Agile means “to be able to move quickly and easily.” It is a term prevalent in the discipline of software development, with specific elements for quick and easy time to market. But in this post I’m using it in its broad sense.
I’ve been talking to several small businesses lately, and I can see that they want to maintain a certain budget, but they also want to get their name out and grow their customer base.
I’m thinking a good way to start is with some basics of “Agile” marketing.
A – Awareness
Market Awareness: I have found that this is often overlooked, but a key necessity. Without it, you are marketing to “everyone” and spending time and resources to be all for all. And many times a message that is for everyone, speaks to no one. Define who you are marketing to and then, find out what their needs are.
Resource Awareness: Know your own strengths. Know your weakness. Know how much time a project or new initiative will take. Read the fine print, and know exactly what a vendor is offering. Know, in advance, how much you want to spend on getting new customers.
Budget Awareness: Create a budget for acquiring new customers. Your accountant and/or bookkeeper will file that as an “expense” in the books, but your mindset should see acquisition as an investment, as it will lead to revenue.
G – GoTo
Go to the Market, don’t wait for them to come to you. When you know your ideal customer, then find out how they’re searching for you. Let your passion be your guide. Are there online or offline forums, marketplaces or associations? Are there places where you could offer a promotion to get introduced to them?
Go prepared. Have target marketing materials, invitations to follow you on Facebook or other platforms, and follow up.
I – Innovation
Be resourceful with free or inexpensive tools and the skills you have on hand – your own, or those of your team. Learn the basics of Internet marketing, landing pages, SEO, couponing, Google adwords, and Facebook ads. Don’t sign up a vendor until you’re crystal clear on what you’re getting. Don’t sign up for traditional advertising methods without first taking a long look at it and its reach to your target market.
L – Light on your feet
Be ready to turn on a dime. If the business model isn’t working, be flexible enough to change it. Listen to advice and respond. Listen to your market, and respond.
E – eConnected
Be found online. Essentials are now a website and at least one social platform, like a facebook page. Make connections and share your knowledge or expertise. Don’t ask for anything at first, build a reputation. Follow through with suggestions or promises. Under promise and over deliver. Bonus: have a blog and build up followers.
What do you think? Is this a good guideline for small business marketing?
Recently I’ve looked at a couple of websites from completely different industries, and both were actively seeking traffic through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). What I was looking at mainly was “the offer.” Once you do grab the attention of your audience, and get them to your site, do what you can to keep them there and participate in a series of actions.
To do this, there must be a compelling offer. This is assuming your brand positioning is where it needs to be, and you are presenting your uniqueness in a clear statement or story.
An offer doesn’t have to be a discount – it can – but it doesn’t have to be. An offer is a compelling reason that I as a site visitor should “read more” or “click here to…” or even hand over my email address by signing up to your newsletter. An offer can be anything along the marketing funnel, like a free report, or a video, or a tip of the day, or an article, etc.
Notice I said “a compelling reason…” This is a great place to think of your target audience (or market). What is it that would be compelling or pleasing to them? As an example, I picked a rather general category, email marketing, and after conducting a search in Google with that term, looked at a few of their offers. I clicked on search results and ads, and if you do a similar task, you’ll see various offers presented simply and clearly on signing up for a free account, a free trial, or learning how email marketing works. You can see from this simplified research that the email marketing companies are targeting small businesses and individuals that are new to email marketing. The messages are targeted to offers that help the reader ease any concerns about how hard it might be, and break down the barrier to trying it by offering it for free.
Maybe email marketing was not the best example, because of offering services for free. I am not saying anything about offering your services for free (also called “freemium”) – that’s a topic for another day. I’m saying that your offer should be clearly presented on the home page or landing page when a visitor finds you from search.
How do you know when you have the right offer? The short answer is, when you are pleased with the number of people participating in it. It might take some testing of different offers to find the sweet spot of your audience.
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