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Episode 103: The Best Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses: The Flywheel Marketing Method
August 1, 2023
coworkers talking and looking at a computer screen discussing a lead generation website
Why Every Small Business Should Use a Flywheel Marketing Strategy: Lead Generation Website
August 2, 2023

August 1, 2023

Why Every Small Business Should Use a Flywheel Marketing Strategy: Messaging Framework

As a small business leader, you’re pulled in what seems like a thousand directions—and  are ultimately responsible for everything.

If your organization doesn’t operate from an effective marketing plan, it can make things even more chaotic—leading to busy work, not knowing what to do, inconsistent branding, errors, and trying one tactic after another without seeing the results you want.

In our last blog, we started exploring why every small business should use the flywheel marketing strategy to bring clarity, structure, and growth to your organization. If you missed it, you can read it here. Let’s continue working through this marketing strategy for small businesses and review messaging framework—which is the first step in the system.


The four phases of the flywheel marketing strategy.

As a recap, the flywheel marketing method is a marketing strategy where your website and online marketing efforts are in sync and function as a flywheel to continually produce results—even when you’re pulled in 15 different directions.

And, as we learned in “Why Every Small Business Should Use a Flywheel Marketing Strategy,” setting up flywheel marketing does take some upfront work, but once it’s in place, your marketing will more or less continue to work on its own—just requiring minimal maintenance.

The four-step flywheel marketing system includes:

  1. Understanding your audience and creating clear messaging
  2. Building a strong foundation with a strategically-built, SEO-optimized website
  3. Creating content and a sales funnel that serves your ideal client well
  4. Promoting your services and content

Let’s break down the first step in this marketing strategy—the messaging framework.


people in a conference room discussing messaging framework


The first step in the messaging framework is to define your audience.

It’s important to make your ideal customers the hero of your marketing story—and not your business. When it comes to identifying and reaching them, it’s about telling a great story.

The reason you want to use story elements as the foundation of your messaging framework is because a great story has the power to:

  • Attract the right people
  • Engage and hold their attention
  • Give them a way to solve a problem

As a small business, you have to fight to overcome the natural instinct to put your services or accomplishments in the forefront of your marketing messages. This is because it makes you the hero of the story—and not a guide.

Your ideal customer must become the hero of your story, and you must become the guide—as it’s a more powerful position because you’re the one who is helping the hero do the thing he/she needs to do in order to save the day.

When you start showcasing stats and talking about how great your products are, how well your services run, and so on—you only show authority and not empathy. But empathy or emotional validation is what a great guide always gives first—followed by authority or the facts.

This is an important aspect to any messaging framework because people make buying decisions first based on emotion and then back them up with facts.


woman smiling working on computer happy with the results from her messaging framework


A six-step process to define your audience.

Below, we’ve outlined six steps that will help you identify your ideal customers.

  1. Learn who they are.
    What is their age, income, or gender? Work to understand what they value, what their opinions are, and what they’re interested in. You’ll also need to determine where they live—or determine if that even matters. And finally, find out how they like to be communicated with. Are they on social media? Do they prefer email? How about asking questions via a chat?

  2. Determine what they want to accomplish.
    Do your ideal customers want to make a difference? Do they want to save money? Save time? Have the best manicured lawn in the neighborhood? What is the thing they really want help finding or achieving?

  3. Identify what problems they’re facing.
    Most people put stumbling blocks in their own path when it comes to solving a problem or getting involved. For some, it’s a lack of time, lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, fear of spending too much money, or fear of having to break a societal stigma. You need to figure out what is the most pressing issue your ideal customers have so you can help them solve it.

  4. Understand how these problems make them feel.
    When you know how their problems make them feel, you get the opportunity to help them overcome their challenges. This is you being the guide. Figure out how their problem makes them feel so you can provide guidance out of their emotional turmoil.

  5. Create a clear solution for their problem.
    How can your organization help them make their lives better or help them help someone else, so they can feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves? Just like in your favorite book or movie—the guide didn’t just pat the hero on his back, raise his confidence, and tell him it was going to be ok. The guide also told the hero what he needed to do in order to save the day. You need to do the same with your audience.

  6. Define what will happen when they follow your advice.
    If someone chooses to buy from you or work with you, what will they get in return or how will they help? Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” by reminding them what success will look like if they follow your advice.


letters on a yellow background that spell out the phrase words have power


The second step in the messaging framework is to develop clear messaging.

Clear messaging—which is communication that your ideal customers can understand quickly and easily—is the key to successful marketing and communication. It is vital because people don’t always support the “best” organizations, they support the ones they can understand the easiest.

It will be important to use a story-based framework to develop clear messaging. This is because your ideal customers will be 22 times more likely to remember your organization, and story is the most effective form of communication and marketing.

By doing so, you’ll ensure our marketing and communication is audience-focused and has the power to engage and convert more donors and supporters than ever before.

Use the seven elements of story to establish your brand as a trusted guide, clarify your messaging, and craft your Marketing Guiding Statements including:

  • Eight Talking Points
    These points flush out the main idea, identify problems, set the company up as a guide, and more.

  • A One Liner
    A single statement you can use to help people realize why they need your product or service. Think of it like a 30-second elevator speech.

  • Your Story Pitch
    This creates a story-line that engages potential customers and tells them how you can help them.

  • Your Why
    It explains the reasons why you do what you do.

  • A Sales Script
    Having this statement will help you sell better than anyone else—without sounding like you’re selling anything at all.

Your Marketing Guiding Statements should become the GPS of your marketing efforts. Read, “How to Clarify Your Message Before Implementing Marketing Strategy” to review why clarifying your messaging framework must be done before implementing a marketing strategy. For step-by-step instructions on how to create your own marketing guiding statements, explore our free mini course by clicking here.


By utilizing this strategic messaging framework, you can effectively reach and engage your ideal customers. In the next blog, we will unpack how to build a lead generation website and foundational SEO tactics. This second step of the flywheel marketing strategy will bring clarity, structure, and growth to your organization.

By implementing this four-step marketing strategy, you'll stop spending time and money on marketing tactics that aren't producing results and finally see the growth you've been working so hard to achieve.


Learn the EXACT marketing strategy we use to help small businesses grow: The Flywheel Marketing Method.


See the growth you’ve been working so hard to achieve with our proven, four-step flywheel marketing strategy.

Treefrog Marketing is a marketing agency for small businesses located in Lafayette, Indiana that builds marketing systems that bring clarity, structure, and growth. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, digital marketing, 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.

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