In the realm of small business marketing, the efficacy of traditional models often comes into question. The traditional marketing funnel suggests a linear progression from Awareness to Action where a potential customer first becomes aware of your brand and then moves along their journey through being educated on your offerings, developing an interest in them and finally takes action to use your services or products.
However, for the entrepreneur who values meaningful connections, sustainable growth and getting a good ROI, this model requires a more nuanced approach. Let’s explore a strategy that prioritises the deeper end of the funnel, advocating for a focus on genuine conversions before venturing into broader realms.
The internet and Digital Marketing channels have enabled direct access to your customer base and although human beings do still go through a similar decision making process as they did pre-internet decisions are made more quickly.
Understanding the Marketing Funnel
Traditionally, the marketing funnel comprises several stages: Awareness, Interest, Engagement/Desire, and Action.
It’s a journey, guiding potential customers from initial curiosity to the final act of purchase. Yet, in a small business context, the implications of each stage carry a different weight, demanding a unique strategy.
The Primacy of Action for Small Businesses
For a small enterprise, resources are precious and outcomes must be tangible. This reality brings the Action stage into sharp focus:
- Prudent Resource Allocation: Given the limited scope of resources, directing efforts towards prospects ready to convert is not just efficient, it’s essential.
- Immediate Results: The lower end of the funnel offers more immediate, measurable outcomes — a lifeline for businesses where every transaction counts.
- Cultivating Loyalty: Genuine engagement at the Action stage lays the foundation for customer loyalty, a vital asset for any small business.
Strategies at the Action Stage
In this critical phase, small businesses must be tactical:
- Bespoke Communications: Understanding and addressing the unique needs of your audience is not a luxury but a necessity.
- Incentives with Integrity: Offers and promotions should add real value, reflecting the ethos of your business.
- Purposeful CTAs: A Call-to-Action should be more than an instruction; it should resonate with the values and needs of your audience.
Small Businesses with more constrained budgets need to be more on-point with their messaging and user experience than their more established peers. Often large corporates lose the rawness of their message as they become further removed from their customers which gives an advantage to the smaller business. Smaller businesses can speak more naturally and take more risks in their communication style to both create a unique identity and also to appeal to the target customer.
Ascending the Funnel with Care
Expanding focus to the earlier stages of the funnel is a journey of balance:
- Content with Substance: Moving beyond mere engagement, content should educate, inspire, and resonate on a deeper level.
- Thoughtful Brand Awareness: Visibility is key, but it must be aligned with the authentic message of your business.
We recommend to our clients to focus on the action and desire stages of the marketing funnel until they are operating profitably at scale and have budget to invest in marketing for which they do not need a clear and direct return on investment.
Integrating the Funnel Stages
Integration across the funnel stages isn’t just about tactics; it’s about weaving a narrative:
- Unified Messaging: Consistency in messaging isn’t just about brand recognition; it’s about trust-building.
- Journey Mapping: Understanding the customer journey is akin to understanding a story — where does it begin, how does it unfold, and what makes the ending satisfying?
Challenges and Adaptive Solutions
Small businesses face unique challenges, from budget constraints to changing market dynamics. Overcoming these requires:
- Continual Learning: Adaptability isn’t just a strategy; it’s a mindset.
- Listening to Customers: Feedback isn’t just data; it’s the voice of your business’s future.
- Agility: Small businesses can move faster than larger ones so take advantage of this and ensure you are adapting to the latest needs of your customers.
Future-Proofing Your Marketing Approach
The marketing world is in constant flux. Staying relevant means:
- Embracing Innovation: New technologies and platforms are not just tools; they are opportunities to connect in novel ways.
- Agility in Strategy: Adaptability in your strategy is a reflection of your commitment to meet your customers where they are.
Starting with a robust focus on the Action stage and thoughtfully expanding your strategy upwards is more than a marketing plan; it’s a philosophy. In a world where every customer’s journey is unique, understanding and valuing each stage of the funnel is paramount.
If you are wondering how to go about budgeting your marketing and where you shoudl be spending your budget in order to make the most of it then please get in touch – we can help you understand how to answer those questions.