Most small businesses do not have the resources to launch a large national marketing and advertising campaign. However, you can grow your business in stages to ultimately reach a large national or international market. I think of it as “concentric marketing.”
When you picture concentric circles, you envision a small circle surrounded by a series of increasingly-larger circles. Imagine your marketing starting in the smallest circle, then expanding to larger and larger audiences, growing your business in manageable steps.
One way to expand is in geographic markets. Your first marketing might be focused on your part of town. Join the local chamber of commerce, participate in networking groups, advertise or get publicity in the community’s weekly newspaper, place fliers on doors in local neighborhoods, sponsor a local sport team, and engage in other activities that will make you prominent in your small, local area. As you experience success, you can target broader areas, going from your neighborhood to the entire city, the county, then your state, a region, and national or even international audiences.
In addition to (or instead of) growing your market geographically, you might think of how your business will expand from one type of customers to another. For example, you might begin by concentrating your efforts in one industry, then add others as your business grows. A cleaning or landscaping business might move from residential only to also handling commercial accounts.
Would your product or service be useful to a new group of people? Identify the benefits specific to these new customers, and tailor a marketing campaign to them. For example, are there benefits of special interest to seniors? Start touting those benefits when communicating with seniors through your direct mail campaign, in speeches to seniors’ organizations, or in articles and advertising in seniors’ publications.
Expand your business without reaching new customers by adding related products or services of interest to the market you already serve. For example, a computer store could begin offering repair service, consulting or training in addition to selling hardware and software.
To offer additional services to your clients, add staff or establish relationships with other professionals. Beauty salons may add services of manicurists, aestheticians and massage therapists. This means that current customers may purchase more services, and the new services may bring more customers in to the salon. Many of these new customers, who may have come in for a manicure, will also become clients of the hair stylists or may want to try a new service, such as getting a facial or massage.
Concentric marketing allows you to start small and use the revenues you generate to fund the next phase of growth. By taking small steps, any mistakes you make will be on a small scale so they will be learning experiences, not disasters. You will be able to test advertising to see which ads work best without breaking the bank. And, getting publicity in small local markets will prepare you when you are ready for the “big time.”