In the blog post “A B2B Marketing Playbook” we acknowledged how having more marketing options is actually very stressful for many small businesses. In face of this stress, our objective is for you to craft your very own modern marketing plan with a clear sense of direction for winning more B2B customer relationships.
Let’s get started on your modern online marketing plan.
There are six foundational plays to help you create your modern marketing plan. Through a series of blog posts, we’ll outline the fundamentals of each play and provide exercises that will add up to your own customized plan.
The six plays are:
1. Create a 140-character, one-of-a-kind business description.
2. Build compelling business profiles for business networks right for you.
3. Uncover your customers’ buying process.
4. Invest in a network of high-impact advocates.
5. Act and react.
6. Track results and maximize your ROI.
Play #1: Create a 140-character, one-of-a-kind business description.
The ability to market your business concisely is becoming a critical business skill. Any businessperson who loves their company can talk about its value at length; the real challenge is to distill your business’s true essence down to a minimum of words.
For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.
- Ernest Hemingway
Twitter created the standard 140-character length, which many social networks have copied. A well-constructed statement of this size is easy to read, easy to remember, and easy to share.
Exercise #1: Write and test your 140-character business descriptions.
1) Write several answers to each of these questions. Each answer must be no more than 140 characters (including spaces and punctuation):
- What does your business do?
- Who is your business perfect for?
- Why should I pick you instead of someone else?
2) Ask potential and existing customers to grade each description on four attributes:
- Relevance: Can you tell that my business is targeting you and your need?
- Clarity: Is my value proposition clear and strong?
- Uniqueness: Does my description make my business stand out from the competition?
- Credibility: Is my description believable?
3) Use the feedback to craft improved versions of your business description.
4) Make sure your final descriptions are one of a kind and pass the ACME Co. test (see below).
Does your 140-character description pass the ACME Co. test?
Your business description should be one of a kind. The ACME Co. test is designed to evaluate your uniqueness. If you have seen a Roadrunner vs. Wile E. Coyote cartoon, you’ll be familiar with ACME Co., a generic corporation that sells literally everything. ACME Co. is the exact opposite of being one of a kind.
Let’s put a real business to the test and evaluate some 140-character descriptions for information technology support company Remaincom.
In answer to the question “what does your business do?” here are three possible answers:
1) Remaincom is a computer service company for small businesses that can’t afford downtime and need to focus on their business.
2) Persistent, dedicated computer service when your small business needs it. No “geek speak.” Just Remaincom.
3) Does your small business worry about its computers? Inhale. A computer service company worthy of your trust? Exhale . . . and Remaincom.
To test the strength of these answers, substitute the name of the company with an actual competitor name and also with the name “ACME Co.” You’ll quickly see that a generic description like #1 reads just as easily with a different company name in place. This is not a good sign.
We see a little bit uniqueness when we compare ACME Co. with Remain.com in #2.
Now see what happens when we substitute the other names into answer #3, the most specific of the three descriptions:
- Does your small business worry about its computers? Inhale. A computer service company worthy of your trust? Exhale . . . and Remaincom.
- Does your small business worry about its computers? Inhale. A computer service company worthy of your trust? Exhale . . . with Tech & Associates.
- Does your small business worry about its computers? Inhale. A computer service company worthy of your trust? Exhale . . . with ACME Co.
It becomes abundantly clear that only one company’s name can fit in this one-of-a-kind description. This is the level of uniqueness you should strive for in your own business description. When you write a 140-character description that only your business can own, everyone will notice. (Including your competitors, but luckily they won’t be able to copy it!)
Does your business have a one-of-a-kind description? What’s the most memorable description you’ve come across?