This year I have been doing a lot of small business consulting. While consulting is definitely a huge part of all of our business, these clients are maybe just a little too small to have a large marketing budget that allows them to develop a full campaign. These are the niche industry companies or the smaller family-owned places that still need to separate themselves from the competition. They still need to communicate to their potential customer, but just don’t have a ton of money. Usually these clients have a lot of energy and possibly have people working in their business that are eager to help do marketing, but just need a little push in the right direction. The following items are usually the things we focus on.
1. Tell the story.
Just like big business these companies have a story to tell. That unique selling point, if you will, is their distinguishing feature that separates them from the rest. Why do people do business with them? This discovery process and development of the messaging is first step.
2. Identify the customer.
We usually spend a lot of time discussing the “low hanging fruit.” Where can they find the most potential customers and reach them in the most effective way? What is a good fit for them and what makes them money?
3. Develop the people.
Just because their 20-year-old niece works for them and she has two Facebook accounts, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest does not mean she should be in charge of “communications” for the company. Now, with that said, a little education, some monitoring and assistance with message building and content creation could make that person a valuable asset. We help determine who those people are and help build them up into a valuable resource for the company.
4. Be creative.
For these smaller companies a big TV, radio or even online campaign may be a bit out of reach. We help them come up with some creative ways to reach their customers. Whether it is spending a bunch of time online, being part of spaces that make sense or pursuing a local PR stunt, we investigate and guide businesses in the right direction.
5. Spend what you can.
Finally, you do need some kind of marketing budget. There is no room to waste with these smaller companies though, so years of experience and time spent truly investigating and learning their industry becomes the most valuable thing we bring to the table. Whatever the budget may be, we recommend marketing strategies that will work and give them that big bang for the buck.
We are not the smallest agency in town, but we are also not the biggest. We love the small business owner, their daily mission to do better and their local flavor, so we enjoy doing the small business consulting. Not too mention: Who said those small businesses have to stay small? Hopefully with our help, they will have lots of advertising money to spend in the future.