If I had a penny for every time a business owner told me they feel lost when it comes to marketing, I would certainly be a millionaire.
When starting your business and having so much to worry about, marketing can be so overwhelming. So much that some people would ignore it or minimize marketing efforts.
A few times I heard people claim they don’t even need marketing. They think they are a big deal and everybody knows them. Hate to break it to you, “Mr big deal”, but you’re not as big as Amazon, and look at their marketing!
This brings me to the first point every new business owner should be aware of…
How important is marketing for your business?
- Do you know what your customer wants?
- Do you think your customers like and trust your products?
- When was the last time you saw a customer talking about your product or service? Was it positive or negative?
The main goals of marketing are to convert, retain, and improve sales:
✔ Marketing converts the target audience into customers.
✔ Marketing retains the current customer base by allowing businesses to maintain long-lasting relationships with their customers.
✔ Marketing Helps to build a relationship with customers, by engaging customers and communicating the products or services you’re offering. To get them informed of any new updates or offers, which naturally helps in boosting sales and promotes business growth.
✔ Building an audience not only will help you spread the word about your brand but will also help improve your product or service by getting feedback as you take your followers on your journey. It helps maintain relevance and adjust your product or service to adapt to the ever-changing needs and trends of the market.
✔ Marketing helps in building and maintaining the company’s reputation. It also helps you rank against competitors which are probably actively marketing their products.
✔ Marketing helps improve revenue options by helping management make informed decisions.
✔ Marketing is not a one-time thing, rather an ongoing strategy that helps businesses flourish.
So how to start your marketing?
Setting marketing goals
No, it shouldn’t be to gain 1 million likes next month!
Start by writing down your business goals, specify what you want to achieve in the time. This will allow you to translate your goals into marketing actionable plans.
E.g. When starting a business you need people to identify your brand name = brand awareness in marketing.
Identify Your Target audience (Buyer Personas)
Who would get the most benefit from your product? Create a customer profile. Be specific. Describe a real person as best as possible using the following points:
- Demographics: gender, age, ethnicity, industry, job, income, family size.
- Geographics: Country, city, population, area.
- Psychographics: lifestyle, social class, values, beliefs, habits, hobbies.
- Challenges: what struggles are they facing every day?
- Pain Points: what is happening in their lives that your business can fix?
- What drives them to purchase your product – what do they need to see that would convince them to buy your product?
- Where do they find their information: the internet, newspapers, ads, commercials, etc.
- How and where do they spend their time online?
- How can you help: what content or resources can we provide to help our audience and convince them to buy.
Who are your competitors?
Before starting a business, you should be made aware of your direct and indirect competitors. This is specifically important to be able to play against them, in both marketing and business.
However, if you haven’t, the way to find out about competitors would be by conducting thorough market research. Doing Google search (using the right keywords), engaging in communities like forums, quota, and Facebook groups, or simply by asking friends, family or clients.
Make sure when analyzing your competition to cover the following points:
- How are your competitors market their brand?
- Where are your competitors on social media?
- What are they doing?
- What are their strong points?
- What are their weak points?
- What can you do better than them?
Marketing is not just about social media. There are various areas that you need to cover based on your business needs and goals.
The following list covers some of the most common marketing areas which will help you promote your business.
- Market Research
- Email marketing
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, etc)
- Paid Ads
- Influencers marketing
- Content marketing (video, blogs, webinar, podcasts, etc)
- Search Engine Optimization SEO
- Public Relations
Other related areas:
- Website – UX, copywriting, etc.
- Customer service
Which marketing area is right for your business?
Social media should be an essential part of your strategy. But if you only focus on social media, you will be leaving money on the table. You need to cover as many grounds as possible.
It all depends on your business needs. You should find ways to be where your target audience is spending their time:
- If you’re selling to drivers, then create a radio ad.
- If your target audience are children make sure you follow them, in festivals, toy shops, and parks.
- If your audience spends most of their time on google then you need to focus on SEO and SEM, etc.
Get the idea? Now, where do you think your target audience is?
Which social media channel is better for your business?
The most common mistakes in social media marketing:
- Using all social platforms
- Creating one post and copy it everywhere
- Only using Facebook for marketing
It’s better to focus your energy on building the social channels that will benefit your business.
If you’re not sure which social media channels to use, this list will help you decide which channel is better for your business.
- Facebook – for B2C, for all audience types
- Twitter – for B2B, for link sharing and engagement
- Instagram – for visual products
- LinkedIn – for B2B and professional networking
- Pinterest – for highly visual products and services, mostly targeted for women
- Tumblr – for artistic content, mostly targeted to teenagers
- Quora – for finding B2B leads
- Meetup.com – for events and local marketing
Make sure you create unique content for each social network because each channel ‘works’ differently.
When is the best time to post on social media?
There is no universal ‘best time’ to post, and I would advise you to never listen to anyone who says otherwise.
To answer this question, take a look at your Facebook page:
From the top bar click insights and then posts.
And from your business Instagram page click settings and then insight – scroll down until you see this chart.
Those insights show how many people are online each day of the week and when they’re online every day. Make sure to post when the most amount of people are online to make sure they see your content and engage with it.
How often should you post?
If you are looking to grow your page, you must post consistently to keep your loyal audience engaged with your content.
For established businesses with steady followers number. As a rule of thumb on how often you should post on common social media platforms:
Keep the rule of ‘quality over quantity’ in mind. It is always better to post less frequently and have high-quality posts than to post low-quality content frequently.
Pro tip: Only post the number of posts that you can keep up with consistently.
