3 Ugly Truths About Marketing for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you might feel like you can hit up Google for some quick answers to your marketing questions. Or maybe you think you can get your marketing strategy from the hottest new marketing book on the market.  It seems like you should be able to handle it yourself with just some quick research. But there are some ugly truths out there in the marketing world that you are going to have to face up with when you start to build up your business's brand. The sooner you face up with these ugly truths, the better your marketing will be. 

What are the ugly truths of marketing a small business?

The very first ugly truth is that it's harder than it looks.

No one knows your small business's product better than you do, right? It's really easy for you to see why someone would want to buy it. That might lead you to think that you can jump right in and the sales will flow.

But it's never that easy.

You need to be able to communicate your company's value to your potential customers in a way that will resonate with them; and that's the hard part. Your messaging need to get delivered to the right people (your ideal customer) in the right place (where your customers are at) at the right time AND with the right message.

It's complex. And it's not necessarily the same message as the one you have in mind already.

What is the remedy for this first ugly truth? Get rid of your initial assumptions about how easy it will be to sell your product to others. You're going to need to work to connect your product's value to your customer's wants or needs. It's going to take a well thought out marketing plan, not a quick Google search.

The second ugly truth is that it doesn't have to be really hard.

While you might not be able to jump right in to marketing, you can learn and grow into the skill of marketing. There are skills involved in marketing that can be developed over time.

Two of the key skills that are needed are empathy and the ability to communicate well.

You need to develop empathy because you need to be able to put yourself into your customer's shoes and see your product from their perspective. You may need to actually sit down and interview a potential customer and find out exactly how they see your product and the qualities (positive AND negative) that they see.

Once you get an idea of how your potential customers view your product, you then need to develop the ability to communicate the best selling points right back to them. Skills like these can be developed, especially when you have a good base of knowledge to start with.

So the remedy for the second ugly truth is really pretty straightforward:  Understand what skills you need to develop in order to be a great marketer. Empathy and communication skills go a long, long way to making your marketing easier.

The third ugly truth is that you can (and should) do your own marketing.

Maybe you've read this far and thought that to yourself that you don't have the time or desire to do all of your marketing. That's understandable. But you should always have a hand in your marketing, even if you hire someone to do some or all of it.

Once you roll up your sleeves and start working through the process of developing your branding, you're going to acquire even more insight into what works and doesn't for your product. You may even get ideas on how to improve or add to your product, because the process of marketing to your customers isn't just a one way flow of information.

You may have others create your marketing content for you, but you need to be able to feed that person the right information to include in the content. You need to have a hand in your marketing; whether you handle it from start to finish or not. 

The only way to tackle this third ugly truth is to do it. You need to have some experience in your marketing in order to build up some expectations about what results you should be seeing. Even if you don't get 100% hands on with the process of your marketing, you need to involved. The best person to communicate your goals, to identify your ideal customer, and to create your brand's voice is you.  

If you are looking for help on any or all of these challenges, we've got you covered.

Our Small Business Brand Audit is a great way to help you determine where you are with your marketing and where you need to go. It helps you identify your customer's perspective and helps you position your brand based on your specific competitive evaluations.

It also helps you to align your brand messaging by mapping your customer's motivations and determine where your small business stands on it's path to actually being a brand.

This self guided brand audit is completely freeand available to you at the link below. Download the audit and complete it on your own schedule. The download consists of eight videos as well as a 14 page workbook that contains instructional activities to help you transition your small business into a brand.

Small Business Brand Audit