Local communities and small businesses are outmanned and outgunned by bigger competitors when it comes to marketing. Competing on their terms is a dire situation but small businesses have an unfair advantage these corporate companies can’t recreate: Authenticity and Relationships.
Our Marketing 3-4-5™ Framework is designed to simplify local marketing so you can become effective and efficient without having to become an expert. It’s time to grow your business through content marketing without having to be creative or a particularly good writer.
Join our mission to #TakeBackLocal by effectively marketing yourself and supporting others in your community.
We know that as a business owner you don't have a lot of time so Marketing 3-4-5™ is designed so you can fit marketing activities into those 15-minute downtimes throughout your day.
Whether you’re between client meetings or waiting for someone to enter your store, you can create something meaningful in your free time.
Maybe business is good and you don’t think you need to market your business.
Perhaps you actively use social media but do so nearly exclusively.
Or, you may be a member of the largest share of local businesses simply don’t do anything and think their lack of experience, time, technical expertise, or other excuses are valid - they are not.
Marketing doesn't have to be complicated, time-consuming, or expensive but it does need to be done and you can do it. We’ll show you how.
Marketing 3-4-5™ will make YOU effective and efficient by using local marketing & SEO secrets everyone should know, by working smarter not harder...
"I've seen a lot of different marketing [concepts], but this one is different. This is one I can actually do and immediately see the value/potential." - Chris W., Financial Services
Marketing 3-4-5™ will help you explore the 3 reasons you do marketing, the 4 reasons people choose to work with you, and the 5 ways they find you.
From there, we help you learn how to quickly and simply use content marketing to engage and attract people wherever they are: on social media, on Google, via email marketing, even how to drive more referrals and convert them into customers.
Marketing is more than advertising, a lot more. In fact, while attracting customers is a major driver there are other reasons for you to market your business.
Effective marketing gives you choices depending on your goals (your “why”) such as growing your business, staffing up, giving back to your community, or even working less.
Your “why” is different from other businesses and it will change over time. The important thing is to understand why marketing is important to you now so that your actions reflect that.
Depending on the nature of your business and your personal priorities these three “whys” will vary in importance.
Why do people work with you? Your customers’ and employees’ “why” is also unique. Perhaps you are a gifted practitioner, provide unmatched customer support or people love your store.
People choose to work with you because of your:
Alignment with any one of these can be sufficient to make someone want to work with you.
Knowing what makes you unique - the unique parts that people care about - is critical to effective marketing.
It needs to be important to potential clients and, as much as possible, unique to you.
For example, there are over 1 million real estate professionals in the United States and most of them can competently complete a transaction but do you actually want to spend an afternoon in the car with the real-estate agent looking at homes? Competence alone isn’t enough.
As such, the key to differentiating yourself is to help people realize that your business, your products, your services, and even YOU personally have unique benefits that they should care about.
This means you need to utilize your website, blog posts, social media, and email newsletters to share real-world examples.
How people find and engage with you is where the rubber-meets-the-road.
People regularly, and foolishly, say things such as “I get all of my business from referrals and word-of-mouth”. This is an excuse to not practice effective marketing.
People find you or your organization through:
Referrals are always great and the best way to attract customers and employees but you don’t want to feed your family based on the unmotivated goodwill of others.
If the idea of managing multiple marketing channels sounds daunting that’s because the way most local people do it is simply unsustainable. As you’ll see below, the Marketing 3-4-5™ approach to creating and distributing content is surprisingly straightforward and will even help you drive more referrals.
Attracting more customers alone isn’t always great, you want to attract more of the right types of customers… or employees… or volunteers.
The content you create, the messages that you share, the channels you use all should be done with “who” you’re trying to reach in mind.
If you’re a restaurant owner, saying everyone is a customer because everyone eats is a poor answer.
The customer who is looking to come in on a date night has very different wants and needs than the catering client. As a result, it’s important to think about each type of customer separately with a focus on your ideal customer type - or two.
