How to Be a Successful Small Business Marketer

Larry Alton

As a small business owner or manager, one of the many responsibilities you take on is marketing the business. Some people take to marketing easily, while others struggle to get the job done. But what does it take to be a successful marketer?

Some professions require a certain level of innate intelligence. For example, it’s pretty difficult to be an astrophysicist without some inherent abilities. Sure, you can learn a lot from textbooks and classes, but something hardwired deep in your brain lets you understand these concepts.

[Related: 10 Inexpensive Ways to Advertise Your Small Business]

Then there are other professions where success is less about the talents and abilities you’re born with and more about the way you tackle problems and dedicate yourself to hard work. As industry-leading online market Neil Patel writes in his blog post, “How to Be a Successful Marketer if You’re not Super Smart:”

“I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m not that smart, and yet I’m a pretty good online marketer. I am actually probably one of the better ones out there. So, how’s that possible? Well, you don’t have to be smart to be the best marketer. Instead, you need to be creative, execute well, and continue to learn from others.”

Successful marketers have varying personalities and strategies. However, if you study successful marketers and look at their approaches, you’ll notice that many possess similar characteristics. Let’s take a look at five of them.

marketing tips for small business

5 Qualities of Successful Marketers

The key to becoming a successful marketer, Patel explains, doesn’t depend on your IQ, your SAT score, or even whether or not you graduated with honors. Success roots itself in your ability to identify specific qualities and make them habitual processes in your life.

We look at six of the most common qualities that successful marketers share, and we show how you can integrate them into your life.

1. Consistent Morning Routines

If you talk to successful marketers, they’ll tell you that they start their day with a consistent and strategic morning routine. While you probably won’t find identical morning routines for any two marketers, everyone has their own approach that fits their lifestyle and needs. The point is that it’s meaningful and habitual.

For example some people consider morning to be the perfect time for exercise. This is certainly true for Michelle Gass, chief customer officer at Kohl’s. In an article called The Secret to Being a Power Woman: Wake Up Early, she said, “When I’m at my best, it’s because I’m taking care of myself. Morning runs clear my mind.”

Other people prefer cooking and eating a healthy breakfast, reading, watching the news, catching up on emails from home, walking the dog, or even meditating. There’s really no right or wrong answer. Just make sure you have some sort of structure for the beginning of your day.

2. Trust What Works

Marketing’s ever-changing nature comes with both positive and negative effects. On the positive side, you will always have new opportunities to advance. On the negative side, it’s fairly easy to get caught up in a wave of new trends and fail.

Tim Sykes, successful penny stock investor and personal brand builder, feels strongly about this reality. “Ever heard the phrase ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’? If you’ve found a pattern that consistently makes money, stick with it,” he advises readers on his site, “Try to refine it so that you can keep on doing it—but in less time and with greater efficiency.”

In other words, trust what works and don’t go chasing fleeting marketing strategies and techniques that have little upside. There’s something to be said for consistency and stability.

[Related: How to Brand Your Small Business Ecommerce Site]

3. Open to Change

With the previous quality in mind, it’s also important that you possess a willingness to change. Don’t stick with your current approach just for the sake of being consistent. The greatest marketers are the ones who can spot new developments or opportunities and then adapt their strategy. In other words, balancing the ability to change with the ability to trust what already works leads to success.

4. Proclivity for Learning

The most successful marketers in the world have an insatiable appetite for learning. They’re never satisfied with what they know, and they want to continuously immerse themselves in new ideas, concepts, and strategies.

“These days, you’ve got to be in a constant state of new learning,” Mark Organ, founder and CEO of Influitive, a leading marketing software company said in a podcast called, Never Stop Learning: Mark Organ on Marketing Smarts. By way of example, he went on to say:

“I take a least a dozen courses a year even now, as CEO, as busy as I am, to keep on top of new trends in design, and new trends in data management, to understand what’s happening there. Courses in leadership. Public speaking. It’s the only way that I can keep myself sharp.”

Learning doesn’t taking only formal courses, though. Learning happens as a result of surrounding yourself with the right people. Pick the brains of smart people around you and always ask questions. You’ll learn a lot more from your peers by asking questions than you will from reading case studies.

5. Structured Goals

Goals are very important, but you need some sort of structure for the goals you set. In order to be a successful marketer, you must learn to identify and balance both your short-term and your long-term goals. A healthy mix of both lets you continue improving without losing sight of what matters in the present.

5. Build Outside Relationships

If you ever meet a marketer who hangs out and communicates only with other marketing professionals, then you’re looking at someone with extremely limited growth potential. The reason is that it takes a variety of influences to be successful.

The worst thing a small business marketer can do is build a silo. Cross-departmental interaction is healthy and useful. It provides insight to what’s happening at different points of the consumer-brand relationship, and lets you form a better understanding of the process. This ultimately reflects well on your ability to reach customers.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter.

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