So you started your business and now you need to let people know you exist, and that your product or service is the best. How do you do that? The answer is simple: Marketing!
Marketing is such a broad word, with so much meaning and buzz, that it can make anyone feel overwhelmed. We’ve put together a quick and simple ‘marketing basics’ guide to help you get started.
Developing a marketing mindset
The first thing you should do is think about your business’ Vision and Mission. Once you’ve created them, to develop your marketing mindset you need to transform them into a value proposition. Your value proposition consists of those important reasons that will make people come to you and not your competitor.
If your mission is ‘to be the go-to shop for dog tags’ for example, you need to develop a value proposition that highlights why you are the best shop to buy dog tags. Consider why your tags are better. Is it the quality, is it the customisation possibilities or is that you have the coolest designs?
Laying the foundation
After you figure out why your product or service is the best option you need to start laying down some fundamental information about your business. Who are your ideal clients (target audience)?
In this step it is important that you really segment your audience; find one person that is the perfect representation of who you think needs your product/service and describe them perfectly. Think about their demographics (gender, age, social status, profession, income level, etc), extrapolate on all aspects of their life: Where do they go shopping? Do they use mobile devices or not? What are their hobbies? What are their likes and dislikes? Are they part of clubs? Groups?
The more questions you ask, the more you will refine your so-called buying persona. When you know exactly who you want to sell to, you can build a much more efficient strategy to reach them.
The right channels
Alright, now that you know your value proposition and target audience, it is time to find the best places to reach these people and sell your product.
Let’s face it; there are so many marketing channels to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start and how to narrow down the list. Between email, print, online ads and social media just to name a handful, your options are nearly infinite.
Marketing channels are how you distribute your message, and your goal, especially in small business marketing. Therefore, your first step is to identify which marketing channels should belong on your list and which ones you just cannot accommodate. So, to decide which channels are worth your time start by asking yourself these questions: What do you want your marketing effort to accomplish? And where does your target market turn to for information?
So, following the example of selling dog tags. Let’s say the majority of your target market consists of dog owners between 20-45 years who are passionate about dogs. They will most likely love to share pictures and videos of their four-legged kids. In this instance, you might want to invest in Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest as marketing channels.
But if you are a consultancy service provider and your clients are young professionals passionate about career advancement, you might want to consider using LinkedIn and email marketing.
The goal here is to choose the channels that will reach your audience most efficiently.
Refining your strategy
Every person has their way of making decisions and engaging with brands. That is why it’s so important to understand how your product or service will impact the lives of your audience, and how you can get to them efficiently. Now it’s time to tailor your message to your audience and your channel.
Here is where you will think about the best type of message and medium to show your product to your audience.
Let’s go back to the dog tag example: you might invest in cute photos and videos of dogs wearing your tags that can be shared on Facebook and Instagram. You might also think about Influencer Marketing here. Try to find social accounts with a large following to test your product and ideally post a review on their channels, increasing your reach.
However, if you are a consultant and need to communicate with professionals, you might want to invest your time in a content strategy that includes articles and podcasts in order to position you as an expert in the field.
This was just a simple and quick basic guide and there is a lot more to talk about in terms of marketing for your business. But if we could boil it down to the simplest possible summary, we’d say, “Define your purpose, then your audience, go where the fish are and craft your messaging in a way that resonates with them.”
This sounds easy, but it takes a lot of work. In fact, we will finish here by emphasizing the need to keep learning and improving. Make sure to measure your efforts and continue to improve and optimize your strategy.
When it works, it really works. And when it really, really works, you can build a brand that is hard to compete with.