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Using Technology to Maximize Your Small Business Marketing

Using Technology to Maximize Your Small Business Marketing

Ken Kerry
Executive Producer and Executive Creative Director
Script to Screen

one of the nation’s leading TV marketing companies. 

The smart marketer charged with providing brand marketing to small businesses knows that technology is critical to effectively reach target audiences. Brands must prove that they offer more value than their competitors, whether it’s a SaaS business selling a unique app that helps customers learn about their ancestry or consumer packaged goods, such as a beard trimmer or hair extension. Technology is essential to promote and sell a brand and product. 

One of the most obvious technologies is social media. It is a macro answer and a small business needs to be micro especially when it is trying to find and connect with key prospective customers.  By micro, I mean they first must have a very clear understanding of where their audience is and then, what is their audience’s behavior.  This reminds me of the saying: “You have to fish where the fish are, and you have to use the bait that they are biting.” These two requirements are essential before one starts spending money on targeting prospects.  

Another underused technology is YouTube advertising based on Google search queries  and radio. With both of these approaches, a marketer can start small, local and specific.  Once one starts to learn about a company or brand’s audience, the marketing can grow into TV advertising.  But these suggestions are useless without excellent creative and execution.  Yes, it takes time to pinpoint the right audience, but what is your message in order to get the consumer to take an action? That’s really where the rubber meets the road. 

Marketing automation also has come a long way to improve branding for small and mid-size businesses. Marketing automation refers to the software that exists to automate repetitive, but necessary, brand-building actions such as email, social media interaction, etc.  

Such amazing technology has changed marketing for small to mid-sized businesses by allowing them to potentially reach larger audiences more quickly and effectively.  Just because you can reach more people doesn’t mean you can put your campaign in cruise control and let it operate without direction. It must be given full attention and one must nurture potential buyers. There is a fundamental difference between the campaign ideal and its reality.  The ideal is that marketing automation can have very personalized, useful content that converts prospects into customers and generates new revenue for the business. The reality is that marketing automation gives the impression that it provides all the tools necessary for growth, including generating new leads, but it doesn’t mean a thing without well-informed branding expertise that knows how to craft effective messaging.   That’s where what you communicate about the product or business needs to take center stage.  

If you can’t get your customers’ attention by offering solid marketing solutions to their sales problems, then you are basically spamming them.  If you initially approach them without the right intelligence, then chances are all your subsequent interactions will be unsuccessful.  The best plan is to research and create the best-selling proposition for the brand and then nurture the client by providing more value added that will give them reasons to covet additional insight and expertise from you. 

When they come back to you, you’ll know that you are addressing their pain points or challenges and that they recognize you as a valued voice in the creation of their sales/marketing campaign. You should follow through with your approach, since branding occurs through repetition.  You will be invited to sit at the table and the likelihood that you’ll have to continue giving free advice will decrease.     

When you create the proper content and continue to nurture it, automation is an ideal way to move marketing along faster. Sometimes using apps can add even further speed to your marketing campaign.   But, again, it is extremely important that your brand message is clear and enticing and that it can solve your potential customers’ needs. If you can’t or don’t do that, all the apps in the world won’t help matters. 

Personalized marketing strategies should also be considered.  It is defined as the ability of a business to truly engage with current and prospective customers by communicating directly to individuals and their needs. There is nothing more important than understanding what your customers want and need. When and only when you know that vital and essential secret should you consider personalizing your messaging. 

The best tip to offer to maximize such a personalized approach is: don’t be vague, be specific. Have you ever rented a car at the airport and the attendant said, “Your car is the white sedan” and then you look out at a sea of white sedans and spend the next 20 minutes going to each one to see if the keys you’ve been given are for that specific sedan?  And then you go back to the guy and say, “Can you be more specific what row and what number?”  Being more specific in the first place would save both parties time and aggravation.  Relate to your customers’ needs and provide real solutions in a way that is authentic and allows them to see how your product or service will help them accomplish what they are after.  For instance, if your product is a cooking aid, offer examples of how it will help specific audiences:  the mom, the student, the accomplished chef, the novice.  Most important is to make sure you are creating different solutions-based content and information per demographic and per platform. Sending out generic info to everyone you think is your audience is the definition of NON-personal marketing. 

It’s crucial to ask for and listen to customer feedback.  One may have done due diligence and the best research imaginable, but it is always possible to improve on your communications by heeding what the users of your brand want to tell you.  And they’ll surely want to tell you what works and what doesn’t. 

Yes, listen to your customers, plan out how you are going to create specific content and value-based information, and then execute and repeat. 

Best practices are to always understand customer needs and pain points and to tell a compelling story as to how your product and your company are going to solve them. Then back up what you promise with testimonials from clients and customers and experts who will validate your promise and demonstrate what and how your product or service is going to be their solution.  Create so much value in your offering that they can’t refuse it and can’t wait to get involved.