Do you have a solid marketing foundation in place for your small business? If not, no worries, we understand. As small business owners ourselves, we know what it’s like to wear many hats. From CEO, managing the marketing department to customer service and fieldwork, it can be tough to focus on growing your business while keeping everything organized and running smoothly. That’s why it’s crucial to have a strong marketing foundation in place. But what does a robust foundation entail? Here are our nine must haves to building a robust marketing foundation for your small business.
First What is a Marketing Foundation?
A marketing foundation is a set of fundamental principles that guide and inform your marketing efforts. It is the backbone of your marketing strategy, and without it, your marketing will be inconsistent and ineffective. It should be a solid plan for marketing to your target audience. If you’re not sure how to start building this type of marketing plan, think about what your goals are for the next year or two years down the road. What do you want people to know about who you are as a business? How will they find out more information on their own time, without contacting you personally?
Essentials to Build Your Marketing Foundation
Logo: As your business’s visual representation, this must be created and built first and foremost. If you want to learn more about logos, read our article: A 5-Point Checklist to Ensure the Perfect Logo.
Style Guide: A style guide is a document that dictates the colors, fonts, and branding elements that a business wants to be used in all of its graphic design and branding. Once you have one, you can give it to all vendors you work with that create graphic design pieces on your behalf. A style guide ensures that every piece you create will remain perfectly consistent. This includes: signs, brochures, banners, clothing, stickers, websites, web graphics, and more; it will have your exact colors, fonts, logo, and company’s look. It is meant to guarantee your company’s brand is adhered to at all times across all mediums regardless of who does the work. This is how your brand “sticks” and becomes memorable and recognized.
Brand Guide: A brand guide ensures your brand is accurately represented in all aspects and across all mediums in a precise and consistent manner at all times. This protects the value of your brand and helps your customer avoid confusion. The Brand Guide is for the designers, vendors, and employees of the future to know how to bring that vibe to life without constant direct input from you or other stakeholders.
Discover Your Ideal Customer and Build Customer Profiles: Another important piece to create and utilize often is customer profiles. Defining who your ideal customer is, what their needs are and why they buy from you instead of another company will give you a leg up in your industry. Here are a few benefits of taking the time to create customer profiles for your business:
- You’ll better understand your customers, and who doesn’t want that?
- Makes communications easier – for both of you.
- Creates a better product/service. That’s what we all are striving for right?
- Builds loyalty – it doesn’t get any better than true loyalty.
- You’ll attract new ideal customers quickly because your message is clear!
- Well-fit customers are more likely to give referrals. Cha-ching!
Create a Customer First Message: People like to feel like Batman rather than Robin, and – after all – customers are people. Therefore, they like to be the hero of their own story. As a business, we want to play the advisor and support role. What this means in marketing is create a customer-first message that alleviates your customer’s concerns and lets them know you’re there to help them. If we only focus on the business and its accolades, customer won’t necessarily buy in or feel like they’re being heard. Quality messaging puts the customers issues front and center, and lets them know the business in there to help.
Create A Company Tagline: In business, a tagline or slogan is "a catchphrase or small group of words that are combined in a special way to identify a product or company." A unique tagline that clarifies exactly what you do and who you do it for will separate you from the competition. While the logo is a visual representation of your brand, the tagline is an audible representation. Both grab a future customer’s attention more readily than the business or product name alone might. Plus, they’re easier to understand and remember. The goal is to leave a key brand message in someone’s mind so that – if they remember nothing else from an advertisement – they might remember the tagline.
Build Online Presence with a Website: The building of your website can seem a bit daunting, but you need a platform you can send potential clients to where they can learn more about your products or services and who you are directly from you. This is where you get to utilize your customer first message and speak right to your audience. When done right, your website is your online foundation where all your potential clients will eventually end up because your organic campaign caused curiosity or your paid advertising was noticed. After all potential customers want to scope your business out to see if you have the solution to their problem.
Organic Outreach – Optimize Social and Business Listings: While social media platforms, writing blog posts and updating your professional listings such as Yelp and Google may be the last thing on your list when building a marketing foundation, they play a significant role. These organic platforms can help you begin the painstakingly slow process of building goodwill within your community, improving SEO, and bringing more traffic to your website. It’s another excellent way to stay at the forefront of your potential customers. Our blog post: Market Your Business With Little or No Money, has lots of great information on the importance of organic outreach.
If you want to ensure your business is on the right path for success, make sure you have all of these nine marketing cornerstones in place. Not only will they help you organize and streamline your marketing efforts, but they’ll also put your small business on the map as a credible player in your industry.
Still unsure about how to build the marketing foundation phase for your small business? You’re definitely in the right place. Click here to schedule your quick (free) call today.
As our Content Creator and Social Media Expert – we’ve come to rely heavily on Gina. She’s uncommonly skilled in weaving words together and finding new ways to help the brands we work with engage with their customers. Her minimalist style carries over into her copywriting work, which is part of what makes her so good at brand storytelling!