How to grow your small business with marketing when you don’t have the time or the knowledge to do it right? The answer is simple: Systems! If you know me, you’ll know I’m all ears when marketing veteran Sunny Logsdon patiently explains how to implement them.
As a small business owner, you’re wearing all the hats.
Some you wear with ease. Others are plain hard work.
Ask me how I know!
One of these hard-work-hats for me is marketing. When the task on hand also eats away at your precious time, it gets even worse.
From what I can see, it’s the case for many small business owners. Added to that, marketing is a constantly evolving world with its own specific language. It’s no surprise it ends up in the too hard basket.
But I have to say this: I MAY BE MANY THINGS, BUT I’M NOT NAIVE.
I KNOW my business needs content marketing like my lungs need air.
I just don’t want it to be hard or time-consuming. The question is: HOW?
The most straightforward answer is, as always, TALK TO THE EXPERTS.
In this case, that’s expert is Sunny Logsdon, a veteran branding and content marketing strategist with a soft spot for small business owners. The girl is on a mission to help people like you and me access the tools used by large corporates. And the results, may I say, are PHENOMENAL.
Content strategy vs. marketing strategy
Long-term content marketing expert Sunny will be the first to admit that not all marketing is created equal.
It’s been said that content marketing is the only marketing that is left. And while that might not be entirely true, it’s undeniable that as a small business, you need valuable content for an array of marketing channels. And you need LOTS of it.
As far as Sunny is concerned, your marketing strategy should have 2 parts:
On the one hand, there is inbound marketing, which basically is content that helps potential clients get to know you and your business. Good inbound marketing is useful, creates long-term relationships, it inspires people; it leaves them with the feeling that you understand their problem. Think content in the form of articles, blogs, podcast, emails.
There is also interruption marketing. This type of marketing does literally what it says: it interrupts people in whatever it is they are doing. Think of it as the more traditional type of marketing: a pop-up ad, an advertisement on a radio program.
What’s important is that both work together to bring your customers deeper and deeper into your sales funnel.
Marketing Strategy For Small Business
If you have been following the podcast for a little while, you’ll know we recently had in-depth conversations about how you create a business that leans into your strengths. It’s important. It’s powerful. And in my opinion, it’s (part of) the secret to success.
Marketing isn’t any different.
So when you develop a marketing strategy plan that fits your business and your personality as the business owner, you look for the intersection between what your customers most want and what you are comfortable doing.
It all boils down to answering these 3 questions:
Question 1: What do you enjoy doing?
If it feels taxing, it’s going to be hard to do. We want to do something that comes easily to us.
Question 2: Who is your target audience and where do you find them?
Question 3: What are the problems your clients face you can help them with?
Social Media is a great place to start your marketing strategy research. Facebook has many groups and getting into a Facebook group where your target market is gives you unique insight in to people’s problems, challenges and desires. It has the added benefit that you hear people explain their challenges in their own voice, something you want to use for your own content.
What follows is a sigh on my end.
I tell Sunny that this is all fine and dandy to tell us about how to grow your small business with marketing. But that research will eat time. Something most small business owners already don’t have. And while I’m all for investing time to save time, I need to find a way to reduce the time this will take.
What I want to know is this: How to grow your small business with marketing... realistically?
The answer Sunny comes up with is music to my ears: SYSTEMS!
Systems For Streamlining Your Content Marketing Strategy
It all goes back to having systems in place for gathering information that will ultimately guide your content marketing. Sunny has 3 systems she tells her clients to implement.
She calls them the 3 C’s.
System 1: Customer Touchpoints
This first system helps to gather information and feedback about your customers. Constantly and with little effort. Perfect!
Big business do this regularly. They use it to inform any decision they make. Small business unfortunately don’t, because people don’t know how. PLUS it takes a little bit of time to set it up. But consider this: collecting this information pays you back immensely. Worth the effort a million times over, says Sunny! I believe her.
In the ideal world, these are the touchpoints you should consider. Not all of them will be suitable for your business, but Sunny reckons you should establish at least two touchpoints, preferably more.
1. Potential clients entering the sales funnel
The first time potential clients or customers interact with you is your first touchpoint. It’s a perfect moment to collect data about the problem they are trying to solve. It’s important to keep it simple.
2. A Purchase Transaction
No matter what the outcome, you want to understand what helped your client to make that decision. And even if they decided not to go ahead with the purchase, it’s still very valuable information.
Sometimes onboarding is a lengthy process, sometimes it’s a small blip that passes before you even know it. The point is that you want customers to feel confident about the decision they made. If they’re not, you want to find out what it is they might find useful.
4. The First Service And 6 Months After
This is a moment to check-in and find out if customers received what they were looking for. You want them to tell everyone about their positive experience. But even if it’s not all praise, it’s important feedback that can guide you towards improvement.
5. After You Have Finished Your Engagement
Whether this is after a natural endpoint, or after they terminated your services, you want to hear what the experience was like and what can be improved.
Sunny recommends collecting this information in written form, simply because it is easier to remember when you’re ready to use it. Much to my relief, it can be, but doesn’t need to be formal. It can be a simple email that is scheduled as part of your project plan. Something like ‘I thought this key meeting went very well. How do you feel about this stage of the project? ‘
Next, Sunny and I have a fascinating conversation about the importance of acknowledging customer and client emotions, but I’ll have to send you to the podcast for some more on that.
A bonus tip from Sunny: Using customer quotes in your own content marketing copy is a powerful marketing strategy, not in the least because future prospects can hear themselves in their own words (as opposed to professional language they don’t relate to).
System 2: Content Planning
The word ‘planning’ says it all. This is about being intentional about your content marketing.
When you plan content based on each market segment and keywords you want to cover, you’re making sure you cover the entire range of challenges your customers encounter. Be consistent about this and watch the magic happen: you become an authority and a go-to for information in your (future) customer’s eyes.
But there’s more. Cataloguing your content makes it searchable for your audience, but it also helps you identify any missing gaps in your content. It even helps you repurpose your content, which will save you lots and lots of time.
System 3: Calendaring And Calculation
Finally, this system sets up a time and process so you have regular pinpoints to check in on what content is working and what is not (and therefore a waste of time and/or money). Google Analytics is the tool for that. In a nutshell, it means you’re no longer flying blind. You can focus on the content that really works and is worth the time and effort.
So,... How to grow your small business with marketing? With these 3 marketing strategy systems in place, you can grow your business differently because you have gainful information at your fingertips. We all know the saying: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! And why shouldn’t mall businesses use the same advantageous marketing strategies the big league players use? We can do it just as well (if not better). We just have to be a bit smarter about it!
Connect With Sunny Logsdon
Can’t get enough of Sunny’s morsels of wisdom? The news is rather good: Sunny offers a 6 week Rise And Repeat cohort in which she guides you through the steps to put the 3 systems in place for your business.
For the BYW podcast listeners, she also offers a FREE marketing audit. So book a call and mention the Business Your Way Podcast!