The Marketing Strategy That Could Have Saved This Small Business (and could save yours…)

A small business with a valuable and high-quality product…

Yet struggling to get enough business to survive.

Sound familiar?

The Pigheaded Butcher used to be in that situation a few years ago. Now it’s closed.

I’m going to show you how I would’ve improved their revenue by 50% or more through marketing if I had been given the chance. I’m confident this would have saved the business.

I was a patron of the Pigheaded Butcher for months – I loved it!

But every time I recommended it to someone, they would say:

“Where is it? There’s a butcher in that area … in this area?”

No one had ever heard of it. They would go, have a great experience, and make sure to thank me afterward for telling them about it.

That’s how you know their marketing wasn’t effective. People within their immediate area, who would have loved them didn’t even know they existed.

Let me show you what they should have done instead.

The crucial first step in any marketing

The generic advice is to define your target audience.

I like to take it a step further and define your best customer.

Here, we’re trying to create a profile of the customer that provides your business with the most benefit.

After, we can use that information to tailor your marketing specifically for potential customers who fit that profile.

Let’s break it down, one step at a time.

Keep it simple – start with the basics

I’m going to create an ideal customer profile for the Pigheaded Butcher so you can follow along.

Let’s call our customer Jonathan, because I was actually a great customer for them (often going to them 2-4 times a week).

We start by asking what Jonathan likes and dislikes.

Likes and dislikes:

  • Paleo – focuses on eating sustainably raised meats (e.g. grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken)
  • Health-conscious – has an interest in being as healthy as possible
  • Athletics – has an interest in eating well to improve physical health and performance
  • Dave Asprey – people like Jonathan follow people like Dave Asprey (founder of Bulletproof)

The more you flesh it out, the better – Here’s how

Once you have a good list of likes and dislikes, you can go deeper by defining demographics.

Demographics are stats about things like age, income, and family status. They’re crucial when it comes to being able to target the right people with any marketing.

So for Jonathan, our ideal customer, we might have:

  • Family status – the family man, who wants to buy different meats for his family
  • Income – medium to high, needs to be able to afford higher prices for cheap cuts than at a grocery store
  • Willingness to travel – what’s the furthest someone will travel to the store? One person I spoke to there said they drove from 15 minutes (about 15 miles) away.

While you might have to estimate a few things, be as detailed as possible. Add to and edit your profile over time as you learn more about your customers.

Here’s what mine looks like now:

Now use your customer profile to improve your marketing

The idea is to target your “ideal customer” with all your marketing.

You do that by determining your main marketing messages. In simple terms: what are their problems, and how can you solve them?

Based on the profile we made above, here’s what the Pigheaded Butcher should have focused on:

Problem – Can’t find meats that are sustainably raised (for Paleo eating)
Solution – We only sell sustainably raised meats.

Problem – Don’t want to worry that the meats they buy aren’t healthy and “clean”
Solution – We only sell the highest quality meats.

You should focus on the problems that are most important to your ideal customer. If you can solve these, they will be satisfied, repeat customers.

The simplest way to market to your ideal customer

You know who you want to target, and what you want to say to them.

The last piece of the puzzle is how do you get your message in front of them.

While offline marketing channels can still be effective for certain businesses, most should focus on online channels.

Things like SEO, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and so on.

To start with, you should pick one channel and master it. You don’t need to use all of them.

In this case, the Pigheaded Butcher should have focused on Facebook Ads, for a few reasons:

  • Facebook has great location and demographic targeting to position their product in front of their best potential customer
  • They had a socially positive message that users will be happy to see (and could spread)
  • Their products display well in images and video, which are requirements for advertising effectively on Facebook

How to get REAL results from Facebook Ads

Many businesses using Facebook are getting it wrong.

You cannot randomly put up status updates and hope to make money. It hasn’t worked like that in years.

If you’re using Facebook for your business, you need to use ads. It’s a “pay to play” platform now.

What kind of ads do we actually put up now?

Images and videos that contain the marketing messages that we just figured out above. Focus on how we can provide a solution to problems that our ideal customer knows they have.

For example, we have:

  • “Clean” meat
  • Grass-fed or grass-finished beef
  • Pasture-raised chicken
  • And then you have images and videos of your meats, and even of your sources (local farms). Here’s an example of the type of image post that would have worked well (courtesy of Chesapeake’s Bounty). The description focuses on describing the quality of the beef (local, grass-fed, no added hormones).
    It’s not a perfect ad, but it incorporates the most important elements we’re looking for at this point.

    Make it worth someone’s time to give your business a try

    You have a huge advantage over most businesses on Facebook at this point (or any platform).

    Because everything you’ve done so far is for your “ideal customer”, you know that almost every customer you get from this is going to be a loyal and high (relatively) spending customer.

    Your advantage is that you can offer more upfront as a sort of “bait”, an incentive, to make your offers truly irresistible. You’ll still come out way ahead down the line because you’ve targeted the right people.

    The best incentives don’t cost you too much, but offer great value to your ideal customers.

    Getting the most return from your incentives

    In this particular case, an incentive could be a free pack of uncured bacon (or even just a good discount).

    Here’s a useful little trick to maximizing your return from this. Instead of just giving the bacon away, you collect their email address in exchange for it.

    That gives you a few huge benefits:

    • If the offer slips their mind, you have chances down the line to remind them of it (without paying for more ads)
    • You can contact them with other offers they might be interested in

    What sorts of other offers? Anything that they might find valuable, and would get them into your store. Because once they’ve been there the first time and have a great experience, of course they’ll come back with little prodding needed.

    Here’s a few potential offers that could be sent through email in this case:

    • Cooking classes – could be offered in the store occasionally
    • Pairing recommendations – how to pair meats with wines, vegetables, etc. You could offer special packages of pre-made pairings for customers
    • Specials – Any discounts you’re having
    • Loyalty program – Showcase a loyalty program that might get them excited to start shopping at the store
    • Package deal – Offer a variety of meats, delivered every month for $100-200. (Gives you the bonus of residual income as well.)

    There’s a lot of things you can offer once you have that initial email.

    So what if you’re not a butcher, or can’t use Facebook?

    That’s close to a complete strategy that would work well for the Pigheaded Butcher.

    If you were running the Pigheaded Butcher and I gave you that step-by-step plan, would you be able to execute it successfully? I bet you could.

    But your business is unique and may require a slightly or vastly different strategy.

    So how do you figure out all the little things:

    • Should you use Facebook or another platform?
    • Where do I get demographic data if I’m missing it?
    • What offers work best for my business?
    • How do I reduce my customer acquisition cost?

    I’m going to be completely frank with you here. Marketing is a skill, and it’s hard.

    So you basically have 3 different options here:

    1. Stumble through obstacles as you go – Completely valid way of learning. However, it takes a lot of time, and you’ll waste money testing strategies as well.
    2. Hire me (or someone like me) – If you operate anywhere near Maryland, I can do everything for you. Typically, we charge around $3500 per month (although you’ll make more than that).
    3. Use the Customer Acquisition Blueprint This is a hybrid of the first 2 options really. I’ve put over 200 hours and a decade of marketing experience into this training program that gives you step-by-step guidance. Yes, you still have to spend some time learning, but you get my experience for $38/month.

    For the time being, I’m also offering a free 15 minute phone consultation with me personally for anyone who signs up for the Customer Acquisition Blueprint.

    If your business is not generating the revenue you’d like (or need), then you need to do one of those 3 things. I don’t care which one, just pick the one that seems best for you.

    But you need to know that your business isn’t going to magically grow, you need to take action.