Having the perfect product or service won’t be beneficial unless people know about it. This is why marketing is so important. Marketing is essentially finding ways to connect with potential clients and consumers. If marketing is done correctly, you can get your start-up on the map or turn around a struggling company.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and an investor on Shark Tank states that “Sales solves problems.” In order to get sales however, you have to get your marketing right. Here are the steps you need to take for creating the perfect marketing strategy.
- Identify Your Target Audience
You want everyone to buy your product or service. So the biggest temptation is to market to everyone. For marketing purposes however you’re going to need to narrow your target market down.
Think of it this way. Would you want to get brain surgery from a general specialist, or a brain specialist? By narrowing down your market, you are telling them that your product and service is specifically for them. You want to focus on people that you know will want or need your business. Trying to market to everyone will costly and ineffective.
The best way to start is to envision your perfect client. Give your perfect client or avatar a name. What gender is your avatar? How old? What type of lifestyle? Single or married? This will help you cater to their specific needs. Once you have met their needs, then you can begin to expand to different markets. Think of Amazon.com, the company was started to sell just books. After they were successful, they were able to expand to pretty much every market available!
- What Are Your Company’s Strengths and Weaknesses?
There are only two business strategies you can take. Either you are the company with the lowest prices (Walmart), or the company that is able to differentiate from others (BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine). How do you know which one to pursue?
You need to do a S.W.O.T. analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Other Threats). Once you’ve determined what your strengths are it’ll be easier to differentiate yourself from your competitors and attract more customers. Every business will have weaknesses, the key is to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
It is important to know your weaknesses so you know which market you should avoid. Many startups fail because they couldn’t match up to their competitors. Instead of trying to play their game, play your own that leverages your strength.
- What Are Your Marketing Goals?
Now that you have your target market and have a better idea of how you are going to differentiate yourself, prepare a list of marketing goals. Work with your team and take your time, ensuring your goals are realistic and achievable. This should be part of your business plan. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!
This is important since marketing can be expensive. By setting specific goals, you can focus on increasing leads first, launching a new product, rebrand, or set other goals so you don’t spread yourself out to thin. Do less better!
- Don’t Underestimate Social Media
There are many benefits to using social media. It is a great way to advertise and market for free your products or services for both new and existing customers. Once you have a budget you can take advantage of the different platforms and target your niche market.
It can also be used for building relationships and building brand loyalty with your target audience. Don’t just opt for the direct sales approach, instead lead customers in with special interest news and content. Social media is also a great way to engage with customers, respond to their needs and wants, and show that you care. Remember that social media can go both ways it can help your product go viral and help your brand, or go viral and hurt your brand! So be on top of it!
- Start or Continue a Company Blog
The smart business owner already has a website, but many do not realize the importance of writing a blog. Use your blog to provide useful content. This is also known as content marketing. By doing so, you are able to build trust with your target market and your customers will see you as a source of valuable information and entertainment.
It is important to publish content on your blog regularly. It not only gives you great exposure, but will help your SEO rankings. Studies show that a business blog can bring up to 55% more visitors to your site.
- Get Professional Help
When starting your own business on a shoestring budget, you will often have to do everything yourself. However is may be worth it to hire a marketing professional to help you get on the right track. You may have to spend money, but often you have to spend money to make money.
By hiring a network marketing coach that will help bring customers to you can allow you to focus on providing the best product and service available. The right marketing strategy can give you a return on investment that will far outweigh many other ways of gaining customers.
- Help Customers Solve a Problem
Lastly, you want to make sure that your product or service helps solve problems and adds value. The more value you add, the less you have to compete on price. What does it mean to add value? It is doing more than what you are paid for. It is over-delivering. When clients see this, this helps separate yourself from the customer and engenders loyalty.
Another way to add value and build brand loyalty is to work on providing solutions for customers. You already know your target audience, so think about some of the problems they might be having. Create a range of how-to pages, offer relevant exclusives, and find ways to make their lives easier. Get them to like you by listening and respond to what they’re saying. Studies show that people would rather do business with someone they like even if the competition is better and offers a lower price!
Work your way through these steps, and you’re well on the way to creating the perfect marketing plan and growing your business!