If you’ve got the time and resolve to read marketing textbooks, I recommend Philip Kotler’s “Kotler on Marketing” with its interesting sub-heading “How to Create, Win and Dominate Markets”. As you would expect from an academic, the book is full of data and most of its case studies are from large corporations, but within all this are hidden gems that are just as useful to the small business.
In the appendix there are success strategies for different types of business and what their marketing should offer to achieve results. I have taken just one business sector, Industrial Services, as I think the marketing advice would readily apply to the range of internet and associated services that many businesses are trying to sell today.
The success strategy has three points that the business will need to offer in order to win a client’s work:
(1) Service reliability and accuracy designed to exceed customers expectations
(2) Price and time should be less than if the customer did the work themselves
(3) A flexible service available 24/7
I’m sure that many businesses would say that they offer this already, but it’s a good baseline for a marketing strategy.