Small Business Marketing Principles

Small Business Marketing Principles

In the previous post (Small Business Marketing Plan), we began by answering a lingering question: “How do I build a marketing plan for my small business?” Now that you’ve built your marketing plan, let’s talk about small business marketing principles that build the foundation of this plan. Before we get into the specifics, we’re going to lay out a few principles to help you execute your marketing plan.

Small Business Marketing Principle 1: Work Backwards

Think about what your marketing is trying to do. Your marketing is persuading people to buy more of your product. Alternatively, your marketing is persuading people to buy your product at a higher-margin. You can do this by expanding your customer base or getting more out of your existing customer base. If your research tells you that you need more faces in your store, it’s best to start with an awareness campaign to expand your reach. If your research tells you that you already cannot keep track of all of your customers, loyalty campaigns may help you get more sales from your existing customers.

Small Business Marketing Principle 2: Now Work Back from Principle 1

If you’ve decided to invest in loyalty, you are hoping to have a more intimate relationship with your existing customers. This will provide high-value cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. It’s important to realize that loyalty campaigns follow the same adoption curve as any new product or offering. You will not have 10,000 members in your loyalty program on Day 1. More importantly, you will not have 10,000 members in your loyalty campaign if only 3 customers are aware of the new loyalty campaign. You are building a foundation for success. This foundation starts by having 1 customer aware…and then 2… and then 3. Which brings us to our next Principle.

Small Business Marketing Principle 3: It All Starts with 1

I wish I could tell you the secret to getting exponential marketing growth. Unfortunately, marketing requires a commitment and an investment to the customer. It requires a consistent message, patience, and perseverance. There really are not any shortcuts. It’s an uphill slog the whole way. The best marketers are adding new customers and getting more out of their existing customers all the time. They know that they moment they stop broadcasting their company’s unique approach and offerings is the moment that their competitors start to grab their market share, that they fought so hard to capture. Consistency is the only way.

Small Business Marketing Principle Summary

The most unwelcome guests at any entrepreneur’s dinner table are pride and impatience. Pride forces entrepreneurs to ignore the reality that their marketing is not landing. Impatience forces small business owners to try to accomplish too many tasks with one marketing offering. The most savvy entrepreneurs know that the right way to get 10,000 customers is to make one person aware of your product, and then to make two aware. Eventually, you’ll have 10,000 customers aware –many of whom will be very loyal.

If you would like to learn more about how Saffron Key can help grow your business, check out our Getting Started page and tell us about your company and its needs.

Small Business Marketing Plan

Small Business Marketing Plan

We have been asked many times how we will build our clients’ small business marketing plans.The reason that we get this questions so often is twofold. First, all small business owners need a marketing plan–and they know it. Second, most small business owners do not have one–and they do not know where to start. We offer small business marketing solutions, but here are some tips for getting started on your own.

Small Business Marketing Plan: How do I do it all?

We tell our clients that they DO NOT need to be present on every channel. In fact, our research shows the opposite. The small business owners that post on too many different channels do not typically see much lift from any of them. We recommend using your limited time, energy, and resources to dominate a few channels.

Small Business Marketing Plan: How do I Start?

Now that we’ve assuaged your anxiety about trying to do it all, it’s time to figure out which marketing options make sense.

Small business marketing solutions are about just that — solutions.  Not about channels or tactics or tricks.  The first step is focusing on return on investment and getting in front of the most potential customers.

Each Marketing Investment Must Make Cents and Sense

Our first marketing investment measuring stick is rather simple. Marketing spend must net as much profit as it costs. If a marketing campaign costs you $500 and you only receive $200 in revenue-it’s probably time to pull the plug on that spend. The one caveat is that the marketing lift often takes time and some investments are tougher to measure. That said, this measuring stick is a helpful tool to parse the many marketing options.

Search Marketing is King

Now that we’ve given you a measuring stick to start to shrink the number of options, let’s go one step farther. The second marketing investment stick requires an understanding of customer expectations. In our society, customers are used to finding their own information online. Further, they often come to your website to find out about your company and your offerings. According to Blue Corona, studies show that between 70-80% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting the small business or making a purchase with them. Customers view your website as a reflection of who you are as a company, thus it’s important to portray yourself in the most positive light on the web.

Use the Free Mediums Available to You

Prior to spending any marketing money, small business owners should use the free options available to them. Search, Social Media, and E-mail Marketing can and should be used for free. Write blogs to boost your search results. Post interesting content to capture a larger audience via social media. Also, keep your existing customers engaged with captivating email campaigns.

Small Business Marketing Plan Summary

You do not have to be present on all channels. There have been successful businesses in the past that do not do guerrilla marketing, viral YouTube campaigns, social media, e-mail marketing, billboard ads, etc… More importantly, there will be many in the future that are able to be successful without being present on every channel.

Instead of trying to do it all, think about what marketing investments make sense/cents for your business.

If you would like to learn more about how Saffron Key can help grow your business, check out our Getting Started page and tell us about your company and its needs.

