It can be tough to sit down and craft your own marketing strategy as an entrepreneur or small business owner. After all, you already have a few balls in the air: sales, client work, overhead, finances, etc.

The process of defining a marketing strategy is an excellent way to gather what you know and what you’ve learned into a single document. The purpose is to apply an effective strategy to your sales and customer cycle. As the owner, you have likely collected a significant amount of client data already but have unlikely communicated or documented this. Documenting this is important because as your business grows, pieces will shift and change. These shifts will impact your sales effectiveness and allow you to make more informed decisions on where you have the most impact or which of your sales tactics is working where.

Here we have the first three pieces that any new business should begin with:

  1. Know who you’re marketing to (prospect persona)
  2. Know how you can help (what problem do you solve?)
  3. Know your sales process (common questions and concerns)

These areas are often overlooked and considered too time-consuming for small businesses, but being able to answer these questions can help focus your marketing efforts and attract clients closer to your ideal. Let’s break them down:

Know your ideal client

Yes, as a new business you will likely accept work outside the sphere of your ideal job. You’ll accept it because it’s work and, at this point, any work is good to have (not always true). This attitude doesn’t transfer to your marketing. Remember that marketing is to attract prospects. And you want to attract prospects that are looking for or needing what you’re offering. You also don’t want to waste time or money marketing to a bunch of people that will never need what you offer. Defining your ideal prospect or client is an excellent first step. This is where the concept of Personas comes in.

Defining your ideal client in some detail can provide effective insights when you’re making decisions around marketing. Identifying information beyond demographics is essential. Data such as work role, family situation, personal and professional struggles, etc. are important pieces to create a “typical” client that you can refer to when you need.

Be clear about what you offer

You want your offering to resonate with your ideal prospects. You want to make sure it’s clear that you understand them and know what their needs are – and that you can solve their problem. Don’t be too vague in your messaging or what you do for fear of losing out on a client. Believe it or not, you’ll lose out more by being vague.

The process of defining your offering can take several attempts but is well worth the time and effort. This step also allows you to work on how you talk about your business to different prospects – which is an important sales piece. This established way of talking about your product/service shows up in your marketing e.g. website, brochure, business card, etc. and helps project a clear and professional image to prospects. It can also reduce the time to sale by helping to education prospects on what you do and filter out those that misunderstand.

Document your sales process

This is a big one and should be started from the very beginning. Tracking how people find you, how big the sales are, how long it took to land the client, how often you contacted them or send them information, questions they asked, etc. All this should be captured. Even if it’s only on a spreadsheet. As your sales grow you will be able to spot trends and this will help you establish not only better marketing strategies, but also better able to predict your sales going forward.

As your business grows this information should move to a CRM that can help you track these numbers through reports. Having a clear understanding of an average length to sale and average sale amount allows you to better predict revenue in your pipeline.