Small businesses are particularly well suited to video marketing campaigns, as I wrote about in “How Videos Boost Your Small Business Marketing.” Usually, the founder or employees are personable characters, which result in compelling and memorable videos.
To give you inspiration, here are three marketing videos I produced for clients.
Marketing videos don’t always need to feature the founder. Often, customer-facing employees make excellent videos that customers really relate to. In Grady Veterinary Hospital’s video, a receptionist shares healthy recipes for dog treats.
Marti Barletta is a speaker, so she always looks for opportunities to have her keynotes filmed. In this way, we turn a one-time event into an ongoing marketing campaign. In this speech to financial advisors, she shares details about how to earn business from affluent widows.
These three video marketing examples are quite different, but they have something in common: they are each extremely relevant to the organization’s customer target. And because of that focus, they have been very successful elements of my clients’ small business marketing efforts.
A photograph is only worth a thousand words if you pick the right one for your marketing message. Here are examples from three photo shoots I have done for clients that we now use in their marketing campaigns.
Show your product in action.
Use a photo to tell the story of your brand and how it benefits your customers. TriState Water Works provides Prompt and Proven Sprinkler Service so that customers can enjoy lush lawns and beautiful gardens throughout the summer.
Rivet your audience.
Unique, dramatic or beautiful imagery will draw customers’ attention and interest them in your brand. Paramount Lawn + Landscape offers customers the beauty and drama of architectural landscape lighting, with the added benefit of security. For this product in particular, the photograph does more to encourage the sale than any marketing copy ever could.
Featuring people or animals is especially effective for small businesses that primarily provide services. This photograph for Grady Veterinary Hospital conveys happy, healthy pets and compassionate, understanding care.
Here’s something to avoid: clichés. Stock photography clichés like a woman wearing a telephone headset or a family holding hands and smiling cloyingly at the camera are completely useless for communicating marketing messages. Customers are so accustomed to seeing these images that they have become meaningless. I won’t even include an example stock photo image, because it might cause you to skip reading this paragraph entirely.
Finally, high-quality, professional photos are much more effective than ones taken by an amateur with a smartphone. Professional photographers know how to tell a story with their camera and capture your brand’s benefits to best effect. Choose a photographer who understands your business goals and brand personality.
Small businesses have many advantages over big businesses– the ability to build real relationships with customers, agility, flexibility, and more.
But brand awareness is one area where the big guys excel. They have millions of dollars in marketing budget to educate customers about what they do and just why customers should care. Because of that, a big brand’s tagline can be esoteric, aspirational and vague. Think Nike’s Just Do It or Coca Cola’s Open Happiness.
A small business marketing tagline has to work harder, though. It needs to tell the story of what you do and why customers love you in one small, memorable package. It’s hard work, and that’s why many small businesses don’t have a tagline. But the effort is worth it. Just check out these ten great small business marketing taglines:
Newport Aquarium – A Million Gallons of Fun
Graeter’s – Irresistible Ice Cream
TriState Water Works – Prompt & Proven Sprinkler Service
Lighthouse Carwash – Clearly a Better Carwash
LMB Associates – Building Lasting Relationships with Clients and Candidates
Dewey’s Pizza – Hey! Ho! Let’s Dough!
Thrive Chiropractic – Adjust. Advance. Thrive.
VooDoo Doughnut – The Magic is in the Hole!
WAVE POOL – A Contemporary Art Fulfillment Center
Yats – Cajun. Creole. Crazy.
Each one of these taglines combine with the business name to clearly communicate what the business does, while letting customers know what makes it different and special from competitors. For Dewey’s Pizza, VooDoo Doughnut and Yats, the tagline conveys the fun vibe found at these establishments. Others, like LMB Associates and TriState Water Works set their service models apart from competitors.
Research is the best way to start a small business marketing strategy. Specifically, conducting research with your customers will help you learn what they care about, why they buy from you, what problems most affect them and other important issues that affect your marketing strategy.
1. For marketing that matters, find out what your customers really think
By gaining real insight from customers, you avoid the pitfalls of mistaking assumptions for facts. My client TriState Water Works excels at helping customers optimize their sprinkler systems for efficient water use. However, in customer research, we uncovered that customers most value TriState Water Works’ promptness– plenty of convenient appointment times and technicians that show up on time. This insight allowed us to align our marketing campaigns with what customers care about most.
2. Let your customers talk… and talk
For small business marketing purposes, forget multiple-choice questions and rating scales. An unstructured interview is the best way to uncover the hidden gems of insight your customers are just dying to share with you. During interviews, clients for Grady Veterinary Hospital described their relationship with the practice in rich, beautiful ways that inspired us to build a Facebook community that has become incredibly successful.
3. The most valuable insights are the ones that surprise you
Be prepared to learn a lot about your business you didn’t know! Pay attention to the surprising things customers say to you, and ask follow-up questions to learn more. These topics are fuel for marketing brainstorming.
4. Small business marketing research can start, well, small
Market research can seem overwhelming– large companies spend thousands of dollars and hours of effort perfecting their results. But small businesses don’t have those resources. Start small, and you can still gain valuable marketing insights. Interview five of your best customers, and see what you learn.
5. Remember to act on what you learn
Knowledge for knowledge’s sake is a beautiful thing. But not in small business marketing. Start making changes to your marketing immediately– as soon are you learn something great.