The 4 stages of a complete marketing strategy - David Lee-Schneider Consulting

Marketing is a bit of a mystery for many small business owners. After all, most of us didn’t go into business to market and sell, but to do whatever we are great at and love doing. 

But when we break it down, marketing really isn’t such an overly complicated thing. There are very specific steps you can follow to implement a successful marketing strategy in your business and set yourself up for success. More specifically, there are four pieces to the marketing puzzle.

Customer Journey: Attract, Convert, Close, Delight

The big marketing mistake

Most business owners make the mistake to try and “close” people before they are ready to buy. You can see this reflected in most advertising. Whether that’s on TV, on the radio, in magazines or online ads, the message is pretty much always “buy our product now!”.

But before someone is ready to do business with you, we should consider a couple of other steps and implement a system that helps us to turn strangers into visitors, visitors into leads and leads into customers.

The 4 stages of a complete inbound marketing strategy (free download)

Inbound marketing strategy for small business - Small business marketing by David Lee-Schneider
Download 1-Page Marketing Cycle (PDF)

Let me explain each stage in a little more detail.

1. Attract

First of all, every business needs the ability to continuously attract new potential customers. No customer, no business. It’s pretty self-explanatory. We need to have visitors before we can have customers — whether that’s online or in-store.

Ways to increase traffic and get more visitors

  • Have a great website
  • Share valuable and relevant information on your blog
  • Search Engine Optimisation to attract organic traffic
  • Engaging Social Media Content (with the goal to drive people back to your website/blog)
  • Paid advertising (i.e. Facebook ads, Google ads, print ads, TV ads, Radio ads etc.
  • Joint Ventures (partnering with complimentary businesses to help each other grow)

2. Convert

Secondly, we need to be able to somehow “capture” these potential customers, so that we can reach out to them again to build a relationship with them. This is where we talk about leads. People who have given us permission to contact them, but haven’t bought from us yet.

Ways to convert visitors into leads

  • Offer a free download (i.e. e-book, checklist, cheat sheet, discount voucher, video etc.)
  • Use optimised landing pages to increase your conversion rate 
  • Split-test your free offer to identify the most effective one
  • Re-targeting ads to past visitors

3. Close

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, we need to be able turn these leads into actual customers. Because all the visitors and leads in the world won’t help if we can’t get them to buy our product or service. 

Ways to turn leads into customers

  • Use automated email sequences to nurture your leads and help them with their buying decision
  • Keep educating your leads to increase their understanding and awareness
  • Send out irresistible offers that will get people to take action
  • Use multiple channels to initiate a conversation with prospects
  • Re-targeting ads designed to move your leads closer to the purchase

Now, this is where most businesses stop. But there’s one more crucial step that makes your marketing strategy so much more effective.

4. Delight

Would your customers buy from you again? This is an important question that you should be able to confidently answer with a big fat “yes”. You want to wow your customers and aim to over-deliver, so that the great customer experience you deliver will be reflected in customer reviews, repeat business and word-of-mouth. 

Ways to turn customers into advocates

  • Deliver a great and consistent customer experience 
  • Aim to over-deliver and surprise your customers
  • Collect feedback to constantly improve your product or service
  • Invite those who gave great feedback to leave reviews on Google, Facebook or TripAdvisor
  • Showcase customer testimonials on your website and social media channels

This fourth step will close the cycle and, in turn, generate even more organic traffic, leads and customers, ultimately helping you to perpetually grow your business.

With these four elements in place, you will be able to take your business to new heights and maximise your return on every marketing activity in your business.

To your success,

12 replies
  1. Grace
    Grace says:

    I was wondering why I wasn’t really getting a lot of reviews on Facebook and other review sites. I am definitely going to start adding easy links for customers to review us so they are enticed to tell their opinions.

  2. Frederick
    Frederick says:

    In sending out “irresistible offers,” how do we not go out of business? I don’t want people to just take advantage of a sale I’m having to get loyal customers and then never come back.

  3. Lindsey R.
    Lindsey R. says:

    Automated emails sound like such a great idea to reel in the customers. What program do you suggest I use to get this started for my company?

  4. Whitney D.
    Whitney D. says:

    How does one re-target an ad to a past visitor? Does that mean that an old visitor will just see the same ad as when they last came to my website? I don’t see how that would be effective.

  5. Elizabeth W.
    Elizabeth W. says:

    After I started offering a great e-book download on my website I started getting so much more traffic! When you offer something for free people will flock to it even if it’s just a simple book. The potential customers are rolling in!

  6. Freida G.
    Freida G. says:

    I tried a joint venture a few months ago with another company in town near ours but it totally fell through. I guess maybe I didn’t go about it right or have the right paperwork but we ended up helping them out while they did nothing to help us. How do I avoid this next time?

  7. Hailey J.
    Hailey J. says:

    We have a great website that gets us a lot of traction but I feel like our social media presence would gain us a lot of new potential customers. Which social media would you suggest we start with?

  8. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    There really is a knack to getting real customers to purchase your product or service. I hate it when someone or some advertisement is trying to just shove their product down my throat. Most of the time I’d like some sort of explanation or better understanding of the product before actually buying.


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