What Does Your Marketing Strategy Say About Your Business? The Big Mistake Small Business Owners Can Easily Avoid

Is your marketing strategy preventing you from attracting more clients? Learn how to complete your marketing strategy in a way that facilitates sales.

You use marketing strategy about your ideal clients so that you can build stronger relationships. In the same way, potential clients engage your marketing strategy to collect information and gauge interactions to see if you qualify as a potential provider.

While clients research and compile their lists in the background, small business owners are missing prime opportunities to attract qualified, genuinely interested prospects. 74% of buyers choose the salesperson who was first to add value and insight in their buying process.

If an incomplete marketing strategy is preventing you from making a clients list, read on. In this post, I provide tips on not just completing your marketing strategy, but doing so in a way that motivates more ideal clients to engage with you.

Capitalize on Opportunities to Interview Current Ideal Clients

To develop a complete marketing strategy you must narrowly define your customer instead of just going after anybody who has a business card. Ask yourself, who can you deliver the most value too. This is the group you’ll have the greatest impact on and can potentially bring in immediately.

Begin by segmenting your client base between normal accounts and your most successful (profitable) accounts. Your best clients or most successful accounts have these two core characteristics: they are profitable and also talk about your business to others.

The secret here is to understand if there is a certain product, service, or even a problem they have that is the most profitable.

Here are the other characteristics you’re deep diving for once you have determined who those best clients are:

  • Demographics — Business2Business (B2B) demographics could be the type of industry, the job title of that individual, the years that a company has been in business, and/or revenue levels. Business2Consumer (B2C)the demographics could be age, sex, illness, income, and a particular area of town.
  • Psychographics — Understand where do they hang out, what do they read, what do they listen to, what do they search online, what makes them tick, what triggers them to go looking for a solution?
  • Behavior — What behaviors do they exhibit that allows you to identify them? Do they belong to industry associations, tend to sponsor charitable events, read certain publications, attend educational events, care about their employees, hire professional services?


Now take a handful of those best customers, email or phone them asking for feedback on their experience with your organization, service or product. During this phase, you need to be “Oprah-like” and ask open ended questions.

Some of the things you’re after is the PLACES your customers give their attention (eyes and ears) too, the LANGUAGE your customers use when describing why they buy from you, the WORDS and PHRASES your customers use when explaining what they value about what you do, and the DESCRIPTION of the perfect buying experience. You can’t get that by asking them to rate things from 1 to 10.

Understanding your ideal customer is critical if you want their business. You need to understand their pain points, wants, and needs and be able to address those needs in your marketing efforts. Narrowly defining your customer is the most important thing as you look at growing your business.

Establish Immediate Credibility With Problem-Solving Messaging

The next thing that contributes to a complete marketing strategy is your message of speaking to problems, before solutions. If you don’t take this seriously, everything else you do in term of marketing will be far less effective.

When you’re taking the time to address the problems your ideal customers see and feel before offering your solution, there is little chance the marketing activities you’re implementing to establish credibility and trust won’t resonate.

If you’re having a tough time thinking about your ideal client’s problems, think about the conversations you had leading up to your sales meeting, the things addressed in your client interview or hopefully, you’re a good note taker and can revisit those for some insight.

For example, a lot my firms prospective clients might say things like — I just want my phone to ring, I want to be on the first page of Google, I want more referrals, I want less marketing headaches, I want my website to generate leads, I feel like I’m wasting money on ineffective marketing, etc.

So my firm doesn’t sell strategic marketing or marketing plans or even consulting — all my ideal clients need to know about what we do is:

  • We make the phone ring — end of story.
  • We get you on the first page of Google — end of story.
  • We make more referrals happen — end of story.
  • We make marketing headaches go away — end of story.
  • We make websites generate leads — end of story.
  • We make marketing dollars go to work — end of story.

Another example, a massage practice: They might have the best tables, oils, and most highly skilled therapist but all their customers seem to care about is that their pain and discomfort go away.

So that’s the promise they need to communicate, shout about and promote. The rest is an expectation — I mean doesn’t everyone in the massage business have highly skilled therapist.

