clear understanding of who your customers are, what language and communication style works for them, and which medium of communication they prefer. “The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out From the Crowd” by Allan Dib effortlessly describes these key foundations for small and midsize businesses.
Dib is an experienced, successful entrepreneur. He has spent many years starting and growing businesses in information technology, marketing, and telecommunications. His experience in marketing strategy as a business leader is invaluable, and the lessons he presents will help your business gain new customers and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Here are three of those lessons:
1. Prioritize marketing
There are thousands upon thousands of failed companies that made amazing products and performed fantastic services. Why did they fail? Well, the business leaders for those companies weren’t making marketing a priority.
A good product or a great service is, for the most part, a customer retention tool. Dib realized in his years as a business leader that acquisition needs to come first and that marketing should be emphasized to acquire new customers.
Early on in Dib’s career, he heard an important piece of advice from a mentor: “If [customers] never buy from you, they’ll never know how good your services are. Your job is to become a successful marketer because the best marketer wins every time.” One of his first companies was struggling to gain new clients, and his mentor gave him the missing puzzle piece.
2. Create a marketing blueprint
As a business leader, you probably get excited whenever you get an idea to add a product or service to your menu of offerings. Before you can do that, you need to have a plan.
Dib compares creating a new business to building a house or going to the doctor, which presents a great debate: Would you do either one if the architect or the doctor didn’t have a plan for next steps? Probably not. A good marketing plan acts as your blueprint, helping you lay out all the ways you will acquire and retain clients.
Once you know the plan, you can add features as long as they make sense. In other words, you can’t add a brand-new gas stove without knowing where the gas line is — or even where the kitchen will be. Such clarity will only help you in the long run.
3. Develop essential pieces of content and give them away
You need to create content that gives a thorough explanation of your company or your industry. Once you’ve done that, give it away for free. This will help build up your database of leads.
This type of content is typically referred to as a lead magnet, and it can be anything from a whitepaper to a video series to an industry report. Gate the content and collect information via an online form. You can then keep in touch with those leads, continuously giving them valuable information until they become customers.
According to Dib, only about 3 percent of your audience (on average) will make a quick purchase. While plenty of companies are happy enough with that small amount, they’re losing a lot of business by ignoring everyone else. Free, lead-generating content helps small businesses build brand awareness and succeed long after a hot lead has made a purchase and moved on.
Many small businesses work hard to create a marketing strategy, but B2Bs typically stop their efforts or fall flat because they aren’t gaining a steady return on investment. If you’re part of the 32 percent of small business owners who want to improve their marketing, use Dib’s plans to gain the upper hand, find new customers, and stand out against your competitors.