The problem with small business marketing right now

small business marketing

I hate to say it but small business marketing at the moment is shocking.

The number of brands jostling for position on Google and social media has resulted in a race to the bottom, brands are putting poor quality marketing in front of their audience ahead of building more meaningful, long lasting relationships. 


Because of ROI and metrics. Marketing teams are being measured on short term tactical gains rather than long term driver of brand loyalty. A 0.1% increase in email open rates is lauded as a huge marketing win when customer satisfaction and loyalty are falling. While every brand needs a consistent flow of leads and sales, the focus on short term marketing activity is damaging the very purpose of marketing.

Small businesses need to get back to what they do best, building strong meaningful relationships with their customers with their marketing. It’s time to stop posting the same content as your competition rewrapped with your branding and it’s time to stop running sales promotions on repeat to generate unprofitable sales.

Small businesses are scared of putting people off

One of the biggest reasons I’ve found small business marketing to be so ineffective is fear. A fear of alienating prospects or potential customers.

The result?

Same, same, same

Small business marketing has become same, same, same. It’s become boring and predictable. 

If you removed the logo on most social ads or posts, they could have been posted by anybody in that sector. Take a quick look at fast fashion brands and their posts are interchangeable amongst themselves, B2B brands push the same message of better quality service and your local printer has the best prices. In every industry, the similarities between marketing messages are huge.

Quantity over quality

Just like fast fashion utilises the “stack em high, sell em cheap” model, businesses are opting for quantity over quality. Books like Grant Cardone’ 10x teach you to push, push, push. More content, more effort, more energy. More everything. The phrase less is more has never been more relevant in small business marketing.

Instead of focusing on quantity with their marketing activity, brands should be looking at producing consistent, on brand, unique marketing campaigns that build long term brand value and loyalty. 

What direction should small business marketing take next?

So, what’s the alternative?

Be brave with your marketing. Define who your customer and audience are and provide real value. Instead of trying to please everybody and pleasing nobody focus on serving a specific niche. As a small business, you probably don’t have a huge marketing budget and you certainly can’t compete with bigger players in your market on advertising spend. Find a niche for your brand within your sector and serve that niche consistently.

Don’t be scared of alienating people who aren’t in your chosen niche. For small business marketing to really work, you need to turn some people off. You need to make it obvious who you’re here to serve.

When you find a niche for your brand you’re more connected to your customer. You can use feedback to put an end to constant discounting to shift product, you’re able to look at why customers don’t buy your product at full price. Fix things they don’t like and find out ways you can improve your product and offering.

Produce valuable content

The easiest way to stand out?

Produce valuable high quality content.

Use social media and your website to produce content that answers burning audience questions. Tell a story with your content, move your prospect from one point to another.Educate, inspire or entertain with your marketing.

Don’t focus on quantity, focus on quality. Produce the best article on a specific topic. Google and your audience love quality content. Choose a topic, pick a format and get to work. You could write a blog guide, a YouTube video or podcast. Whatever topic and format you choose make sure it’s well planned and executed.

You have the opportunity to stand out

When you’re in a sea of average brands and rubbish small business marketing, it’s easy to stand out. If you’re willing to put in the time to serve your audience consistently with quality content and service, you’re already a step ahead of your competitors.

Be brave, choose a niche and produce content specific to your audiences need. Don’t worry about alienating people who aren’t important to your brand, speak directly to your audience and forget about everyone else.

If you’re doing marketing right, you’re cutting through the noise, your message is connecting with the right people and you have a consistent flow of conversations, leads and sales. Don’t be average and boring, be unique and stand out in your space. 

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