Of all the aspects of operating a business (customer service, production, service provision, sales, accounting, operations etc…) poor marketing gets the least attention.
And most often, none at all.
BrandMuscle’s State of Local Marketing Report for 2018 found only 10% of local SMBs use any marketing staff at all. 7% have a dedicated in-house employee on staff. Just 3% have a vendor’s help.
Why Do Most SMBs Overlook Marketing?
Typically, it’s because marketing’s ROI is the most difficult to prove. With sales, you know whether you’re closing deals or not.
But with marketing, how do you know exactly what brought a new customer to you?
Did they read your blog, view your website, talk to your staff, click a PPC ad, or respond to an email?
It’s hard to figure out how much each interaction with your company had to do with you acquiring the customer.
Since proving ROI can be difficult, SMBs often become reluctant to hire marketing out.
…But You Still Gotta Try Marketing Tactics
The best marketers are the biggest brands. They pour millions of dollars each year into marketing.
Think Old Spice, Dos Equis, Miller, Corona, Budweiser, Toyota, Lexus, Coke, McDonald’s, Nike – or any of your own favorite brands.
They keep their market share because they know how to appeal to their market segments.
That type of marketing takes decades to develop.
But even though it’s out of your reach, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be marketing.
So my advice is to try small, controlled experiments until you find what works well for your SMB.
Because, after all, 90% of local SMBs don’t do marketing. So when you find what works, you have a huge advantage over your competition.
8 Possible Marketing Tactics to Try
Take a look at just a few marketing tactics that make sense for you to try – and one pro and con for each:
- Website/SEO – Get the best ROI for the dollars you invest; may take 12-18 months before you see results
- Direct snail-mail – Easy to track results and fast response; can be hard to find someone who does it well.
- Google Paid Ads – Lots of data and easy to track results; can cost a fair amount early on while you work out the imperfections.
- Radio – Works well for name recognition and branding; hard to track ROI.
- Facebook – Great data and access to specific market segments; can have higher startup costs in early stages.
- TV – Excellent name recognition and branding; rarely generates a good response.
- Writing Expert Articles – Can quickly generate a flood of good leads; can be boom-or-bust and require months of trial-and-error before you succeed.
- Cross-Promotion with Other Local Businesses – A great way to reach customers with a likely interest in what you offer; you have to make sure you offer your promotional partner similar results they offer you.
So even though I’m an SEO and recommend SEO, it’s far from the only way to market your business locally in 2018.
It’s a great long-term strategy when you have an agency you trust. But there’s other tactics you can use too that also create predictable revenue streams.