6 Powerful Marketing Plans Any Small Business Can Use To Thrive In Uncertain Times

Here are six proven marketing plans I shared recently with fellow marketing expert Tim "Timbo" Reid on his podcast, "The Small Business Big Marketing Show".

Over the years these plans have helped our company turn a $2 million marketing spend into $25 million in revenue and they will work for any business that is struggling during these trying times.

1. Use Video As An Education Tool

Marketing is really just building relationships with people until they're ready to buy. So how do people build relationships now? Even though we need to practice social distancing, we’re still human beings. We still have a social need for connection.

Cheerful young woman using smartphone during video call imageAnd the best way to do that is through video.

In the past, if you had asked someone, "Hey! Let's all do a Zoom call!", there was just so much resistance.

People will be like, "What's Zoom? Does my hair look okay? What about my webcam, the lighting, the microphone, the downloading the app and getting used to the technology and meeting invite??"

But now everyone's just over that. Like myself, I think most people have done more Zoom calls and video calls in the last couple of months than actual phone calls.

So, that opens up this opportunity for marketers since the best and most engaging way to build a relationship is through video.

If you look at Facebook stories, IGTV, or YouTube, they’re the most engaging form of marketing and they’re all videos.

So we’ve been creating videos and using it everywhere. We use video as an educational tool for our marketing funnel which has these three stages.

Stage 1: Awareness

Here’s an example of how we use video in the Awareness stage. Now we all want our prospects’ attention to build a relationship, but they might not have time for you because you're not giving something that's very interesting.

If all your ads and social media posts is buy my stuff, I've got a special, contact me now - they're not going to be interested in that. So we need to educate our potential client - we need to educate the prospect by giving them information that will bring value to their lives.

And the best way to do that is through video. So if you just think about your product or service, before your potential customers hit that buy button, they’re going to have questions.

So whatever those questions are, answer them in an educational video to build the relationship.

Stage 2: Consideration

During the consideration phase, we now need a lot more time to explain our background, our product or service. And you can't really get that time unless you're educating people.

For example, you can't get people to start considering your product or service unless you've got five minutes, 50 minutes, sometimes a few hours of their time.

So this education process is like a one-hour webinar, or a two-hour webinar, or if you’re game, an eight-hour webinar.

What marketing really is in this day and age is really just teaching and teaching, and helping and helping.

Then if they want to know more, you can lead them to your offer.

Stage 3: Conversion

What happens in the conversion phase is what I call the three T’s.

  • Time
  • Trust
  • Transaction

We get time by educating people. As you educate them, you build trust. And now you've built enough trust, you've earned the right to ask for a transaction.

And these three T's all happen in one webinar, or they all happen in one Facebook Live which makes creating videos one of the best marketing plans for small businesses.

They’ll tune in so you’ve got their time, then you deliver a whole bunch of value which will establish trust. And then at the last part of the video, if they want to know more, tell them where to go which is the transaction part.

Don’t just focus on the sale. Let’s say you spend $100 on Facebook ads. Only 3% of people are ready to buy now. So, $97 is a waste of money.

But if you focus on the other 97%, who are open to hearing about solutions and not sales pitches, your marketing efforts will become more successful.

2. Be The Face Of Your Business

Small business owner in black crew neck t-shirt standing in front of his business imageI know that some of you might tighten up a little bit. You might feel like, "But I don't want people to see my face!"

But let's bring it back. Marketing is about building relationships, and it's hard to build a relationship if people don't see your face.

Imagine going on to eHarmony or some dating website and you don't want to put your face there. If you don't upload a picture of yourself, you're going to get a lot less clicks, or even worse, no clicks at all.

It’s the same thing with Facebook. It's called Facebook because people want to see your face. And by the way, here's a quite good hack for you.

Pro Tip: If you're going to place a Facebook ad, don't do it off a company page. I used to place ads from Authentic Education and have our logo which is a little flower in the corner, but it's not as personal.

So I created a Facebook page called Cham Tang, and now, the ad appears in people's newsfeed with my face on it.

So the only thing differentiating all the other posts from your friends and me is one little word that says Sponsored. Everything else looks the same, and that's where you want to get to.

That’s because when people see a logo company name, they’ll have their guard up straightaway. They'll think, "Must be an ad. Don't pay any attention to it."

