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A Simple Marketing Engine for Small Businesses

I was picking up a higher-end household product after previously dropping it off for some routine maintenance. The owner of this business carries a top-of-the-line product that every home and brick and mortar business needs. And, when it comes to maintenance and repair, he’s second to none. While in the retail shop, I learned the business owner and his family were going on vacation. This was going to be his first time away from work with his family in over two years.

We struck up a conversation regarding his business and how difficult it is for him to ‘get away’. I understood his situation. He literally IS the business and has no employees. When he ‘takes off’, his business is shut down for however many days or weeks he’s away…generating no revenue. That’s revenue to pay his utilities and his monthly lease which is substantial for his 900 square foot or so retail/repair space.

He lamented that he is the third owner of this business and that it has been in the same West County location for 60 years. Thus, he felt moving to a new, less expensive leased location in the same suburb of St. Louis was not realistic. And he stated he could not move out of that municipality because so many of his customers live there or in close proximity. He continued, “With the overhead, my family and I are just making it. I am finally seeing some 2nd generation customers frequenting the shop for sales and service. I have never marketed my business other than Yelp. I don’t even have my business listed on my plaza’s road sign. I don’t have the money for marketing.”

I wished him a fun and safe vacation with his family and left, but I couldn’t help thinking about both his family and his business.

Upon returning to my work desk, I checked Yelp. The reviews are 5-star, but there had not been any new reviews for over 3 years. I posted a positive review:

High-end ________, phenomenal knowledge and service. _________ sales and services _______ made in Missouri, not far from St. Louis. With current supply chain issues, I like that my product warehouse is close to _________and my home...not that my _________needs much other than routine maintenance over the years...but, better safe than sorry. I wouldn't patronize any other ________store...period. And I don't even live close to ________.

This business owner has no business presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or LinkedIn. There’s no business website. He’s not marketing to households, all of which need his product. He’s not marketing to ancillary groups/businesses that NEED his product. As I said, EVERYONE…every business and household…uses this product, and, in my opinion, his products are some of the best.

“ I can’t afford marketing.” Really! A Facebook page and a simple 4-page website…then ONE DAY filming video: 80% household/product education videos and 20% call-to-action videos and that would be a FANTASTIC first step to marketing his business/service. Now, ask for testimonials or, better yet, video testimonials about his product/service. After a bit of editing…that would provide 3-6 months of shareable video marketing content and he’d begin setting himself up as a reliable ‘go-to’ expert…which he already IS!

Is there a time investment involved to post? Yes. Is it much time? No, especially if you have your posts planned out and systematized beforehand. Lastly, is it worth the rather insignificant cost of one day of filming by an expert who knows THEIR business and $500 in professional editing? Yes.

This is the way to create a simple marketing engine that WORKS. If this guy's product and service is good enough for me to drive 20+ miles round trip…how many other people would do the same once they LEARNED about his skills and professional business acumen?

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