Victoria Rayburn and Courtney Cannon discuss how to foster community in your industry as a creative entrepreneur
Episode 046: How to Foster Community in Your Industry as a Creative Entrepreneur with Courtney Cannon
February 23, 2022
Shaun Austin Gordon of KISS Books
Episode 047: How to Increase Profits Through Upselling (AKA How to Sell a Wedding Album to Every Single Client) with Shaun Austin Gordon of KISS Books
March 1, 2022

March 1, 2022

Build Effective Small Business Marketing Systems

A lot of small businesses are spending time on marketing, but they aren’t getting the results they want.

Many business leaders spend a great amount of time putting out fires, developing and retaining staff, completing administrative duties, and meeting customers’ needs. Doing all of this doesn't leave much time for growing a business.

Lack of time combined with the fact that they tend to overstimulate and confuse their prospects with wordy messaging and industry terms — and they don't even realize it— leads to spending too much time and money on marketing initiatives that don't really work.

There are three things that you can do that will make a big impact on the growth of your company.

Since 2000, we’ve helped hundreds of small businesses build effective marketing systems. These three tactics will help you save time, filter bad advice, control your overall growth, and increase quality engagement. In our ebook, “Three Steps to Effective Marketing,” we walk through each of these in detail. But today, we’ll review the basics to get you started.

They include:

  • Stop talking about yourself
  • Get the brain’s attention
  • Build a solid plan of action

#1 - Stop talking about all of the great things that you can do.

The first thing you can do to impact growth is to shift your messaging away from initially talking about how amazing your services or products are—because this no longer works.

Our natural instinct when creating marketing messages is to talk about our services and accomplishments.

We call this what-I-can-do-for-you marketing or authoritative messaging. The problem is that people make buying decisions first based on emotion, then back them up with facts. So, leading with facts about how great you are isn’t the best choice for getting your message across to prospective customers—it feels like a sales call. 

In fact, it creates an immediate disconnect because it’s too much too soon—kind of like that friend you can’t stop from “oversharing” his/her life details. After about the first two minutes of a conversation, your brain is overwhelmed and you just want to be done with the conversation. 

Unfortunately, this is the same thing we do to our prospective customers when we start talking about all of the things we can do for them. And like us, their brains just want to get out of the conversation.

There is a better way to communicate how great you are, but first, you have to understand what your customers really want so you can talk to them and not at them.


#2 Quit telling prospective customers what you want them to know.

When you start talking about your company, it feels like a sales pitch and no one wants to feel like they are being sold to. However, giving customers the information they’re looking for first drives them to want to do business with you.

In order to accomplish this, you need to clarify your messaging by using a little bit of science. 

The human brain is wired to NOT pay attention to the things it doesn’t deem important. 

When the brain gets overwhelmed, things become “not important” very quickly and it just wants to move on. But if your messaging is clear and helpful, the brain will pay attention. 

We already know that people make buying decisions based on emotion and then back them up with facts. This is why people don’t always buy the best products and services; they buy the ones they can understand the easiest.

Your goal is to make it simple for people to want to do business with you. Here are a few ways you can clarify your messaging that will help the human brain pay attention. (You can find specific examples and formulas in our free ebook.)

  • Start by giving them something to relate to or give their brain an opportunity to say, “Yeah, me too!”
  • Follow this by giving them a solution to their problem or challenge. This is where your products or services come into play.


Most small businesses are spending time on marketing, but are not getting the results they want. Our proven science-based methods build marketing systems that are duplicable, save time, filter bad advice, control your overall growth, and increase quality engagement.

By structuring your opening messaging this way, you lead with empathy and follow with authority. This will help your prospects’ brains easily determine if they want to pay attention to your brand or not. The reason that this is so powerful is that it generates more qualified leads. 

Imagine spending less time talking people into using your services and more helping them find the perfect solution within your offerings.


#3 Build a solid foundation that encourages growth.

There are four steps to building an effective plan of action. These areas are most impactful for increasing brand awareness and growth and include:

  • Audience
  • Website
  • Content
  • Promotion

When you combine all four of these foundational elements, they function as a flywheel, continually moving, impacting, and producing results.


The first thing you can do to impact your growth is to shift your messaging away from initially talking about how amazing your organization is and focus on what your customers want to hear, which we covered in points one and two.

Based on the protocols outlined in our ebook, you’ll need to create customer-first messaging that follows a specific scientific formula to get your prospects to pay attention.


Your website has less than eight seconds to grab someone's attention and can determine the success of all your marketing efforts. 

Over the past 20 years, we’ve learned that most websites fail to convert prospects into customers because users can’t quickly find what they need, the site's messaging is too complicated, and it doesn’t tell them what to do next. You’ll need to use your audience strategy to create a lead-generating website that moves your prospects to do the thing you want them to do. 

Your website should include:

  • Header Section:
    Explain who you are, what you do, how you can help people, and what they need to do next.
  • Body Sections:
    The body of your home page should connect with people emotionally, tell them what they should expect, show them how you can help them, and allow others to tell them how great you are through testimonials.
  • Closing Section:
    And finally, you must move them into action. Tell them what to do to move to the next step of the process.

Remember, your goal is to make connecting with your company and resources as easy as possible. You don’t want their brains to have to do a ton of work to determine if it should pay attention or not.


​​Content marketing is based on the understanding that people want to interact with the information they want — not what you want them to know. And they want to do it on their own time. 

The goal is to attract customers by creating and promoting content that is relevant and helpful, not interruptive. Content such as blogs, videos, and downloads should pique curiosity or guide your prospects further down the decision-making journey.


The final element in flywheel marketing is promotion, which is where most organizations fall short. Simply uploading content to your website or posting something to your social channels won’t drive new interest.

Your goal is to get your lead-generating content in front of your best prospects — with little to no effort on their part. This is why we use tactics such as social media, Google ads, and strategic emails to attract and lead prospects to your website and resources.


Here is your takeaway.

In order to generate growth, you need to develop your audience identification strategy that clarifies your messaging and then create a lead-generating website. Next, you’ll use social media and other promotional tools to drive people to the strategic content on your website—which is developed to lead people to do the thing you want them to do.

By implementing our science-based protocols found in our ebook, you’ll be able to evaluate what your audience wants and is responding to. This saves time, filters bad advice, controls your overall growth, and increases quality engagement. Or, if you’d like help creating a marketing system that continually produces results, you can find solutions for small business digital marketing here.

Our proven marketing protocol helps companies make more money, free up time, and plan an effective strategy.


Treefrog Marketing is an agency focused on small business and located in Lafayette, Indiana. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

Is outsourcing key leadership positions something new?

What do fractional CMOs do?

Who needs a fractional CMO?

What are the benefits of hiring a fractional CMO?

When should you partner with a fractional CMO?

Are there limitations to a fractional CMO?

How do I find a qualified fractional CMO?

How much does it cost to partner with a fractional CMO?