What makes a good marketing strategy?

What's the best small business marketing strategy?

The 4Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, and Place – were classified by E. Jerome McCarthy, a marketing professor from Michigan State University, in 1960. But are the 4Ps still relevant and useful for small business owners?

What should your marketing focus on?


Today, customers are rarely looking for just a product – they’re looking beyond the product itself, and to solutions. It’s no longer “If you build it, they will come.” Solutions deliver, products and services don’t.

Small businesses should focus on creating solutions or products and services that bring value to their customers and not only on features or functionalities. This value – the value proposition – forces companies to move beyond the basics and express the solution that customers really want.


Price is still a major factor in a purchase, although it’s not the only one that makes a successful sale. As information becomes more and more accessible and transparent, there’s greater demand for value for money. Customers are often willing to pay a premium price for better service or faster delivery, because they consider it a value-added benefit that justifies the higher cost. Be careful of overpricing relative to the benefits of your product or service.


Promoting a product has moved on from blasting potential customers with ads and bulletins. These days, it’s all about engaging and resonating with people. Promotion also expands well beyond the traditional marketing channels. Google introduced the term Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) that shows consumers research and engage with your company before they make a decision to purchase. This means you should be there at the micro-moments when the consumers need them the most.

However today’s customers are more media-savvy and ad-weary than ever before. This means that small companies must not only focus on the primary promotional methods, but also add digital marketing techniques and build relationships with customers and potential customers. You can do this by creating engaging content or campaigns on social media platforms, or even build an online community through forums.


This category used to look at the locations and channels that were most appropriate for a potential customer to make a purchase. But now, every business competes in two worlds: a physical world (marketplace) and a digital world of information (e-commerce). We’re all connected and online, no matter where we are. Customers want ease of purchasing regardless of whether they are in a physical store or shopping online. Also, the introduction of e-commerce opens up sales opportunities worldwide, providing companies with more places to sell their products. The marketing landscape has changed dramatically thanks to e-commerce. Today’s small businesses must keep the digital space in mind when considering their marketing strategy.

Check out our GoForth Expert Rob Campbell’s advice on how to create a strong marketing plan.

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These Are the Best Digital Marketing Channels for Small Businesses

Best Digital Marketing Channels for Small Businesses

Small business owners often don’t know where to start from when it comes to promoting their company, and many marketing-related problems stem from the fact that their budget is usually very limited. However, there are high-converting methods that don’t require costly tactics and huge investments, and that can increase their visibility and help them reach their target audience. Building an online presence is essential for generating qualified leads and growing a customer base.

Start a blog

This simple strategy has numerous benefits and it’s vital for driving traffic to your website. However, if you want this to work, you need to offer high-quality content that will engage your visitors and make them stick around. Research your target audience, find out what their interests and pain points are, and create the content that addresses all these topics in a relevant and helpful way. Basically, your visitors want to learn how to solve some of their problems, read the latest news from the industry, and last but not least, be entertained. A good marketing strategy that will provide your target audience with original, fresh content on a regular basis can be a game-changer for your business. Your blog posts need to be interesting, well-researched, and frequent. The importance of frequency can be corroborated by the latest statistics according to which companies that publish 16 and more blog posts per month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than those that publish between 0-4 blog posts monthly. Guest blogging is another good idea that can increase your visibility and traffic, so make sure to join forces with other fellow bloggers from your niche.

Email marketing

This old-school marketing channel still rocks. Its ROI varies between 3800% and 4400%, which means that for every $1 you invest in your email marketing strategy you’ll earn between $38 and $44, which makes it one of the most profitable digital marketing channels. Besides, the average order value of an email is 17% higher than that of social media. This is evidently one of the most effective and cost-effective channels for digital marketing, which makes it perfect for small business with shoestring budgets, but a word of caution is necessary. As you most probably know, CASL three-year transition period ended on July 1, 2017. This means that businesses operating in Canada will have to obtain express consent for sending all types of commercial electronic messages, including emails, to people living in Canada. The latest and final provisions of this legislation certainly make things more complex for companies, but this by no means marks the end of email marketing in this country. There are steps that have to be taken before trying to contact your target audience by means of an email or text, and all you have to do is make sure that your marketing efforts are compliant with CASL.

Social media

“Pics, or it didn’t happen” is a catchphrase that perfectly illustrates how dependent on social media we have become. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn can actually make it or break it for any business big or small. The impact of social networks is tremendous, and the first thing that your potential customers do when they learn about your company is check it up on social media channels and see how many followers you have, what your existing customers say about you, and whether you publish engaging content. That’s why you need to understand how to harness the power of this incredibly influential digital marketing strategy. Besides regular posting and keeping in touch with your audience, it’s also crucial to understand how to leverage Facebook Ads, and drive more online sales.

Improve your SEO

Search engine optimization is still a mystery to some business owners, which is a great shame since this strategy can help them reach their target audience by boosting their website ranking. It can be costly, but the results make it worthwhile. Bear in mind that SEO won’t work if you observe it as a one-time attempt to boost your rankings. In order for this strategy to be successful, it needs to be persistently and regularly implemented over a period of time. High-quality content and linkbuilding are the most important things that Google takes into consideration when it comes to ranking a website. Studies have also suggested that longer content scores a better ranking, and a point that illustrates this is the stat revealing that the average first-page result on Google has 1,890 words. The first page of Google’s search results gets 92% of all traffic, while the first spot claims a whopping 33% of overall traffic.

Each of these channels will make a big difference for your business, but if you combine them you can expect really amazing results.

NateVNate Vickery is a marketing consultant and author mostly engaged in researching the latest marketing technology trends and practices applicable to startups and SMBs. He is also the editor at Bizzmark Blog and an author on The Next Web.

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Using videos in small business marketing

Do you use videos as part of your small business marketing strategy? If not, you may be missing out on a valuable and effective marketing tool that your customers will respond to very positively. Here are three ways you can use videos in your small business marketing:

An explainer video

As the name suggests, an explainer video guides customers and users through the salient features of your product or service. It’s similar to an elevator pitch, and can be a great way to quickly introduce your customers to what you’re offering, without making them search around your website to find out more. And a recent survey of American consumers showed that 73% of them are more likely to buy after watching an explainer videoTip: Keep it as short and snappy as you can – 1-3 minutes should do it.

Product demonstration

Your beautifully-written website paints an irresistible picture of your product – but what can be better than seeing your product in action? You might consider creating videos showing off the exciting and useful features of your product so customers can get even closer to the full experience. Tip: Be clear and communicate lingo-free where possible.

Video testimonials

Testimonials are a favourite on many small business websites. However, testimonial videos can go even further in making that person-to-person connection that can help attract new customers. If your business already has written testimonials, consider asking those customers to star in a video testimonial as well. If your product or service has received good reviews on sites like YouTube, consider reaching out and asking if you can use the video on your site. Tip: Let your customer talk about the ways your product or service has benefited them specifically; you never know what other customers will find useful!

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The Post: Canada’s Modern Marketing Forum is on next week


Calgary, what are you doing next week? If you’re interested in new and modern marketing ideas, we recommend The Post: Canada’s Modern Marketing Forum. It’s a unique and modern marketing event happening October 24-26 at the Hyatt Regency. Join hundreds of leaders, dreamers, and industry influencers for an exciting event that will include:

  • 5 best-selling social media authors
  • 25 digital marketing thought leaders
  • 21 main stage presentations
  • 14 hours of workshops and labs
  • Hundreds of curious professionals and entrepreneurs just like you!

GoForth is proud to offer 50% off all ticket types now through Oct. 26 – just use the promo code GOFORTH when registering!

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