By  , Digital Sales & Marketing Coach

What are the 3Ms? And how do I use them to grow my small business?

What are the 3Ms? And how do I use them to grow my small business?

You’ve spent months perfecting your product.

    You built a beautiful website, crafted clever social media posts, and maybe even splurged on some ads.

    You’ve put your heart, soul, and a big chunk of financial investment into this incredible small business.

    The launch day arrives, and…. nothing.

    Where’s the crowd?

    Where are the excited customers you dreamed of?

    It’s a feeling far too many of us know, and it’s beyond frustrating.

    But here’s the thing, it’s not about how hard you work, it’s about working strategically.

    That’s where the 3Ms come in.

    Think of the 3Ms Market, Message, and Media – as the ultimate power trio for your business.

    It’s like hitting a bullseye with a bow and arrow:

    1. Market: That’s your target. Who are the right people who desperately need what you offer?
    2. Message: That’s your arrow. How do you communicate your value in a way that sticks?
    3. Media: That’s your bow. Where do you find your target audience and deliver your message effectively?

    So many businesses get caught up in the excitement of media – they dive headfirst into social media, ads, or whatever seems like the latest hot trend.

    But without understanding your market and crafting a strong message, you’re essentially firing arrows blindfolded.

    It’s a recipe for wasted time, money, and a whole lot of disappointment.

    Let’s break down the 3Ms step-by-step and show you exactly how to use them to finally stop spinning your wheels and start seeing the growth your small business deserves.

    1. Market: Understanding Your Target Market

    Okay, let’s get real.

    You can’t hit a target you can’t see.

    That’s why knowing your ideal customer inside and out is the first – and often the most overlooked – step in this whole process.

    Customer obsession is where you want to be.

    It’s time to go from selling to everyone to focusing on the right people.

    There are more in depth ways to do this, but many don’t even get to this simple stage.

    Who Are Your Dream Customers?

    Let’s paint a picture of your ideal customer.

    Go beyond basic demographics like age or location.

    We need to get into their heads:

    • Interests and passions: What gets them excited? Do they obsess over fitness trends, devour cooking blogs, or love spoiling their pets?
    • Needs and challenges: What problems do they face? Is it finding healthy meals on a budget, struggling with tech, or needing stylish clothes for their body type?
    • Pain points: What keeps them up at night? These are gold mines – your product or service should be the solution to their deepest frustrations.

    Think of this like creating a buyer persona.

    Imagine your ideal customer as a real person.

    Give them a name, a job, and a backstory.

    The more specific, the better!

    And What’s Holding Them Back?

    Now let’s go into a bit more depth within the context of your products/services.

    Go beyond basic demographics like age or location – we need to understand their deepest motivations and the roadblocks they face.

    Think about:

    • Pain Points: What keeps them up at night in the context of the problem you’re solving? What are their biggest frustrations or struggles related to what you offer? Is it lack of time, budget constraints, feeling overwhelmed, or not finding solutions that perfectly fit their needs?
    • Obstacles: What prevents them from taking action? Are they afraid of making the wrong choice, have they had bad experiences in the past, or do they struggle with the technical aspects of implementing a solution?
    • Objections: Anticipate the reasons they might say “no.” Is it price, skepticism about results, or concerns about the commitment involved?
    • Situations: What life events or circumstances might make your product or service essential? Are they new parents, facing a career change, or dealing with specific challenges?

    Creating a Buyer Persona

    This isn’t just an exercise – it’s about unlocking sales gold.

    Imagine your dream customer as a real person. Give them a name, a job, and a backstory.

    Example: “Meet Sarah, a busy working mother who desperately wants to eat healthier but lacks time and cooking skills. She’s tried meal kits before but found them expensive and complicated. Her biggest pain point is feeling guilty about relying on takeout.”

    Why This Matters

    Knowing your customer’s pain points, obstacles, and objections allows you to:

    • Craft Messaging: Speak directly to their struggles and position your product or service as the perfect solution (“Finally, healthy meals without the hassle – delivered right to your door!”).
    • Overcome Objections: Address common concerns head-on in your marketing (Testimonials, free trials, money-back guarantees, etc.)
    • Choose Media Wisely: Target them where they’re already expressing their frustrations (busy mom forums, recipe blogs, etc.)

    The better you understand what holds your ideal customer back from purchasing, the easier it is to show them how you break down those barriers.

    Where Do They Hang Out?

    We’re still only at 1. Market (the first of the 3Ms) – getting clarity over your target market.

    Have a think about where your ideal customer hangs out, this will then help you when you get to 3. Media.

    Think both online and offline:

    • Social Media: Which platforms do they use? Are they scrolling through Instagram, joining Facebook groups, or networking on LinkedIn?
    • Industry hangouts: Are there specific websites, blogs, forums, or publications they turn to for information within your niche?
    • Local spots: Do they attend networking events, shop at certain stores, or participate in community organisations?