That’s it — that’s how you retarget your message so it’s no longer about you and your remarkable products and services and it’s all about your remarkable clients and the problems they want to be solved.

Your Marketing Strategy Framework Can Do the Heavy Lifting for You

Thinking about a complete marketing strategy forces you to push your ideal customer and messanging into every marketing activity. I’ve developed a very powerful approach to building this kind of framework.

My approach is a concept that asks you to create communication, processes, offerings, and campaigns aimed at strategically moving prospects and customers through five stages — Awareness, Education, Sample, Purchase and Refer. By viewing each of these stages as a place to appeal to ideal customers and reinforce your messanging, you create the kind of framework that facilitates sales.

Awareness — This is the phase where sales, social media, content, networking, public relations will do well and even search, advertising, and referrals start here.

  • Do your online and offline ads communicate the differentiation? Do they target and offer to begin the relationship process with your ideal customers?
  • Do your social media outpost have consistent images and messages?
  • Are differentiation and problem-solving messages promoted on your website?
  • Are your networking or partner marketing efforts targeted towards your ideal customer?
  • Are your keywords consistent and focused on the phrases that actual prospects search for?
  • Do you have a formalized process to handle referrals that come in?

Education — This is the stage where once you attract prospects to your website or location you have to give them reasons to come back, reasons to relate and even reasons to like your team and also provide reviews, success stories, and customer testimonials.

  • Do your online and offline content assets include your message and brand identity?
  • Do your business email signatures and cards include your differentiation?
  • Is your vision and unique differentiation documented on your website for your ideal customers to relate to?
  • Is your website showcasing reviews, success stories or testimonials?
  • Are your ongoing communication campaigns consistent with your website branding? Do these communication initiatives go out on a regular basis and include valuable content for your audience? Is there an opt-in incentive for your content?
  • Are your email campaigns consistent with your branding?
  • Do you follow a content creation system to establish your company as an expert on focused topics?
  • Do you regularly promote and monitor review sites?

Sample — Now that prospects are wondering how your solution might work for them it’s time to demonstrate to them with downloadable documents, galleries, reports, ebooks, webinars and very detailed how-to information. You might also have an assessment, audit, seminar, evaluation, trial version or low-cost offer here.

  • What is your offering for prospects to sample your expertise, product or service?
  • How do you encourage people to sign up for the offering?

Need some ideas? 7 Ways Prospects Can Sample Your Service or Product

  1. Demo — a group consulting model that would demonstrate expertise by offering advice and answering questions in a free weekly session that could be upgraded to one-on-one consulting
  2. 30–90 Minute Consultation or Coaching — A personal or life coach might create a “get unstuck” in 3 sessions mini engagement that allows someone to try out coaching without a long-term commitment
  3. Audit — a marketing firm may offer a free or low-cost audit providing solid recommendations that could turn into long-term paid projects
  4. Trial Offer — a home improvement contractor might create a 4-Hour You Point and We Fix starter offering
  5. Assessment — a structural engineering firm might sell a feasibility analysis as a product.
  6. Seminar or Workshop — a sales training and development firm might offer free a seminar with worksheets and CDs.
  7. Basic or Low-Cost Version — an accounting firm might sell a certain type of low-cost tax return.

Purchase — For this stage, the focus is still on educating but from the standpoint of a new customer

  • Do your kits, contracts and invoices match your branding and communicate key information?
  • Does your new customer gain access to key personnel or content?
  • Does your new customer become part of an exclusive club?

Refer — The customer journey is ultimately about referrals

  • How do you encourage or motivate your current customers to refer?
  • Does your incentive for referrals connect with your culture in some way?

If you can’t seem to find time to complete your marketing strategy, try breaking it up into monthly themes. Schedule (in your calendar) a block of time per week to develop your marketing strategy. Every time you incorporate a bit more information and actively plan out who your ideal customer is?, what they value?, what problems you solve?, you improve your chances of making a sale.

Learn more ways to take your marketing from incomplete to a working process with our small business marketing guide, 7 Components of a Successful Marketing Plan