This is especially important for service-based businesses. If they don’t see your face, all they’re going to see is the price. That's the only thing they've got to compare because there's no relationship there.

It’s also a competitive advantage because of the fact that if you're scared to do it right now, your competition is scared too. It's a natural fear to have.

But if you just use a bit of mindset shift or use some of the personal development stuff you've learned in the past to get over yourself one time, you'll have a competitive advantage for a lifetime.

3. Use Evergreen Content

Green pine tree imageWhat does ‘evergreen’ mean? Evergreen is similar to trees that never go brown. In marketing, evergreen means it's always ready to go, and you never have to switch it off.

For example, when you place an ad, you never want to put things that can turn old. You never want to say, "Here's a Christmas special for 2020." Why? Because you can't run that ad again in 2021.

You want to be able to just switch your ads on and off like a tap.

Same goes with online events and webinars. You can have them evergreen so they're always current, present and ready to go to fill your evergreen funnel.

And a funnel is just a set of steps that turns a prospect into a paying client. So if we put them together, an evergreen funnel is something you can have running 24//7 in your business that flows not just new prospects, but new clients.

And with video, we’re able to do this now because of social distancing and people’s reliance with Zoom. The line between real and recorded is very blurry. Your brain forgets that it's a recording.

We currently use EverWebinar which allows us to record a webinar and then it just allows people to book in at certain days and times. It will send an email reminder to your list when the webinar is and it just rolls out 24/7 for you.

So you only have to do things one time, but you get the results multiple times. Set and forget!

This is also one of the top marketing plans for small businesses who are product-based businesses. They can also benefit from using evergreen content. As an example, one of our students was a lady chemist who sold made to measure suits.

When people wanted to buy a made to measure suit from her, they had questions that needed to be addressed before they did the actual purchase.

So, we helped her do a 30-minute webinar explaining the pros, the cons, the service, how it works, what the material is, etc. She basically answered all of the questions that her prospects were hunting around the internet.

Then at the end, there’s a call to action to her offer. By the time people have built their relationship with you because you’ve answered all their questions, it's very difficult for them to just think to themselves, "You know what, I like that person, but I'm still going to search on the internet."

Give as much value as you can and people will want more. If you don’t give it away, they won’t come knocking.

But you can only give away so much, and that's the beauty of it. Like, I can't give away one-on-one sessions and support with me. I can't give away a tailored marketing plan. I can't give that away on a podcast or YouTube video or blog posts or anything like that.

You want to give away as much as possible, but there's only so much you can give away with a video just like with the lady who made suits. She can give away all of her information, knowledge and all that stuff, but she can't give away an actual suit fitting and a tailor-made suit.

There's always more stuff you can give away without holding back.

So with products, think of it like almost every infomercial ever made – the George Foreman Grill or the Ab Cruncher 6000… if you think that it won’t work for your product-based business, just look at almost every infomercial.

4. Create Facebook Ads

Facebook main page on a laptop imageStart placing Facebook ads because there's never been a better time. 45% more people are spending longer amounts of time on social media. And there are a lot more people on there scrolling through their feed, but a lot less businesses advertising.

So if you know how the way Facebook works, it's an auction system. There's a whole bunch more supply because more people are on there and there is less demand, less businesses, so the ads are cheaper -  about 25% cheaper. So now's the time to do it.

To give you an example, I've been placing ads for a free webinar I’ve been doing called the "Successful Marketing In The Covid-19 Era" webinar, and we're getting $6 registrations.

Now normally, that's $18… it's six bucks now! I don't know what else you want but your return on investment triples if your ad cost is a third the price.

Pro Tip: Here’s another hack that is part of the marketing plans for small businesses that I teach to my students. Due to the whole election thing that happened with Trump and the Russians, Facebook wanted more transparency. So they introduced this library, which allows people to see the ads that other people are placing.

So, you can find out what kind of ads your competitors are placing, when they started placing the ads, who placed the ads, what country the administrators are in and a whole lot more information.

This will allow you to do what we call as funnel hacking where you just figure out what your competitors do.

You could also look at when they started the ad because if you find an old ad that’s still running, let’s say an ad in January 2020 and they’re still running it today, that means they’re getting results from that ad, which you can now modify and make it your own. Don’t steal!

5. Use SMS Marketing

Smiling woman sitting in cafe with chin on hand and using a smartphone imageDid you know that you could send thousands of SMS’s for just 10 bucks a month? We use a SIM card from Belong Mobile, but you can also get this from Boost Mobile. They have unlimited text even to other countries like New Zealand for just 10 bucks a month as well.

