4 ways to create an effective marketing strategy on a small budget

The Italian economist Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto noted that 80% of the lands in Italy were owned by 20% of the population, hence the Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effects are due to 20% of the causes.

The principle can also be applied to itself, taking 80% of 80 and 20% of 20, it will have relatively 64/4, therefore 64% of the effects is due to 4% of the causes, this means that the majority the success of each of us is due to 4% of our actions. So the big secret of those who are successful is to leverage that 4% of shares that provide an advantage, and what is the activity that benefits a company most? Marketing.

If your organization improves its marketing strategy by only 10%, the final results can have an exponential effect. Then it can be said that marketing is 20% of the activity that creates 80% of the results. But let’s better define what marketing is:

  • Marketing is the strategy to make yourself known by the slice of the market you are aiming at and push you to trust us, so as to convert it into customers. Promotion, advertising, offers, public relations are the tactics to achieve the result. Strategy and tactics are complementary, one cannot work without the other.

Marketing strategy best suited to a small business without having to follow the giants’ lead

The marketing strategy must be adapted to your company, even if we have an exceptional product, the latter is indeed an excellent way to retain the customer, but the first step is to acquire customers through the correct marketing strategy. The most common marketing mistake for small businesses is to copy multinational corporations because:

  • large companies have a different program than small ones;
  • large companies have a bigger budget.

Large companies implement mass marketing to remind the customer of the products and services offered, this is a strategy that would not work for a startup, since it would not give any result. The best type of marketing for newly started companies is direct response marketing. Just as the name suggests, this type of marketing pushes the potential customer to action and is characterized by the following elements:

  • it is traceable;
  • it is measurable;
  • use convincing messages;
  • is aimed at a specific audience;
  • make a specific offer;
  • requires immediate response and incorporates lead monitoring (potential customers).


Marketing from a page divided into 3 phases: the “before” phase

In this phase we have to deal with prospects (potentially interested users), first of all we identify the slice of the target market, create a convincing message and finally spread it through the media. The goal is to make sure that prospects are aware of the existence of our company and respond to the message.

  •  Select the market slice.

This is a crucial first step to making sure that the message spread is more effective. To be an excellent marketer, it is good to focus on a specific market niche, which allows the company to become the biggest fish in a pond and therefore to be able to set high prices. Our ideal market share can be identified by the following elements:

  • personal satisfaction, assessing the pleasure of working with a specific type of customer;
  • market value, the value that this slice of the market gives to our work;
  • profit, the amount of profit generated by the work that is done for this specific slice of the market.

Example: Tom is a photographer and decides to devote himself to weddings because adding the values ​​of personal satisfaction (7), value on the market (7) and profits (9) it results that the total of these elements in this sector is higher than the others slices of the market where Tom could offer his services.

Once a specific market share has been dominated, you can move on to the next.

  •  Create a convincing message.

To distinguish yourself from the competition, you need to create an engaging message capable of attracting the attention of the target.

The first step is to define precisely what you want to achieve with your advertising message and what you want to focus on, you must therefore create your own unique sales proposal that must answer the following question: why the customer must buy from our company instead that from the competition?

The sales proposal, in the eyes of the prospects, must place us on a completely different level of comparison compared to the competition. You can differentiate yourself by giving advice and sharing your ideas and thoughts, so as to be more authentic and less boring than the classic marketing used by the competition.

To do this, you need to understand the mind of prospects, understand what is the result they want to achieve by purchasing our product or service.

Once you understand what your market share wants, you must present an irresistible offer that leverages emotions such as fear, love, greed or pride (emotions drive the purchases) and is characterized by the following elements:

  • Value, what can you do important for your customers?
  • Language, you have to use the jargon of your market share.
  • Reason, the reason for making such an offer must be provided.
  • Accumulation of value, you must include several bonuses together to make your offer an obvious choice.
  • Selling more products, especially when prospects are in the mood for shopping.
  • Payment in installments, it is essential for high priced products.
  • Guarantee, makes prospects feel safe in transactions with our company.
  • Rarity, the offer must have an element that attracts customers to act immediately.
  •  Spread the word through the media.

Advertising media are the “means of transport” that is used to communicate your message to the target market. First of all, you need to understand which media is most suitable for your prospects, you cannot send the message on any media and hope that it will affect someone.

  • Social media are more a platform for creating and expanding a relationship that can later become commercial, but they are not suitable for direct selling and require long management times.
  • E-mails allow you to create an engaging and automated sales campaign if you can create a good database of potential customers, but the message must be so engaging that the prospect is forced to open the e-mail.
  • Mail advertising can be a more personal and longer-lasting promotion method, but like other media it cannot be the only advertising channel used.

It is important to use paid advertising media (unlike word of mouth), in order to track marketing costs and monitor which tactics are successful and which fail, so as to cut unnecessary costs.

The “during” phase

In this phase we are dealing with leads, individuals who know our company and have already shown interest in what we offer, responding to the marketing message.

First of all, leads are collected in a database, their interest in the product is cultivated by providing more information and finally converted into customers. The goal is to push leads to love our product and to buy for the first time.