Helpful free tools to use in marketing
- Hootsuite and Buffer: to manage and schedule posts on social media channels.
- Mailchimp: to engage with your customers through email marketing.
- Bit.ly: for shorting links you share on social media to make posts look cleaner.
- Canva: to create effortless designs.
- Asana, Trello, and Monday: for easier project management.
More about the different areas of communication
Branding is not just about the logo. It is creating an entire personality for your business and attaching attributes to the company that appeals to the demographics of its core audience.
Successful brands often define brand personality and direct all their communication efforts in the same direction. This creates a brand experience that attracts users, converts them to loyal customers, and makes them happy.
The process of branding happens with every interaction and communication with people in a way that allows the company to be consistent in expressing its behavior and core values. From the voice and tone of your communication to customer service to aesthetics. Everything should be consistent and should align with your brand guidelines!
A common branding mistake some people make when forcing their personality on the business (by picking their favorite colors for the creatives or communicating in a certain way to customers). Most of the time, it hurts the business.
Branding is what made companies such as Toyota to be known for their reliability or Volvo to be known for its safety. It ensures their business to be more than just a deadpan company.
A personal way to reach your target audience, which gets a higher reach rate than social media. And if you have less than 2,000 contacts, it can also be free!
To start with Email marketing, all you need to do is set up a form on your business social media or your website to collect emails. This will allow you to engage with your clients by sending newsletters. It will also give them the means to provide their feedback and ideas, which will help you improve your service/product.
MailChimp is a great starting point for running your mailing list.
Social Media Marketing
If you’re just starting to use social media, here are some tips to help you work on your social media marketing easily and professionally:
- Social media posts shouldn’t be random, you should set goals that align with your business goals. Strategize your presence and translate your goals into marketing deliverables.
- Prepare a monthly calendar for your posts, and make sure you balance a mix of different types of posts related to your brand. Share visuals, copy (written pieces), videos, and links.
- Be Active, otherwise, you will hurt your brand by having your social media page look like a ghost town.
- Avoid sounding too sales-y by just posting about your product/service. Mix and match your posts by sharing relevant news and interesting articles.
- Ask questions, share things like behind the scenes, testimonials, and reviews from your clients. Make sure you give your followers a reason to keep following you.
- Engage with your followers, respond to all comments or messages promptly. Always be active and involved. Make sure to establish credibility and enhance brand image.
- To reach your clients organically is to use different features, like stories, live broadcasts, hashtags for Instagram and Twitter, or any new features the social media channel is offering (if applicable).
It’s becoming harder to build a following base these days due to the changes Facebook has made in recent years. That’s why it’s important to use paid social media marketing as well.
It’s important to keep your customer relationship great even after the sale. Engaging with your customers is a great way to learn the personalities of your clients and how satisfied they are. Getting feedback will help you improve your product/service and will also keep the communication going.
Getting reviews and testimonials can help with social proof which boosts your brand’s reputation and helps increase sales. A lot of potential clients utilize reviews to make any purchasing decisions.
Great customer service leads to transforming your customers into brand ambassadors with word-of-mouth. This is one of the most powerful forms of advertisement, especially for small businesses. Since people make purchases based on trust and credibility, you can take advantage of their network and get referrals.
AKA Search Engine Marketing (SEM), paid marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC).
Paid marketing allows businesses to advertise in search engines using Google and Bing ads or in social media (Facebook and Instagram ads are the most common).
Paid ads don’t have to cost much. Some businesses can achieve success with lower budgets.
Pro tip: prioritize your effort, set the right budget for your business needs. Choose the right ad to make the best of your paid campaign. Having said that, paid ads are best performed by a professional to make sure you’re getting the best value for money.
A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content around your brand to attract and retain a defined audience, and to ultimately drive profitable action.
Content marketing could be achieved in the form of a blog, a podcast channel, video channel, ebooks, etc.
Pro tip: To be able to maintain content marketing you need a team of dedicated professionals. You also need to be consistent and creative in your content efforts to be able to stand out.
Most of the time, content marketing is associated with SEO to achieve the best results.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is how you get your website to rank better on search engines. It helps to generate more targeted traffic from the search engines. It promotes your business to be more visible for keywords relevant to your product or service.
Pro tip: You will need to use a professional in setting up an SEO strategy and make sure your website is well optimized for search engines.
Do you need a website?
If your business doesn’t depend on a website, you don’t need to pay tons of money building one. A basic website will guarantee you have an online presence, which you can build yourself using a platform like WordPress.
Put all the info about your business, what you do, what you offer. Create an online portfolio for your business.
Pro tip: designing an outstanding user experience on your website and writing good copy will make a lot of difference in the way you represent your business.
Influencers are mini-celebrities with large followings who can influence their audiences by promoting certain products after trying them. This process increases social proof for your brand and helps its followers make purchasing decisions.
Depending on what you sell, you can partner with YouTube influencers, bloggers, social media mini-celebrities or even local people who are popular in your city.
In recent years, influencer marketing has become an effective way of paid advertising, which is way cheaper and more effective than paid ads.
Do you need to hire a marketing person, or can you do it yourself?
Some areas of marketing would necessarily need professionals to lead. Like if you don’t have native speakers or writers in-house, you should outsource your marketing to someone else, to make sure your language is flawless and to give your business credibility among the target audiences.
However, you can learn how to get by when it comes to basic marketing like email marketing and social media. Seeking professional help at setting up your strategies at first will, in fact, save you a lot of money and effort.
We would also suggest occasional auditing and consulting with a professional to make sure you’re on the right track because marketing is an ongoing job.
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Have a marketing question? Leave it in the comments below.