small business marketing strategies, small business online marketing, inbound marketing

Four Simple Questions to Help You Focus Your Marketing Strategy

Is Your Marketing Strategic or do you Wing it?

When you wing it, you get wing it results, and for that reason it makes sense to be more strategic about how you approach marketing and sales.

There are four very simple questions that can help you focus your thinking.

Bear in mind that while the questions are simple, the answers may not be. Not only should you put some serious thought into them, you should discuss them with others, mull them over, look at them from different perspectives, and be open to changing them over time.

Your marketing strategy then directly feeds into your Inbound and Content Marketing strategy.

So without further ado, let me introduce the four simple questions to help you focus your thinking.

#1: Why are you in business?

Do not think of this question from your perspective. Your perspective isn’t very important. Think of this from the perspective of your prospects and customers and think of how to create a positive impression. The more positive the better.

The best way to think of this is what problem are people (your desired audience) having and how do you help them solve that problem?

This is not always obvious to business owners at first glance and while the answer may have many aspects to it, it’s important to gel this down into the one that has largest emotional impact on your customers.

There is an excellent video on YouTube where Steve Jobs is talking marketing to an audience of Apple employees (it was shortly after his return to Apple) about marketing in general and their soon to be rolled out Think Different campaign in particular.

His main points are:

  • You have an opportunity for the world to MAYBE remember on thing about you.
  • What resonates with people is values.

Let me clarify values. It does not mean that a Mac is a good value at $X. It was about how Apple values and honors people who make a positive difference in the world.

So let me rephrase the question of “Why are you in business?” into “What one thing do you want the world to know about you? And to associate with why you’re in business?”.

#2: What do you sell?

Here you want to also take the big picture. The question is not what tangible product or service do you sell, the question is what emotional experience do you sell. Those actually aren’t the right words but they’re the closest I can come right now.

To give a few examples that might stimulate your thinking….

  • Pet day care centers sell peace of mind.
  • Insurance companies sell stability.
  • Whole Foods sells healthy eating (which is today debatable, but we won’t go there right now).
  • Apple sells coolness.
  • Walmart sells thrift.

Inbound Marketing University sell business potential.

What do you sell?

#3: Who do you sell to?

For this question you want to chunk down. If you think you sell to “anyone” you’re wrong. If you think you sell to “All [pick a category]” you’re probably wrong.

Even Starbucks does not sell to everybody. Some people drink neither coffee nor tea.

Who are your perfect customers? What do they have in common? Is that who you sell to?

#4: How do your customers decide to buy?

This is sometimes called The Buyers Journey and sometimes called The Sales Funnel.

And it’s left out of too many small business marketing strategies.

Almost everyone you meet who might buy your product or service is not buying right away. The reasons vary but this is universally true.

There is a great concept called The Buyers Journey which describes the decision making process someone goes through in the course of becoming your customer. This can also be described as the sequence of mini decisions they go through in the course of becoming your customer.

You need to know their journey, their decision making process, and you need to walk them through it, one step at a time.

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