SMB Marketing: How to Create an Effective Marketing Strategy

Published: | By Lee Li

For any business to succeed, it must master marketing to its target audience or demographic. Small to medium businesses or SMBs especially have to market to outperform their competition and capture as much traffic as possible from limited customer pools.

If your SMB marketing needs a bit of a boost, you’ve come to the right place. Today, let’s break down how to create an effective SMB marketing strategy step-by-step.

Why Do You Need a Marketing Strategy?

You need an effective marketing strategy to see a better return on your marketing investments. If you just send out random or generalized advertisements to everyone, you likely won’t see a profitable return on that investment.

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But if you strategize your marketing efforts, you’ll be much more likely to:

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5-Step Marketing Strategy For Small Businesses

  1. Set the right goals
  2. Identify metrics and a baseline
  3. Choose your marketing tactics
  4. Select the right marketing channels
  5. Measure results, adjust, optimize, and test again

Now that you know the importance of an effective marketing strategy, let’s break down how to develop one step-by-step.

1. Set the right goals

Firstly, you need to set the right goals for your SMB overall. Small to medium businesses like yours often need to target specific metrics to grow effectively and on schedule. To that end, ask yourself key questions like:

  • What do you want to accomplish through your marketing?
  • How much does your business need to grow in a certain timeframe?

For example, most SMBs want to increase their revenue or get more leads. Regardless of the goals you choose, remember to keep those goals “SMART” or:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

SMART goals for most small to medium businesses are things like increasing revenue by a specific percentage, getting a certain number of leads, and so on.

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Keeping your goals specific will help you use the right marketing strategies and tools for your needs. For instance, you may target customers, leads, and website visitors or redo your website or online store for better performance and search engine optimization (SEO).

Bottom line: figure out what goals you want to achieve through your marketing, then move on from there.

2. Identify metrics and a baseline

The next major step is to identify the right marketing metrics and a baseline or starting point against which you can measure them.

A baseline, in a nutshell, helps you determine which of your marketing tactics or tools generate the right numbers or improvements for your overall goals mentioned above.

Say that you aim to increase website traffic by a specific percentage or visitor count. Your baseline could be your current visitor count or all-time high visitor count, as previously recorded over your business’s lifespan.

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Now that you have a baseline, you know what improvement looks like should your marketing efforts be successful. You should also determine key metrics, or KPIs, to help you measure that success, like revenue, visitor count, total traffic on a single day, etc.

These metrics depend on your goals and your business, of course. So take a while to think of the metrics you want to focus on before moving to the next step.

3. Choose your marketing tactics

Now that you know what to look for and how to measure success, it’s time to pick out the right marketing tactics to achieve that success. Broadly speaking, most marketing tactics are one of two types:

  • Digital marketing tactics. These employ various digital channels, such as your website or search engines, to reach your target audience and convert visitors into paying customers.
  • Traditional marketing tactics. These employ offline or traditional marketing channels to reach your audience members, like TV ads, billboards, posters, etc.

Generally, most SMBs need to combine both digital and traditional marketing tactics to see success. There's one exception: e-commerce businesses.

If you have an online-exclusive business, you'll naturally focus more or entirely on digital marketing tactics rather than combining the two types.

six pillars of effective digital marketingSource

But if your SMB has a retail presence, you’ll likely need to leverage digital and traditional marketing tactics to some extent.

As for how much, consider your target audience members and how they are most likely to see your marketing materials, then decide which to prioritize based on your predictions.

4. Pick marketing channels

The next major step is selecting the right marketing channels for your brand and overall business goals. Marketing channels include but are not limited to:

Naturally, some of these marketing channels clearly fit within one of the above two marketing tactic brackets. You should choose the marketing channels to use based on:

  • Your budget
  • The preferences or activities of your target audience members (for example, online shoppers are much more likely to learn about your brand or visit your website if you use PPC ads on Google compared to radio ads)
  • Your tools and business preferences

If you aren’t sure what marketing channels to leverage, look at what your competitors use and create a model that closely resembles it.

If those marketing channels work for your competitors, odds are they will also work for you since you are competing for the same target audience members.

benefits of ppc advertisingSource

Say that you run a crypto exchange, for example, and you want people to buy crypto on your site. Your competitors have quality digital ads, so you might want to create a few of your own.

Alternatively, you can reach out to customers through alternative channels and avoid direct competition. For instance, you may focus more on digital marketing channels that your traditionally minded competitors don’t think of to capture leads.

5. Measure results, adjust, optimize, and retest

Lastly, you can improve and optimize your SMB marketing strategy by measuring long-term results. As you put out your first ads and bring your first customers to your site, gather as much data as you can and determine:

  • Which ads or marketing channels are most successful?
  • How do your target audience members respond to your marketing efforts?
  • Where can you improve your website, marking materials, and campaigns?

Analyzing your marketing results and improving is the number one way to master SMB marketing overall. It’s also the only way you’ll be able to wring as much value from every marketing dollar you spend as possible.

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For example, say that you put out a bunch of Google PPC ads. Over time, you should measure the performance of those ads and figure out which ones bring the most people to your website.

Then you can design future advertisements like the most successful ones you already have up and running. 

Wrap Up

Ultimately, an effective marketing strategy for an SMB involves planning, choosing, and analyzing marketing tactics and channels. With the right preparation and mindset, you can develop a winning brand strategy, regardless of industry or niche.

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