A person walking on a fallen tree to represent a 10 Step Strategy to Market

Follow our 10 Step Strategy to Market your Rural Business

Marketing is much more than a logo and a leaflet and there are many definitions. As you will see from the image below marketing covers everything from your product (or service) right through to your processes and physical environment. Our 10 step strategy to market your rural business assumes that you are already working on most of these elements and are now focussing your time on how to promote your business.

So where do we start our 10 step strategy to market your rural business?

1. Know your why

We start by knowing your why. I’ve written about this before in I believe in supporting businesses. In his TED Talk Simon Sinek explained that most businesses know what they do, some know how they do what they do – most however don’t know why they do what they do. Simon stresses that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Before you read any more, watch the shortened version of Simon’s TED Talk, it will be 5 minutes of your time well spent.

2. Write down your values

The second step in our 10 step strategy is to write down your core values. Values are the beliefs, philosophies, and principles that drive you and therefore your business. Your values impact the relationship you develop with your employees and your customers. In their blog Company Values: Definition, Importance and Examples, Smarp explains that having a set of specific and unique core values can be a highly competitive advantage.

They ask us to think about it: if we manage to build a relationship with our customers based on the values we share, we’re most likely going to strengthen this relationship because it is built on common beliefs and principles. 

3. Look externally

Step 3 of our 10 step strategy is to look externally. Have you heard of a PESTLE analysis before? If not, don’t worry as you are more than likely doing one sub-consciously. PESTLE stands for:

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Socio-cultural
  • Technology
  • Legal
  • Environment

The framework helps you to focus on what’s happening externally. This will alert you to what might affect your business in the future and how you can best respond. We know that we are facing economic uncertainty, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported in April that we are facing the Worst Economic Downturn Since the Great Depression. Have you thought about how your business will respond? What other threats and opportunities are on the horizon?

4. Know your strengths (and weaknesses)

The fourth step in our 10 step strategy is to know how well you function as a business. I’m sure you’ve heard of a SWOT analysis before and more than likely been made to do one within a 10-minute time limit (which is impossible right?!). The idea is to begin to understand your business strengths and weaknesses so you can be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities looming (in that external environment) and minimise weaknesses to head off those treats. If you can, write them down.

5. Who are your ideal customers?

Unless you are Coca Cola you cannot sell your product or service to everyone – fact. I bet you’ve already got some idea of who your ideal customers are – if you’re anything like me it’s in my head and I really need to get them down on paper. You may have heard about customer or buyer personas? These are visual, semi-fictional representatives of your ideal customers based on data and research. Good buyer personas help you focus your marketing communications and thus saves you time.

Check out HubSpot’s How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business (which includes a free persona template).

We’re now halfway through our 10 step strategy to market your rural business – you still with me?!

6. Know the customer journey

I love the image above which visually represents the customer journey. It breaks down the stages your ideal customers may be at and therefore the different types of information they might need. Knowing your ideal customers and where they are on their customer journey is key to the next few steps of our 10 step strategy to market your rural business.

7. Set your SMART goal

Now we know our why, core values, what’s going on externally, our strengths and weaknesses, our ideal customer and customer journey we need to set a SMART goal. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achieveable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

So step 7 of our 10 step strategy is to write your SMART goal down and send it to someone to hold you to account. I suggest your goal should be within the next 6 months to really make you focus. If you are a member of Rural Business Network, send it to me jo@rbn.org.uk and I will check in with you in 3 months’ time to see how you are getting on.

8. Break it down

Now you’ve got your SMART goal, the next step in our 10 step strategy is to break your goal down into smaller chunks, to help you get from A to B. Many people call these objectives and like your goal, they should be SMART.

9. Decide on tactics

It’s only now, at step 9 of our 10 step strategy to market your rural business that you should decide what tactics to use to promote your business. Tactics can be anything from writing a letter (yes, old school is coming back!) to which social media platform you should prioritise. There’s no point spending time on twitter if your ideal customers are not there. Whatever you do though, aim to be consistent and make sure you drive your new and existing customers to your website.

10. Review – everything!

Review, review, review! How do you know if something is working or not working? Review your tactics regularly and if something is not working as you’d hoped, try something else. Review your objectives, your goal, your customer journey and your ideal customers – make it a habit as it’s the only way we can improve.

That’s the end of our 10 step strategy to market your rural business, I hope you’ve found it useful and a good starting point. I covered all of these steps in a recent event Marketing Basics and gave my own SMART goal, objectives and tactics that I’m currently working on. To be given access to the event recording join our community.

Our next online event Teesdale Cheesemakers – our story so far is on Thursday 2nd July at 7pm. Open to members and non-members, you will be inspired by the challenges members Allison and Jonathan Raper have overcome, the successes they have achieved (and how they celebrated), and find out about their plans for the future.

Reserve your place now.