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Marketing Strategy For Small Businesses - Key Ways To Create It In NZ

How to Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

For small businesses, having an effective marketing strategy is crucial for growth. Having a solid marketing strategy for small businesseses is like having a roadmap. It helps you navigate through the chaos and stay on track to achieve your goals. Without a clear strategy, you’re just shooting in the dark and spending your time, money, and resources on tactics that may not work. An effective marketing strategy allows you to get what you want out of your business, define your brand, and stand out against the noise, all the while being functional for you.

There is more to designing an effective marketing strategy than just simply advertising a product. It requires a comprehensive understanding of how your business interacts within the market. The process of creating a marketing strategy for small businesses includes exploring and integrating things such as market analysis, target audience identification, branding, and goal-oriented campaigns.

I know, this may sound tricky! However, this is where we come in. We’re here to help you navigate the challenges and develop a powerful marketing strategy that will help you establish your brand identity, identify your target audience, drive customer engagement, and boost your bottom line! 

Understanding your Target Audience to Create Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

Now let’s talk about your target audience—the people you want to reach! One of the key secrets to creating an effective marketing strategy for small businesses is understanding who your audience is and how to attract them.

What do you know about your audience, what are their weak spots? And, most importantly, how can your business improve their lives? It’s crucial to consider this in your marketing as if you know your audience, you can address them directly in your campaigns and convince them why your business is something they need in their lives.

There are three key parts to understanding your target audience. These are:

  1. Conducting market research: With the help of online surveys, focus groups, and interviews, you can gather insights into your audience’s preferences, behaviours, and purchasing habits. If you can pin down exactly how your audience interacts with the market, you can leverage that information in your marketing to create campaigns that really focus in on your target market.
  2. Segment your audience: Once you have researched your audience, segment them into subgroups based on common characteristics or needs. Understanding the different demographics within your target audience will allow you to create highly specific campaigns that will resonate with each segment.
  3. Create buyer personas: The last step of defining your target audience is describing your ideal buyer. We call these buyer personas, and they are detailed, fictional representations of the kind of person who you are targeting. You should have a buyer persona for each segment, all based off the information that you have gathered about those groups. Creating buyer personas are a fantastic way to lay out your target market and are something you can continue to return to in your marketing.

Find your target audience to make effective marketing strategy for small businesses

Conducting Market Research When Creating a Marketing Strategy

Market research is exactly what it sounds like, researching various aspects of the market, such as customer preferences, buying habits, and trends, to optimise your business’ growth and the success of your marketing. This is pretty much essential for creating marketing strategies when small businesses as having insights on the market allows us to make informed decisions about not only our products or services, but also how we advertise ourselves. Just as when we are researching our target audience, market research can be done through surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, data analysis, etc.

Here are some key tips for conducting market research:

  1. Identify your research objectives: First and foremost, we need to know what we want from this research. Ask yourself, “what kind of information will help my business?”. It may be that you want to understand customer preferences, evaluate competitor strategies, or identify market opportunities. 
  2. Gather primary and secondary data: Primary data is sourced directly from your target audience or customers, whereas secondary data is collected by others. Using both can allow you to have a well-rounded, fully-fledged understanding of the market!
  3. Analyse the data: Look for patterns, trends, and correlations within your data that may be helpful for your marketing. This kind of evidence tends to be pretty reliable and will allow you to focus your marketing strategy.

SWOT Analysis to Develop Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

Conducting a SWOT analysis means identifying your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

  1. Strengths: Start by identifying your small business’s strengths. Think about things that make your business unique – selling points! Maybe you have a strong brand reputation, high quality products or services, a loyal customer base, or a talented team. Whatever it is, being able to identify your strengths means you can use them to leverage your marketing.
  2. Weaknesses: Be honest about your small business’s weaknesses. At the end of the day, they’re  areas for improvement, and acknowledging them can help you form goals. 
  3. Opportunities: Identify potential market opportunities that your small business can capitalise on. These can include emerging trends, untapped customer segments, or new marketing channels. 
  4. Threats: Develop strategies to mitigate risks and stay ahead of the competition. Threats to your business are things such as intense competition, changing consumer preferences, or economic downturns.

Setting SMART Business Goals to Create Effective Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

We talk a lot about setting goals for our businesses when writing marketing strategies. However, what kind of goals should we be setting, and what makes a goal good? Setting clear and defined marketing goals is essential for small businesses to track our progress and direct our marketing. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound – here’s how you create them: 

  1. Specific: Make sure your marketing goals are clearly defined and focused. Specific goals give you an exact end that you can find clear ways to work towards.
  2. Measurable: In a similar fashion, set goals that can be quantified so that you can easily track your progress.
  3. Attainable: Ensure that your goals are realistic and attainable. Don’t waste your time and energy, consider your resources, budget, and capabilities to set goals that make sense for you. Setting unrealistic goals can be incredibly demotivating – you want to have goals that you’re confident in!
  4. Relevant: Align your marketing goals with your overall business objective. For example, if your business objective is to expand into a new market, your marketing goal could be to increase brand awareness in that market.
  5. Time-bound: Set a timeline for completing each goal. Deadlines create pressure that will motivate you to stay on track. And remember, hold yourself accountable!

