It is important to realize that how to market different businesses can vary wildly. One of the things I think that distinguishes what we do from many marketing agencies is that we operate strategically.
We try to understand the individual client’s situation and how we can realistically make a big difference for them.
This blog is a collection of ways and examples in which all marketing is not the same. Hopefully, it helps you to see how you should approach your own marketing.
One mistake is to think a small company can market the same way a large company can. Some years ago there was a popular term “Guerilla Marketing” – meaning small-scale, novel tactics because you couldn’t go head-to-head against the big guys.
Your large competitors may have brand recognition. People have heard of them. If you build pools, and someone is looking to get a pool built, they may very well start out by calling up the guys they’ve heard of.
Otherwise, they’ve got to sort through who knows how many pool builders trying to figure out who’s good and who’s cheap. So many people will just figure the big guys must be good because everyone’s heard of them.
They may have an advertising budget ten or more times larger than yours.
You never get a chance.
PICK YOUR FIGHTS
So you don’t try and go head-to-head. Don’t start a fight you can’t win.
But what fights can the little guy win? There are many answers to this, but the general answer is: Where they aren’t fighting.
Many years ago we ran a very effective marketing campaign for a chiropractor with door-to-door flyers.
Now you say, who would choose a medical professional off a door hanger? And the answer of course is not everyone, but it was a well-written and produced flyer. The whole campaign was dirt cheap. The places where the flyer was distributed were carefully chosen. And it worked great.
PICK YOUR KEYWORDS
That same principle works just as well in Google Ads campaigns. Choose keywords that others may be overlooking. Everyone wants to dominate for the high-volume searches. So they are the most fought over and highest price – probably more expensive than is really justified.
I love it when our clients’ competitors get in a bidding war over the cost of an ad. Meanwhile, we clean up getting top position on a whole bunch of much lower-cost keywords.
A COUPLE MORE WAYS TO BE DIFFERENT
Another great trick is to offer something different. If everyone else is giving free shipping on orders over $35, you make all shipping free.
And here’s one we’ve used to great effect. If all the competitors are doing blue and red rack cards, you do yellow. As opposed to a sea of cards that basically all look the same, you make it easy for someone to pick up your card.
WHAT ARE YOU SELLING?
Of course, it isn’t just size or looking different than your competitors. One thing that can make a huge difference in how you market is what you are selling. Clearly, you don’t sell $50,000 machines the same way you sell $15 a month subscription service.
It’s usually helpful to find someone successful and imitate what they are doing. You don’t have to follow someone in the exact same business as yours. But the closer it is the more likely it is to work.
I’ve said this many times, but one of your starting points is your budget. Everything else could be the same but if you don’t have the same budget – or have a larger budget – it can change completely your approach.
“Pick your fights” is one aspect of this.
But also consider this. How much new business do you need? Combine that with your budget and you start to get an idea of how to approach your marketing. (That’s how we got to the door hanger campaign I describe above).