Digital Marketing for the Bootstrapped Startup

Digital Marketing for the Bootstrapped Startup

Seattle is full of amazing ideas—many have come to fruition—others are still on the drawing board. Established gamechangers like Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, Costco, Starbucks, REI, Eddie Bauer, Paccar are a source of civic pride—as they should be. Seattle is where gamechangers are built. But, it begs the question—whose idea will be next?

I Have a Full-Time Job, But I’m Also Bootstrapping a Startup

Many startups face the same reality. Their idea is very good, but it needs to be bootstrapped or developed to flush out the wrinkles. However, this development takes time and energy. Unfortunately, most of us also have a mortgage or rent due each month. We cannot simply our jobs. However, it’s been getting tough to sleep at night, because we aren’t kicking our idea forward very much. Your startup may or may not be a gamechanger, but it certainly has the potential.  The options to move the ball forward on this innovation are not very promising. You do not want to give up the safety of the paycheck and you do not want to beg a VC for funding. You certainly do not want to let the idea die, because somebody else is probably developing this idea as well.

Marketing by Saffron Key

The Saffron Key Marketing solution is a twist on the ideation model. Keep your job and develop your offering in your spare time. We’ll market your solution for you, for a very small fee. Our offerings include search, social media, and e-mail marketing. With our success in marketing and your commitment to the offering—your creation will grow.

You Keep Bootstrapping, We’ll Handle the Marketing and Social Media

What we have seen with our founders is that once the marketing is handled it allows them to concentrate on the offering itself. Once they have that concentration—magic happens. We commit to building awareness for your solution that communicates the value of your brand.

Now Is The Time

There have not been a lot of companies built to solve this problem so specifically. If your idea has been on the back-burner for a long time, it’s time to sharpen your pencil and get to work. If you would like to learn more about how Saffron Key can help grow your business, check out our Getting Started page and tell us about your company and its needs.

Startup Marketing: Light the Fuse

Startup Marketing: Light the Fuse

The Many Flavors of Startups

The term “Startup” is a bit of an overused and nebulous term. The term can refer to a business that is not fully mature and may not have all of the trappings of a business–they may not yet have a product, a sales team, legal counsel, an HR department, or a website. We have seen many strong ideas that do not have a thorough understanding of marketing. If your idea is solid, but you need some Startup Marketing, we can help you.

From our perspective, we define a Startup as a business that is still building a sustainable revenue model. The problem is that there are a lot of different types of companies that fit in that description.

  • Some companies have some revenue, but they have not yet figured out how to scale their offerings.
  • Other companies have a captive audience, but have not been able to turn that into a means to make money.
  • Others have a niche market covered, but have not figured out how to expand that market.

The endless possibilities lead to a lot of excitement, regardless of where you are in your development. We are drawn to this excitement.

Startup Revenue Model Optimization

Saffron Key has carved out a niche in Startup Marketing. Where we shine is with companies that have an idea, but not a clear path to turn on the revenue stream. We have the unique ability to boil the solution down to its essence to find where there may be potential revenue streams. Until these companies have a sustainable revenue model, they should not require full-time work to develop the solution. They need a founder who can build out a solution on nights and weekends and they need a trusted marketing hand that can deliver high-quality on-brand web presence, social marketing, and e-mail marketing. Perhaps most importantly, they need somebody to do this without crippling the company financially.

Light the Fuse, but do it Strategically

The world is full of amazing new economic realities. We are incredibly fortunate to live in Seattle, where all ideas are worth exploring. If you’ve got a side project that has some potential, let us help you figure out how to operationalize it. When the time is right, we’ll talk about how we can turn your side project into something that has some legs. We practice pragmatic optimism at Saffron Key. We want to help you ignite your passion and we want to do it without crippling your company financially before you even get started.

Ignition in: 3… 2… 1

If you would like to learn more about how Saffron Key can help grow your business, check out our Getting Started page and tell us about your company and its needs.

Chief Everything Officer

Chief Everything Officer

As entrepreneurs, we know the reality of being an entrepreneur. We are the Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Janitorial Officer, and Chief Executive Officer of our small business—and that’s all before 7am some days.

The role of an entrepreneur is akin to spinning plate circus performers. Just as you are about to get your technology sorted out, a customer comes in and takes all of your time. Inevitably, all of the other plates start to wobble. We get it.

We face the same challenges, and would never suggest that you should not support your customers—they are your lifeblood. Many small businesses have not used facebook marketing in months. They may not have tweeted since last summer or sent an email campaign since 2014. The last time they updated their website was when AOL was still a thing. It happens. It’s not how you want to represent your company, but there are only so many hours in the day.

What if somebody could take one of those spinning plates for you? This would allow you more time to focus on your existing customers and operations. That’s the premise behind Saffron Key—we grab the reins of your small business marketing and push it forward while you serve your customers. We own social, search, and email for your small business marketing. While you are busy, we will continue to build your brand and your marketing presence.

If you would like to learn more about how Saffron Key can help grow your business, check out our Getting Started page and tell us about your company and its needs.