Choosing the right marketing channels

Marketing channels are all the different places we can advertise our goods. Depending on our target market, the channels we choose will vary. For example, if you’re marketing for teens, you may want to largely use social media, and so on. Here are some popular marketing channels for small businesses:

  1. Website:  A well-designed and user-friendly website is a must-have for small businesses. It serves as a central hub for your online presence and is where you can showcase your products or services.
  2. Social Media: Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn are powerful channels for small businesses to connect with their target audience. Choose platforms that align with your target audience’s demographics and preferences.
  3. Email Marketing: Leverage the cost-effective potential of email marketing to nurture leads, cultivate relationships, and drive conversions. Utilise an email marketing platform to send personalised and targeted emails to your valued subscribers.
  4. Content Marketing: Creating valuable and relevant content is an effective way to attract your target audience. We’ll talk more about how to develop a content marketing strategy, but by creating blog posts, videos, infographics, and other forms of content you can connect with your audience and draw in more interest.
  5. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Optimising your website and content for search engines can help increase your visibility and attract organic traffic. You can do this by conducting keyword research and optimising your website’s meta tags, headings, and content.
  6. Paid Advertising: Consider allocating a portion of your budget towards paid advertising channels like Google Ads or social media ads. Set a budget and target specific keywords or demographics to reach your target audience effectively.

Budgeting a Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

Especially for small businesses, whether or not we’re budgeting effectively can have massive impacts on our success. It’s essential that, when designing a marketing strategy for small business, we carefully consider where our resources are best used, how we should prioritise our marketing activities, and which channels we should invest the most in.

Here’s my tips for creating a budget for marketing strategy for small businesses:

  1. Determine Your Marketing Objectives: First and foremost, we need to figure out what we want to get out of our marketing. By doing this, we can allocate a budget based on specific goals. For example, if your objective is to increase brand awareness, you may allocate more budget to social media advertising.
  2. Identify Your Marketing Expenses: To get a clear idea of what you need to budget for, identify the expenses that are necessary in executing your strategy. This can include costs for website development and maintenance, content creation, advertising, software subscriptions, and marketing campaigns.
  3. Set a Budget: Based on your marketing objectives and expenses, set a realistic budget that is appropriate for your small business’s financial situation. Consider the ROI of each marketing activity and, of course, prioritise the most effective channels.
  4. Track and adjust: As you go, track your marketing expenses and measure the ROI of each activity. This will help you determine the long-term effectiveness of your budget allocation and see where to make adjustments if necessary.

Budgeting Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Develop a Content Marketing Plan

Content marketing, in whatever form you choose, is a fantastic way to attract, engage, and convert your target audience. A content marketing plan takes everything you know about your audience and everything you know about your business and considers how you can use that knowledge to produce content. 

Here’s how to develop a content marketing plan:

  1. Choose Content Formats**: Whether its blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, or ebooks, determine the types of content that best fit your business.
  2. Create a Content Calendar: To help you stay on top of it, create a content calendar that outlines the topics, formats, and publishing schedule for your content. 
  3. Promote and Distribute your Content: Once you create content, promote it through various channels such as social media, email marketing, and guest blogging. 

Measure Your Success

How do we know if it’s all working? Measuring the success of our marketing is essential when it comes to determining the return on investment and what areas need improvement. These are some key metrics to measure the success of your marketing:

  1. Website Traffic and Engagement: You can monitor the number of website visitors, page views, bounce rate, and average session duration. This will help you understand how effectively you are attracting and engaging your target audience.
  2. Conversion Rate: To evaluate the effectiveness of your conversion strategies, measure the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or subscribing to your newsletter. 
  3. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Calculate the cost of acquiring a new customer, including all the marketing expenses incurred to attract and convert them.. Compare your CAC with your customer lifetime value (CLV) to ensure profitability.
  4. Social Media Metrics: Monitor metrics such as follower growth, engagement rate, reach, and click-through rate on social media platforms. 
  5. Email Marketing Metrics: Track your open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and unsubscribe rate for your email marketing campaigns.

Adapting and Refining a Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

In order to stay ahead of the competition, we have to stay on top of what is a constantly changing market. To do this, we have to continuously adapt and refine our marketing strategies. We need to keep current with industry trends, experiment with new marketing tactics, seek feedback from customers, and continuously push ourselves to improve.

Know you need help creating a marketing strategy for your small business that stands out, reflects your vision, goals and point of difference?

We’d love to help!

Email Rachel to set up a meeting to check we’re the right fit for your business. 


For over ten years Rachel Klaver has worked with small business owners on their marketing, with a specific interest in content marketing strategy. She loves playing with language and shares her own marketing catchphrases such as “Be a kind spider” and “You have never killed a man with your face” As a small business owner, often low on time, and with a distinct aversion to admin, Rachel loves helping other small businesses catch the marketing bug. Her insights and personality shine through her weekly podcast MAP IT Marketing, her weekly column in NZ’s national newspaper Stuff, and her content on any platform they let her have an account!

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