  • Capture and collect leads in a database.

In direct response marketing, we first try to find individuals interested in the product, instead of making an immediate sale.

Once the interested leads respond to our message, they can be collected in a follow-up database, in which a relationship of trust is created between them and the company, the sale is a natural result of this process. Follow-up is vital, without it leads will never become customers.

Example: on average, at any time, 3% of the targeted market share is ready to buy immediately and is the one targeted by mass marketing, but there is a 7% that would be inclined to purchase and 30% who are interested but don’t want to buy immediately. Thanks to a promotion whose goal is to generate leads, it increases its market by 40% (3% ready immediately, plus 7% and 30% who would be interested).

  • Cultivate interest from leads.

With this step the leads are pushed to desire the product and to want to do business with our company. Following your leads after the first contact is the basis of this step, you can feed their interest in the product through tutorials or simple monthly newsletters, which offer your company or brand as an expert and educator in the field of competence and not as a simple seller.

An effective technique can be the proposal of stunning gift packages that contain bonuses related to your product / service, moreover in this case, the competition will hardly imitate our method of promotion.

Elements of an effective stunning promotion package:

  • provide unexpected value to prospects;
  • position your brand at the level of expert and trusted authority in the sector;
  • push prospects closer to the point of purchase.
  • Convert leads into customers.

When enough trust is gained and enough value is shown, leads are ready to become customers and buy the product / service. Trust is the main barrier that prevents sales, the first step to breaking this barrier is to position yourself as an expert in your sector.

The best way to do this is to show more interest in educating and creating value than simply selling. Another effective technique for creating trust is the offer of specific guarantees addressed to the fears that prospects have regarding the transaction.

Example: if you are in the field of pest control, you can guarantee to free the house from insects forever, without the use of chemicals and leaving the house clean and tidy, and if the customer is not satisfied, he can request a double refund of the total amount spent.

Some elements to present your brand in a more professional way and in a way that inspires trust:

  • Create a website by paying attention to the design and making sure it has contact details such as address and telephone number, and a privacy policy together with the conditions of use.
  • It is a good idea not to use a general email address such as hotmail or gmail, but to use your own domain, for example  luca@nomeazienda.com .
  • Using a toll free number can give a perception of greater accessibility to the company.
  • Set up customer service.

Elements to promote sales:

  • Offer the customer’s preferred method of payment;
  • Offer the opportunity to try the product before buying it;
  • Instead of offering discounts, increase the value of the offer by including more bonuses.

The “after” phase

At this stage we are dealing with customers, individuals who like our brand and who have purchased at least once. Now you will turn them into fans by providing a high level experience, you will find new ways of doing business with them and you will be able to convince them to recommend the service / product to others.

The goal is to push customers to trust our company even more, to buy more and to create a cycle of recommendations.

  • Provide a high level experience.

When customers become fans, there is no need for massive marketing to convince them to buy, just think of Apple.

Some important elements to provide a high level experience:

  • Provide customers with not only what they want, but also what they need, helping them get results with the product they just purchased. For example, you can sell the best vitamin in the world, but you have to make it sweet so that it is easy to eat.
  • Use technology to eliminate friction and make selling easier and faster.
  • Maintain a constancy in the level of the service / product offered, creating a system of processes to follow to maintain the consistency of the service in all branches.
  • Increase the longevity of customer value.

Specific strategies must be put in place to push customers to do more and more business with our company. Some tactics that help in this case:

  • increase in prices explaining the reason, such as an improvement in the service / product or an innovation. Most customers accept the price increase as long as the brand positions itself as an industry expert and provides a high-level experience.
  • Add additional services together with those already sold. Usually it is good to sell the primary product / service at a higher cost than the secondary ones, which therefore in this case will be economic.
  • Scaling, pushing customers towards the products / services offered that have a higher cost.
  • Send reminders and give your customers a reason to go back to buying another product, for example by using discount coupons for the next purchase.
  • Create a subscription, so as to establish a repeated purchase.

It is also important to monitor some key numbers such as the quantity of different types of customers. There are four categories:

  • the tribe, made up of fans;
  • churners, customers who cannot afford the product and who abandon it after a short period;
  • vampires, customers who can afford the product, but consume too much of it compared to average customers.
  • the snow leopards, the perfect customers who produce most of the profits, but are also the rarest, therefore they are useless in a growth strategy.

The profits produced by each of these customer classes are different, the churners and vampires could create the same profits as the tribe and the snow leopards, but they would be polluted profits that include risks, so the best strategy in this case is to get rid of this type of customers as soon as possible.

  • Stimulate the recommendations.

Word of mouth can be a fantastic method to do marketing but it is extremely slow, so it is good to orchestrate recommendations at the table to encourage them.

  • Ask for recommendations directly to customers who have provided good service.
  • Be specific and create personalized requests for recommendations for each group of customers, answering the questions: who do they know? How does the recommendation make them look good? What can help them remember our company?
  • Exchange leads with a company that sells complementary products.

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