You may have multiple types of target customers but it’s important to resist the urge to think of them altogether. In general, your activities to reach each group will be different and addressing the following questions can help you quickly convey value:
Attracting the right kind of customers is just one of the three reasons why you should market your business.
What about “here” matters to you? Shopping and supporting local has always been important but with growing threats from large companies and, more recently, the pandemic supporting your community is more crucial than ever. There’s even a nationwide movement to Shop Local.
Highlighting your community involvement as well as causes you care about is an easy way for you to support your local community while also looking good in the process.
It may seem counterintuitive but a donations request page will save you time, result in fewer requests on a whole, help you deliver more value to those you support, and saves you from having to actually say “no”.
Content is the currency of online marketing. In fact, Content Marketing is so important and effective it’s become an industry unto itself. You should be blogging for your business… 🤯
Yea, yea, yea, “blog” is a confusing 4-letter word and while it sounds offensive to a lot of business owners, business blogging is different.
Business Blogging is simply creating content drawn from real life. Content Marketing, therefore, enables you to share your passion, expertise, and experience with easy-to-understand examples.
A blog is simply an article of some-sort that lives on your website - each post has its own page which means it has a unique URL and context matters - which means the content should be weaved into related pages throughout your site. Posts can vary dramatically in length but usually includes a title, at least one image, and a few hundred to few thousand words.
It’s an expression of your value and, frankly, something you should be proud of.
"Without examples, nobody knows what you’re talking about. Without examples that are relevant to me then I don’t know what you’re talking about." - Brian Ostrovsky
Our brains are hardwired to engage with stories, to share them and remember them… industry-speak buzzwords, not so much.
Additionally, we live chaotic lives and we’re prone to take what businesses do for granted. Consistently reminding people of the value you deliver and the benefits they receive as a result is a surprisingly simple yet effective way to stay top-of-mind.
To make this a little more clear, let’s imagine that you sit down with a friend over a glass of wine or a beer. As you’re chatting, they ask you about your day at work. What would you tell them? This hypothetical conversation is what can make up your blog!
The key is implementing a simple and repeatable approach to blogging as well as our Universally Simple Local Blog Post Template for Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Community Organizations™ which utilize a prompt-based approach.
Glad you asked.
Prompts are simple questions that guide you in creating content simply by answering them. Here’s an example for businesses that do something with a visible outcome - which is to say, you can see what was done which we call "Highlight a Creation."
First, take a picture of what you did and then answer the following questions:
With this simple set of prompts, you can quickly “Highlight a Creation” to demonstrate the benefits of working with you with real-world examples.
A prompt-based approach enables you to quickly create business-specific content that is compelling and engaging - creativity not required!
The most common topics or themes that you may want to use in your business blogs are:
If you can remember what you do at work then you can be effective at business blogging.
When it comes to creating and distributing content, it's important to note that doing it right is nearly as easy as doing it wrong. This starts with where you post your content and how you distribute it.
The key is that all content of consequence should live on your website directly... on your blog, on your calendar, on your job board, in your coupon board.
A simple test: if you think to yourself, “I’d like to rank on Google for this content and phrases or ideas included in it” then it should live on your website.
Content should live on your website so you can share it to Facebook or send in email newsletters as a preview. Then, when people click on your content wherever they see it they go back to your website.
Google is Big Brother and sees just about everything that happens on and around your website as well as the content you create and the people who engage by reading and sharing it.
Google and Bing love content and, as a result, business blog content provides businesses with a natural SEO boost. Plus, search engines like to see that content is engaging so whenever your content is shared to social media (even by you) it can further reinforce your position.
You probably want to rank on Google for all of the content you create. If it lives on your site, visitors and Google both see it and it’s easy to discover other related content.
Getting someone to read your content is great but you want them to take an action such as calling, scheduling an appointment, or coming into your store.
Within each page of your website including each blog post, you should include a call-to-action to get readers to take action with clearly communicated next-steps.
