Marketing a Small Business Boils Down to Time, Money & Expertise


Marketing a Small Business Has Gotten More Complex

Marketing HAS gotten very complex.  However, it’s not impossible to find success.  It just requires a more methodical approach…

What Most People See as Obstacles, Excite Me

I meet dozens of small business owners every week.  It’s a favorite pastime of mine.

I love to ask the same 4 questions.   Here’s the 4th question:

Q:          What’s the number-one obstacle standing in the way of you marketing your business to new customers more successfully?

The answers are as varied as the people I meet and the business they own.  Small businesses are like snowflakes; no two the same.  That’s why I’ve always found them interesting.

The answers to this question can almost always be classified into three primary categories:

  1. Time – “I’m wearing so many hats I don’t have time to worry about that stuff…”
  2. Money – “People are always wanting me to advertise and I can’t afford it…”
  3. Expertise – “I’ve tried stuff, but nothing works. So now I just do nothing…”

People, of course, express these sentiments in many different ways, but it all really boils down to these three issues.  As business owners, we experience each of these to varying degrees.  Some of us have the budget, but we don’t have anyone we really trust to spend it and/or who we think knows what they’re talking about.  Others of us have a little time to spend on marketing, but not a lot of money, and not a lot of expertise.

Take a moment and think about you and your business.  What is your situation, as you see it today?  The whole point of this book is to ease your mind and give you a reliable way to think about marketing within your own constraints of time, money, and expertise.

Our Unique Approach to Marketing a Small Business

Given the limits we all face around time, money, & expertise, how do we get the most bang for our buck?

We start with a concept called Digital Footprint.  For businesses with very limited time, money, & expertise — this is definitely the place to begin.  It might also be as far as you go on the marketing front.  Take stock of the resources available to you.  For example, I’ve got 1 hour a week I can reliably give to marketing, I’ve got $2,350 per month in the budget, and I feel good about my ability to do some things for myself (within the context of my hour).

At that point, you can then start looking at the best ways to use your time, money, & expertise.  Since you’ve only got an hour a week, you’re going to use your budget to get some help.  What kind of help do you need?  Choose help that compliments your in-house expertise.

The Four Basics of Digital Footprint

When we developed the concept of Digital Footprint, we realized there were four major areas where customers consistently had problems to solve.  Here are the 4 areas:

  1. On-Line Local Search Directories
  2. Search
  3. Social Media & E-mail
  4. Reviews & Reputation

For B2C businesses with extremely limited time, money, & expertise — we highly recommend JUST focusing on directories.  This takes what little resources you have and goes “all in” on what makes you the most findable.  Check out the articles we’ve written on this topic.

Keep executing with your time, money, & expertise until you’ve got all 4 elements of your digital footprint in great shape, AND you have a regular rhythm established for updating it and keeping it optimized.  Then you’re ready to move on to graduate studies…

We always begin new client relationships with an investment in auditing your digital footprint and making recommendations.  If you’d like a free digital footprint audit, contact us today.

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Steven Ludwig
After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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