The Right Marketing for Small Business

Do you know who you’re marketing to? And, more importantly, do you know if your message is reaching them?

As businesses, we’ve probably heard that the greater number of consumers we target, the greater our chances are of being found. Wrong!

While that may be true for big box stores, national chains and brands, small businesses don’t need to reach everyone. We just need to reach the people who matter to us and who want what we have to offer. When we try to reach everyone, we dilute our value and fail. As Seth Godin put it,  ‘A product for everyone rarely reaches much of anyone.’

To be successful in attracting the right people to our products and services, we don’t need to ‘blast’ the masses or have fire sales every week. We’ll never reach everyone.  No one ever does; but I bet if we did, the majority wouldn’t need us.

Our goal should be to focus on the needs of people who can appreciate our value and who we can benefit. Let’s not fall into the trap of getting lumped together with everyone else scurrying around trying to grab a piece of the market share.  To be different and to stand out in our niche, it takes authenticity, care, integrity and respect. You don’t need everyone – just a bunch of some ones will do nicely.

The moment we start forgetting that markets are people, we’re in trouble.   The moment we compromise our inherent advantage by genericizing our approach, our treasured people become commodities. And, you won’t have to say a word.  They’ll know; and when that happens our value is diminished.

Some people have actually reported that when small businesses they’ve known started targeting broader audiences, they actually felt betrayed.

I can understand that. Those who seek us out actually like to be treated like people; and people get to choose who they want to do business with. That’s  why they come to us in the  first place.

Regardless of what you sell, there’s always someone who will sell cheaper, but the value you provide, both tangibly and intangibly, is worth more than a lower price tag.  It’s a relationship.  It’s knowing you have their best interest at heart even if it means recommending they go elsewhere because so and so may have a gizmo that would fit their needs better at the moment than the one you stock.  I assure you.  You won’t lose a customer. You’ll likely gain a few when he tells the story to his friends.

The law of large numbers doesn’t count for small businesses. Our authentic voices were not designed for the mass market. We do best when we speak to those who want to hear.  When we don’t, our efforts more often than not, fall on deaf ears.


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