Cross-linking is related. The Internet was originally known best as the World-Wide-Web which is to say, a web of connected web pages via links.
As you create content for your web pages and blog posts you should incorporate links to other pages on your website so that people can quickly explore related content.
For example, if your blog post is about catering an event then you should include a link to your catering page for those who want to better understand the services you offer.
This linking enables you to provide more content for those who want to dig deeper while keeping each page more focused and digestible.
In most cases, you’ll link within your site but you may also link to other sites when it’s relevant and valuable to the reader.
There is a surprisingly simple way to grow your authority, build your reputation, and reach new people… it’s by Collecting & Promoting Customer Reviews.
Customer Reviews are modern-day testimonials for local businesses on the searchable internet - you know, it shows up on Google. However, collecting positive reviews, highlighting them on your website, and promoting them can be cumbersome without the right tools.
There are a number of reasons why it’s worth making Customer Reviews a regular component of your marketing strategy including:
This helps you take more control over your word-of-mouth or referral process rather than the unreliable process of waiting and hoping.
When you request a review from someone who intended to promote you and share their experience but got distracted by a text, call, email, or other alerts from the demanding device in their pocket requesting a review reminds them. You might say, it puts that goodwill toward your business back in their brain and they’re more likely to praise you on social media or actively refer you to a friend.
Customer Reviews further fit into content marketing and, because it’s from your clients, they provide additional opportunities for new phrases, words, and ideas to be featured on your website which helps you rank more broadly on Google.
Authenticity and relationships are two unfair advantages local businesses have when it comes to marketing yet most people fail to capitalize on either let alone both.
In the real-world, businesses make referrals to other businesses, volunteer and donate to nonprofits or local causes, and regularly feature promotional materials for organizations they support in their front windows or on a community corkboard.
Content marketing, as we’ve explored above, provides ample opportunities to highlight your authenticity that is, those things that make you unique.
We are also here to show you how to leverage your relationships online with our free Local Connections™ features.
These free tools enable you to tap into the power of your Local Connections™ to increase reach and generate more local awareness by automating cross-promotion and distribution.
Create a local directory to highlight businesses and nonprofits you support... remember, relationships are one of the two unfair advantages that you have.
If you embrace the Donations request page idea above, you can create a directory of the nonprofits you support. In that example, you can invite them to sign up to control their identity (logo, hours, address etc) and request that they create a directory to highlight you and their other supporters on their website.
Perhaps you support your local Main Street association, some nonprofit organizations, and some businesses that regularly have events like live music… in this example, you can create a Community Calendar to add to your website like a digital version of flyers in your window.
On the one hand, if you support a business or nonprofit then you’d like visitors to your website to learn about them and their activities. You care because you care.
On the other hand, if someone is considering working with you and they learn that you support a cause or business that they care then they become much more likely to recognize your shared values and interest. They may literally hire you or shop at your store because you both care about similar things.
But wait, there’s more… If you're using our free Local Connections™ technology, that same content you post to your website will be distributed to your network - to local business and nonprofit websites that endorse you.
You probably haven’t thought of marketing as a moral issue but it is because you have 3 constituents who are relying on your efforts.
First is your organization - maybe it’s just you or maybe you have employees, whoever is involved in your organization is relying on you to effectively market.
Second, are your customers. If you offer something of value that will benefit me and I don’t find you or understand your ability to help me then I may not work with you and I end up suffering as a result.
Finally, your community relies on you. If you don’t effectively market yourself then you’re a drag on your community’s efforts however if you effectively market yourself then others in your community are elevated alongside.
If you go further and participate in local efforts to #TakeBackLocal and cross-promote with the folks you truly care about then you’re actively working to strengthen your community.
Marketing is important, Marketing 3-4-5™ and our local marketing tools are here to help.
Please note: This program will NOT turn you into a marketing expert, ninja or superstar - It's for beginners & those looking for a rock-solid foundation!