Marketing is essential for any small business, but it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many options and pieces to marketing that it can be overwhelming, especially if you’re on a tight budget. 

But don’t worry! Creating a marketing strategy for your small business is easier than it sounds, and it’s something you can do in just three simple steps.

Step One: Determine Your Target Audience

The first step in creating a marketing strategy for your small business is to determine your target audience. Ask yourself who your ideal customer is, what their needs are, and what they’re looking for. 

But, don’t just use demographics, like age, education level, and marital status. To really understand your ideal audience (and, importantly, where they like to hang out, you need to think about their interests. 

The truth is, your product might be a great solution for a 20-year-old college student and a 45-year-old creative entrepreneur. Dive deep into understanding everything you can about your ideal client. 

If you want to take this research even further, check out SparkToro.  With this research tool you can find out the social accounts your audience follows as well as the websites they likely visit!

Once you understand your target audience well, you can start thinking about the best ways to reach them.

Step Two: Set Some Goals

The second step is to set some goals. What do you want to achieve with your marketing? Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or generate leads? Once you know what your goals are, you can start brainstorming some ideas for how to achieve them.

Many entrepreneurs need to pay more attention to the importance of this step. As a matter of fact, most of the entrepreneurs that request my help with strategy will say that the main problem they have is that their marketing isn’t converting. The problem is, they are not clear about the type of conversion they are measuring; ie. conversion to a lead which is a soft acquisition level conversion, or conversion to a sale; a revenue level conversion. 

The best way to determine your goals is to decide on the One Metric That Matters (OMTM) for each level of your funnel.  Here’s a definition courtesy of The One Metric That Matters (or OMTM) is a single number that you care the most about at the current stage of your company. Keep in mind that this metric can change over time as your company grows.

Here’s a chart for reference:

omtm chart

Click here to access an editable OMTM chart (make a copy)


Step Three: Choose Your Tactics

The third and final step is choosing your tactics. This is where you’ll decide what channels to use to reach your target audience and what kind of content you want to create. There are many different options out there, so take some time to research what will work best for your business. Then put together a plan and get started!

Keep in mind that your distribution channels are both audience and intent-dependent. Always pinpoint and prioritize one channel. It should be the platform you are most likely to find your ideal audience. 

Intent-dependent means that each channel has a behavior related to it. Think about why someone would go to YouTube to consume content. Likely, he or she would be looking for “How to”, “The best”, or “___vs____” content depending on where they are in their customer journey. On the other hand, the same person might visit Instagram to be entertained by memes and short videos. 

Your content will be a great match for your audience on some platforms and not as strong on others. Prioritize those that are likely to resonate best with your audience while maintaining your brand identity. 

Here is an example of content marketing tactics for small businesses to get you started.


Pillar to Post

1. Determine your pillar content topic

Your pillar content topics will be the main topics and sub-topics in which you have expertise related to your business.

2. Write or record your pillar content piece 

Your pillar content is generally long-form content in the form of a blog, podcast, or video. 

3. Atomize your pillar content

To atomize your content piece means to “chop it up”. Choose snippets of the blog, podcast, or video as quote posts, carousels, or short-form videos on social media.

4. Post your pillar and atomized content on your distribution channels of choice.

Distribution channels include your blog, podcast, email, social media, and other channels like Medium, or Reddit, for instance.

Creating the best marketing strategy for your small business doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. By following these three simple steps—figuring out who your target audience is, setting some goals, and choosing your tactics—you’ll be well on your way to developing a plan that works for you and helps you achieve your objectives.