    How Do They Like Their Info?

    Does your ideal customer search for answers to their problems on Google?

    Do they devour long blog posts or prefer snappy TikToks?

    Are they podcast fans or do they get their news from X (formerly known as Twitter)?

    Matching your message to their preferred formats is crucial.

    Talk the Talk

    Every industry and customer group has its own lingo.

    Speaking their language builds instant trust and shows you truly get them.

    Pick up on the phrases they use, insider terms, and the style of communication that feels natural to them.

    Why It Matters

    Think of it this way, the better you understand your market, the more effective your messaging and your media choices will be.

    It’s like having a superpower – you’ll be able to speak directly to their needs, hit those emotional triggers, and stand out from the endless noise.

    Okay, you know WHO you want to reach.

    Now let’s talk about WHAT you want to say and how you’re going to make them stop scrolling, raise an eyebrow, and think, “Hey, this might actually be for me!”

    This is where your message comes in.

    2. Message: Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

    What makes you special?

    Why should a customer pick you over the sea of other options out there?

    Your UVP is your answer.

    It’s that one thing that sets you apart.

    Think about:

    • Your strengths: Are you the fastest? The most affordable? The only one who offers a certain customisation or guarantee?
    • Solving a unique problem: Do you have a solution no one else offers? Do you target an underserved niche?
    • Your special sauce: Maybe it’s your brand personality – quirky, luxurious, or super-friendly. Own what makes you different!

    It’s All About Benefits

    Nobody cares about the thread count of your sheets if they just want a good night’s sleep.

    Don’t get bogged down listing features – focus on the benefits your customers crave.

    • Translate features into solutions: Instead of “noise-cancelling headphones,” say “enjoy blissful silence, even on a noisy commute.”
    • Hit their pain points: Do your products or services offer stress relief, time-saving solutions, boosted confidence? Highlight those!

    Keep it Punchy & Memorable

    Our attention spans are shorter than a goldfish’s these days. Make your message clear, concise, and punchy enough to cut through the chaos:

    • Ditch the jargon: Speak like a human, not a textbook.
    • Evoke emotion: Can you make them laugh, feel inspired, or get a pang of FOMO (fear of missing out)?
    • Make it stick: A catchy tagline or simple phrase can do wonders.

    The Power of Storytelling

    We humans are wired for stories.

    Instead of just stating your benefits, weave them into examples that paint a picture:

    • Customer testimonials: How has your product or service transformed someone’s life?
    • Your own story: What inspired you to start your business? Share your passion!
    • Case studies: Show the real results you’ve achieved for others.

    Don’t Forget the Call to Action (CTA)!

    You’ve hooked them with your amazing message.

    Now what?

    Tell them exactly what you want them to do! Here are some common CTAs:

    • “Visit our website”
    • “Download our free guide”
    • “Book a consultation”
    • “Sign up for our email list”
    • “Shop now”

    Make it clear, easy to spot, and instil an authentic sense of urgency (“Limited time offer,” “Get it before it’s gone,” etc. – be authentic, not misleading).

    3. Media: Choosing the Right Media

    Alright, you know your market and you have a killer message crafted.

    Now it’s time to decide how you’re going to get that message in front of the right eyeballs.

    This is where your media choices come into play – think of them as the delivery methods for your amazing message.

    Match the Media to Your Market

    Remember all that research you did about your ideal customer? Let’s put it to use.

    If you know they love scrolling Instagram, there’s no use pouring all your resources into a beautifully written newsletter nobody will read.

    • Go where they go: Focus your efforts on the social media platforms, websites, or even physical locations where your ideal customers spend their time.
    • Don’t be everywhere: It’s better to be amazing on a few channels than mediocre across a dozen.

    Paid vs. Organic: What’s Your Budget?

    It’s the age-old question: to pay or not to pay?

    Here’s a quick breakdown:

    • Organic Reach: This is the audience you build through creating amazing content and engaging with your followers. It takes time and effort, but the payoff can be huge. Obviously it still requires a time/money investment.
    • Paid Advertising: Think social media ads, Google Ads, sponsored content, etc. It can be a great way to get your message in front of a larger, targeted audience quickly, but it costs money.

    Often a mix of both strategies is the way to go, especially for small businesses.

    Start with organic efforts and consider supplementing them with paid advertising as your budget allows.

    Content is Your Crown Jewel

    No matter which media channels you choose, high-quality content is the backbone of your success, especially with a proven framework like the one we use with our coaching clients – it’s called They Ask, You Answer.

    What does high-quality content mean?

