Marketing Your Small Business in 4 Easy Steps[ Edited ]
August 2016 - last edited August 2016
For those of you looking to achieve success in the online marketing of your products or services, the following article will outlay four key tips for maintaining an effective marketing campaign.
Clearly define your goals. This is important for any marketing campaign, and it will help ingrain what you want to do and how to get there from the beginning. Write down and keep track of your clearly defined goals, and pin them up somewhere.
Your clearly set marketing campaign goals will help you:
- Drive more traffic to your online or bricks-and mortar store
- Increase sales, subscribers or conversion rate
- Create a buzz and increase your brand recognition
Write out your company’s unique selling proposition (USP) and define your target market. Your unique selling proposition is what sets you and your products and services apart from your competitors’. This can be expressed in a single sentence that sums up your business mantra, and acts as your marketing theme.
It can be something as simple as, “Company X brings you the future of data center management one innovation at a time,” or something that tells a bit more about what you do, specifically, such as, “More cargo space for less lets you stick to your budget while we carry the load.”
You want your USP to convey to potential customers some type of assured benefit that they will want to further examine and you should develop it prior to bringing your product(s) and/or services to market.
The USP was developed to be an immutable marketing and advertising slogan that would become the cornerstone for a company’s market aims. A company that attains solid brand recognition and respect in the marketplace won’t have to change their USP too much, if at all. The latter-day trend is to change up a USP every several years or so to anticipate or adapt to volatile market trends.
This is where having your target market (also called your “target audience”) clearly defined helps you maintain your marketing center or “balance” so as not to get tossed around on the stormy seas of a capricious marketplace.
Right next to your market campaign goals and unique selling proposition, have your specific target market defined. For most campaigns, this means a specific demographic group, such as “Women, 18‒35.” It could be multiple demographic audiences, a broader group or a more narrowed-down target market.
It could be people of a certain income bracket, or it could be dog owners.
Do market research to find out exactly what and who your prospective clients or target customers are. Once you’ve established your target market, do a semi-regular analysis to test its growth. But, just know it.
Determine how you will position your products or services. This could be through surveys, product testing, market research or a combination of all of those. Product testing in certain geographic areas helps you find out where your product will gain the most traction, or be most popular. Some of this is obvious: Selling central A/C for homes is going to have more of a market in the South than in the North. Selling snowmobiles or snow blowers will have a market in the northern regions.
Some products or services will have broader appeal, such as dog harnesses or iced tea makers. Market testing and research will help to better determine your exact target audience and demographic, and market segment as well. All of this will help you to determine where your products and services will best be placed.
Determine your marketing strategy and methods. Most contemporary marketing campaigns will consist of internet or online marketing, direct marketing and some form of public relations ― for the higher-profile marketing campaigns ― or some combination of all three.
Ours is a “show me, don’t tell me” society, so your marketing strategy will be all about showing your prospective customer base why your products and/or services are superior to Brand X. It will also be about creating a buzz, generally online these days, although many campaigns will offset their online budgets with some direct marketing to bricks-and-mortar stores and other outlets.
A good marketing campaign will include the “Four Ps” of marketing:
- Product ― Includes conception, A/B testing, customer input, tracking sales
- Price ― Tested through focus groups and surveys
- Promotion ― Done through brochures, ads and other explanatory info
- Place ― What and where are your distribution channels?
In addition to knowing and using these steps in your overall marketing strategy and campaign, it is good to know what the purpose of all this.
To many who are just starting out as business owners, or who do not understand all of the parameters and ramifications of what marketing is and does, it may seem a monumental or superfluous set of tasks.
But to those who educate themselves on just why they need to take all of these steps, and indeed, why they will be of such paramount importance to achieving the sales they desire or foresee for the product, this adds passion to their endeavors.
From Invention to Conversion
For instance, an inventor of great products will likely not be a guru of marketing and advertising. The two worlds exist in virtually separate domains. But, when the inventors or idea people get together with the marketing gurus, the two worlds then become mutually beneficial to one another.
Some can do both, but for those who need help and guidance getting their products from the conception and design stage to the marketplace, marketing gurus are out there who are just waiting to help get your awesome products and services off the ground. Inquire within for further info on how a well-defined online marketing strategy will create a buzz and get you sales conversions!
Re: Marketing Your Small Business in 4 Easy Steps
I think few businesses take enough time with your point #1, clearly defining the business goals. Whether running an adwords campaign or running a business, not knowing WHY you are doing it will lead to unintended results. Business value cannot be created if the business goals are left undefined.
I would also suggest less of a business-oriented focus and a customer-centric view thinking about a need that is not being addressed and how your offering (product or service) meets that need, rather than thinking first about why your business is better than a competitor's. Speaking to the need of a customer will win them every time!
Re: Marketing Your Small Business in 4 Easy Steps