The reason we found success in SMS marketing is due to the fact that email open rates are declining. I’ve been doing marketing for over a decade and I’ve found that email open rates are just going down. The rise of social media has met the decline of email marketing.

Our average open rate right now is about 15%, whereas when I started, I would get 65%. But then through the years, it dropped to 50%, 30%, now it's around 15%, but with SMS, our open rate has been 95%.

Marketers and business owners don’t do it because it would normally cost you about 10 cents to send one SMS that can only fit 160 characters. You can’t really say much in 160 characters whereas I can SMS 30,000 people a 320-character SMS for just $10 a month.

There is a little bit of a hack. You have to have a specific type of phone and you got to jailbreak or route the phone. But once that's done, you can have the system for life and you’ll leave your competition in the dirt. I teach that in our Digital Marketing Made Easy course.

What you can also do is if you don’t have thousands of people in your email list and you’re willing to wait for a bit, you can get an Android app called Bulk SMS.

It won’t send out your SMS all at once because that would turn your mobile phone into a spamming marketing machine. You’ll have to wait and you might be able to crank out 100 SMS's a day.

6. The Proven Marketing M.A.P. To Grow Any Business

Focused businesswoman reading notes in a cafe imageSo many marketers and business owners are trying all these different marketing methods, and they're not getting the results that they want. So pare it back and think, what are the actual things that matter in your business?

I have an acronym and a system I use called the Authentic Marketing MAP, and MAP is an acronym for:

  • Meet your ideal client.
  • Ask for their time.
  • Present your offer.

So if you’re a business owner and you want to meet your ideal client, you should go on Facebook because that’s the thing that’s scaling right now.

And how do we ask for their time? We don't ask for their time by getting them to put their email address in for an eBook. That’s because an eBook isn't engaging.

People aren’t really downloading eBooks, reading them all the way to the end, and then giving you a call. It's just not happening.

So we've got to ask for their time through some type of a video, webinar, or, it could be a health check. It could be a one-on-one audit assessment, obligation, free quote… something that delivers value.

Once you've asked for their time, now you've earned that right to present your offer.

So my advice is draw three circles on a piece of paper. Figure out what's the number one way I'm going to meet ideal clients? Then what's the number one thing I'm going to ask for their time? Do you want them to come to this two-hour webinar called XYZ or come and do this free health check?

And lastly, what's the number one offer I'm going to present? Just focus on those three things.

If it's not to do with those three things, it's a distraction. That’s because the illusion for the business owner is you can do it all. But there's no way you can do it all.

So the question isn't am I doing all the things. It’s what's the highest priority thing? Am I working on that now?

In Conclusion

These are our top marketing strategies for small businesses that have allowed us to increase our profit margins by 25% which can help your business as well. To recap, they are:

  1. Use video as an education tool.
  2. Be the face of your business.
  3. Use evergreen content.
  4. Create Facebook ads.
  5. Use SMS marketing.
  6. Implement the Marketing M.A.P.

And one more thing about using video. When you use videos to grow your business, you’ll find that this whole social distancing thing will work in your favour.

Woman using a laptop doing a video call imageWe've done eight webinars and we found that people were more engaged now than they were during a live event.

As for our courses, we used to run six-day courses that were live events. But now, we've run a six-day event on Zoom, eight hours a day, and over 80% of the people who attended said they would prefer the Zoom now that they've done it.

My belief systems of like people don't want to sit at home and watch a one-hour webinar or a one-day webinar and they won’t pay attention or they won’t be into it are just plain wrong.

Engagement in our webinars was very strong since it’s one person looking at another person via camera. You just forget that you’re doing a webinar with 50 other people, and it feels like a one-on-one call that you would normally do with your friends and family.

Hope this helps you!

If you would like me and my team to personally help you with your marketing and show you other effective marketing plans for small businesses, book a call here.

Read more about: Marketing

Cham is the CEO and Head of Marketing at Authentic Education since co-founding it in 2009. He is passionate about productivity, empowering people, marketing and is creator of Digital Marketing Made Easy.

He has worked for Anthony Robbins, Chris Howard and Dr John Demartini from "The Secret" and has featured in BRW magazine, News.com.au and newspapers such as Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.