    • Valuable: Educate, inform or solve a problem. Don’t just push sales pitches.
    • Engaging: Can you make them laugh, think, be excited or feel inspired?
    • Varied: Learning Centre/Knowledge Centre, Blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts… find formats that suit your strengths and your audience’s preferences.

    A bit about “Social Media Superpowers

    Social media isn’t just about posting random updates. It’s a powerful tool for:

    • Building a community: Engage with followers, answer questions, show your brand’s personality.
    • Sharing your content: Drive traffic to your website, offers, or lead magnets.
    • Social listening: Find out what your potential customers are saying and how you can serve them better.

    Beyond the Usual Suspects

    Don’t limit yourself to what everyone else is doing.

    Think outside the box:

    • Public Relations: Can you get featured in an article or on a local news segment?
    • Influencer marketing: Partner with people who have a built-in audience in your niche.
    • Email marketing: Nurture leads and build loyalty with targeted email campaigns.

    The key is to choose the media channels that align with your market, your message, and your unique strengths as a small business.

    Putting it All Together – The 3M Magic

    So, let’s recap.

    The 3Ms (Market, Message, and Media) work best as a team.

    Think of them as the ultimate power trio for your business growth:

    • You meticulously understand your ideal customer (Market). You know their struggles, their dreams, and where to find them.
    • You’ve crafted a message that resonates, solves their problems, and stands out from the crowd (Message).
    • You’ve selected the perfect channels to deliver that incredible message, whether that’s through social media, your website, advertising, or a mix of it all (Media).

    It’s worth repeating.

    The Archery Analogy

    Remember how we visualised it:

    Imagine you’re an archer.

    • Your Market is the target. Knowing who you’re aiming for is essential.
    • Your Message is the arrow. It needs to be sharp, well-crafted, and designed to hit its mark.
    • Your Media is the bow. You need the right tools and techniques to launch your arrow with power and accuracy.

    Shooting blindly in the dark leads to wasted arrows.

    But when you align your market, message, and media strategically?

    That’s when you hit the bullseye!

    It’s an Ongoing Journey

    The beauty of the 3Ms is that it’s not a one-and-done situation.

    As your business evolves, so will your understanding of your market, the messages that resonate best, and the most effective media channels.

    Here’s how to make it work:

    • Track your results: Which content performs best? Which ads get the most clicks? Don’t be afraid to analyse the numbers.
    • Refine & adjust: Use your data to improve your strategy. Maybe you need to try a new platform or tweak your messaging based on feedback.
    • Be adaptable: Markets change, trends shift, so stay agile! The best businesses are always learning and evolving.

    Think of the 3Ms as a compass for your marketing efforts.

    It keeps you focused, eliminates guesswork, and gives you a clear pathway towards growth instead of random shots that likely miss the mark.

    Your 3M Success Story Awaits

    Think back to those early days of your business – the excitement, the uncertainty, and maybe that nagging feeling that you might be shouting into the void.

    Mastering the 3Ms changes everything.

    Instead of spinning your wheels and wasting precious resources, you now have a powerful framework to guide your decisions.

    Here’s what happens when you embrace the power of Market, Message, and Media:

    • You reach the right people: No more tumbleweed! You’re speaking directly to the people who desperately need what you offer.
    • Your message resonates: You’ve cut through the noise and left an impression that makes people sit up and take notice.
    • Your efforts see results: You’re choosing the marketing channels (media) that yield the biggest returns, whether that’s loyal customers, a surge in sales, or a booming email list.

    Take That First Step

    The 3M journey begins with a single step.

    Why not make today the day?

    Here’s how to jumpstart your progress:

    • Get expert help: If you feel overwhelmed, book a consultation. We can help you craft your own personalised 3M plan for unstoppable growth.
    • Start small, act now Choose one area from today’s blog post to focus on. This means start with the first M – Market.
    • If you’re stuck, use AI chatbots like the latest ChatGPT or Google’s Gemini Advanced – ask them questions to get a better understanding of your target market, messaging and media. There are free versions of the above chatbots, but you’ll get the best answers from their paid versions.

    Believe in the Possibilities!

    Let me leave you with this.

    Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities.

    Your passion, hard work, and unique offerings are what make the world a better place.

    Let the 3Ms be your superpower.

    People deserve to hear about your products/services, so make it happen.

    With clarity and strategic action, you can unlock the growth and success you’ve been dreaming of.

    I’m rooting for you every step of the way.

    My name’s Mark Reynolds, the owner at ProfitReach. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with marketing, maybe you’re not sure what you should be doing to get more customers, well please don’t worry. I’m here to give you the guidance to generate a more consistent and predictable flow of customers in 2024. I’ve been helping ambitious individual UK entrepreneurs/small business owners get more customers since 2002, so maybe I could help you too? Learn more here.

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