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Entering the world of marketing can be daunting but increasing your company’s visibility can mean tapping into previously undiscovered markets and unlocking sales growth and revenue potential. If done correctly, increasing your exposure and building a solid and trustworthy brand can expand your reach and build awareness exponentially. There are many factors when developing your marketing efforts so consider these tips to make the most of your experience.
“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.”
— Joe Chernov, CMO of InsightSquared
Determine Target Audience
Many small business owners make the mistake of trying to offer a product or service without understanding their target market and what their pain points might be. But how does one go about defining these, much less solving this question? Primarily, you can identify your current audience by identifying where they fit in the Marketing Funnel
The funnel’s stages are: Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Loyalty, and Advocacy. Identifying this will highlight the clients with whom you have had the greatest success and pinpoint the type of prospects that you should target moving forward. You can also conduct market research, identify industry trends, create personas, and eliminate inappropriate targets. What pain points are you confident you can solve and who is suffering from this pain?? A successful target audience has wants that are so unmet, that committing to your solution is their only option. Pro tip: Be careful not to confuse “wants” with “needs.” Often people don’t buy what they need, but almost always will buy what they want.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
– Peter Drucker
Define Market Niche
Choosing a specific niche will allow you to focus and maximize your efforts. Survey your best current clients, analyze your competitors, hone in on what you do best then stick to it. Many businesses try to be everything to everyone which can be destructive and will end up costing money, time, and resources. Make sure all of this aligns with your passions and interests so that you are building something you strongly identify with and can easily stand behind. By defining and committing to your specialized service, you will naturally stand out in your field.
“The gap between what’s expected and what you deliver is where the magic happens, in business and in life.”
– Jay Baer
Set Marketing Goals
Having clear goals is paramount to success in any undertaking. Goals can change along the way but without them, you’re still only wishing for success. Ask questions like, “Do I want more leads”, “Am I looking for recognition in my industry?”, “Do I want to expand my profits by ??%”, “Do I want fewer customers but higher value contracts?” Build a vision of exactly what you want, within the realm of your current resources, and create a roadmap to get there. Use the SMART formula and you can ensure your goals are.
“Mediocre marketers think in terms of campaigns. Great marketers think in terms of growth frameworks.”
– Neil Patel
Clarify your Message
Your tailored marketing message should explain to prospective clients exactly what you do and why they should do business with you. Communication is key and can separate you from the pack. Use communication precisely to lay out how you look, act, and perform. Typically, you’ll want two types of messages. The first should be short and direct, to the point, often referred to as a ten-second elevator pitch. This is something you can have ready when the question of “what do you do?” is asked. The second message is more comprehensive and includes marketing and promotional materials that highlight why you are the professionals to deal with.
“These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.”
– Brian Clark
Choose where to Market
Marketing mediums are the vehicle (or vehicles) that you will use to deliver your message. Research and choose options that give you not only the best ROI but those that will also reach your most niche customers at the lowest possible cost to you. These choices might include direct contact through cold calls and follow-up, networking, referral building and word of mouth, promotional events, sponsored social media posts and advertising.
You must match your medium to your audience carefully. Learn what channels your audience uses and show up there consistently. This can take time and you may need to experiment so be prepared to be patient but also to know when to pull the plug or make tweaks when something isn’t working. Building these mediums can take years and it is imperative to follow the analytics.
“The business changes every day, and you should be willing to change with it. You have to be willing to change with it.”
– Josh Barnett
Develop A Marketing Budget
You’ll want to have a realistic marketing budget that you are 100% committed to sticking to. All too often the marketing budget is the first to get cut where it actually should be the first to be increased. Without marketing, there is no growth. A good place to start is by reviewing the marketing-related expenses that you have already incurred. You should also analyze and understand your sales funnel and operational costs. Look at where and how often you are getting leads, how many of these leads can you close and convert to regular business, what is your cost per lead and what does it cost to not generate them at a higher rate ie: how much business are you missing out on? The adage you need to spend money to make money definitely applies to marketing and will sometimes keep you up at night but again, be patient and keep in mind the 80/20 rule. 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts.
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time”
– Henry Ford
The world of marketing can be complex and ever-changing. The key is to be consistent, be willing to try new things, stay on top of trends and new channels and mostly to have fun with it!! Being able to stay the course will ensure you’re at the top of your game. Marketing will definitely throw hooks at you just be ready to roll with the punches.
“Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.”
– Beth Comstock