While there is no perfect answer to this question, I have a personal framework that I have used that has helped hundreds of businesses reach scale, become profitable, and achieve massive growth.

It all starts with content as the foundation.

Methodology of Content Strategy

First, content is the foundation of a marketing strategy.

I do not care if you are running social, blogging, or creating a paid ad funnel. It all revolved around content.

You must think through a few things:

  • What are people, before purchasing asking and educating themselves on
  • When people feel educated or confident of a few solutions, what do they do next?
    • Typically reviews, talking to customer support or sales and deciding on the best solution
  • What does the purchase process look like?

This simple 3 step mental model helps you think through the pre-purchase, decision making, and the purchasing process.

You can now start content creation for each of these steps of the process. One important thing that must be stated and not overlooked is that content creation is a constant and dynamic thing. It should be a forever strategy.

Social is where you share

Paid ad funnels work phenomenally for a small business. While many SMB’s would rationally want to build a paid ad funnel, social media actually has a vital role in early-stage marketing for syndicating content before paid ads start.

If your brand has the capability to create high-quality videos, and images, you can differentiate yourself with your brand’s story and mission, social is definitely for you.

I discussed recently how advertising has become entertainment which paints a clear picture on how social is valuable and a great differentiation tool for businesses in the digital world.

Lastly, what is great about content creation and social strategy is there is no cost. These are two massively impactful channels that have zero cost to start.

Introduce Paid Ads Upon Profitability

If you have access to capital and can start ads sooner, perfect. You can measure and improve your funnel quickly. I have found that many brands often want to build a content and social strategy and then create a paid funnel.

Without high-quality content and social proof, paid funnels can struggle and flail.

With a firm foundation of local ranking, reviews and social presence, paid ads are a wonderful introduction to your marketing strategy.

Paid ads for a small business are typically run on Google, Facebook, and Instagram.

Very important note with paid ads

At this point you should already have the word of mouth business, leads from your content and social strategy, etc.

Paid ads are not simply a keyword, ad, then landing page. There are specific things can hinder your paid ads from performing well like product or service perceived quality, pricing, sales team response time, and more.

  • Your product or service must stand up against every other paid ad offering listed on Google
  • Your Price must be positioned competitively or appropriately
  • Sales team or your website funnel must be fast, easy, and clear.

Before ever writing off paid ads as a “doesn’t work” channel, you must consider these among many other things.

Lifetime Value (LTV) of Customers

If you are not considering what a customer’s value is to your business, you should! Email marketing is a great tool to stay in touch with prior customers or customers who haven’t purchased or closed yet.

An intentional email marketing strategy can do wonders for customer experience. A few core MUST have email marketing ideas are:

  • Form follow up – once the form is submitted, thank them, and tell next steps
  • Customer Reviews – post-purchase or service
  • Upsell/Follow up – if you have other products or follow-up services, make customers aware.

Email can be introduced the day your business starts. It is not “fourth” on this list. Just like any other of marketing strategy these options, you can introduce them anytime!

The takeaway

Content isn’t king. I hate that saying. But content is foundational. The brand is king. If you have a great content strategy and a strong brand you will do well. You could have all the content in the world and a horrible brand and you will fail.

Check out our Ultimate Guide of Marketing with a $0 budget. If you are a new SMB this is a GREAT toolkit to get you off the ground.

If you are established and need help managing any of the above services, we are here to help. Reach out below.

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