I remember learning my times tables as a child. One day, I felt very excited because I made the discovery that you can multiply the number zero by any number at all, and you will still end up with the same thing — NOTHING!
I feel like the same can be said when it comes to marketing. No matter how great your product is or how wonderful a service you offer, it counts for nothing if you aren’t telling people about it.
Sometimes business owners tell me they are reluctant to promote their business because they don’t want to be ‘another annoying advertiser’. Others are so overwhelmed, they simply don’t know where to start.
Here’s my advice to put you on the right path when it comes to marketing:
Why you simply have to have a marketing strategy
In sports like football and basketball, the players need strategies to boost their team’s chances of winning. The same holds true for business. Marketing strategy is your business game plan, with the goal being to reach people and turn them into customers.
As with sporting teams, your marketing strategy can be hit and miss. You have to figure out what works, then build on it. From time to time, the competition will outsmart your strategy and you’ll need to head back to the drawing board. Still, without it, you will have no chance of success.
Overcoming the barriers to marketing
If you are in business, it is hopefully because you are providing a product or service people want. If they want it, they are looking for it. Marketing is the tool you can use to make sure it is your business that they find.
Instead of thinking of marketing as invasive, remind yourself that there are people who need your help! You are doing them a favour by making your business easy to discover. Once they have found you, they will be able to rely on you to solve their problem, be it buying a new laptop or finding a gift for a coworker.
When it comes to feeling overwhelmed, remember that zero times zero is zero. Take it one step at a time until you start seeing results. Look at what similar businesses are doing for inspiration.
Getting started with a marketing strategy
The purpose of your marketing is to communicate the value of your business. To get started, the following steps will help:
- Set goals for your marketing strategy, e.g. do you want more phone calls? More online sales? More website queries etc
- Define your target market or your buyer persona
- Outline your company’s unique selling proposition (USP), which defines how your business is different from your competitors.
- Determine how you will share your message (advertisements, articles, content, speaking etc)
- Decide where you will share your message (online, newspaper, trade shows etc)
- Create advertisements or content with a call to action which reflects your goals (e.g. CALL NOW)
- Execute your marketing plan
- Examine your results and build on what works, while also trialling other strategies
Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing, there is no magic formula. Even when you get amazing results, you may find you have to adapt your strategy as the world around you changes.
Marketing is not a set-and-forget strategy and you should always be on the lookout for newer, more effective ways to reach your audience.
Low/no cost marketing ideas
Marketing doesn’t always have to be expensive. When you are a small business, there are inexpensive, and even free means, to market your product/service. You might want to consider the following:
- Publish great content on your website and distribute it to your mailing list
- Promote your business on social media using posts or low cost Facebook ads
- Participate and network in social media groups
- Contribute articles to niche publications
- Join professional or business organisations
- Network at events near you
- Engage in EDM/email marketing
- Apply for business awards
- Create a referral partnership with a complementary business
- Send press releases to local media sharing interesting stories which relate to your business
Make sure to keep track of the results of your marketing ideas so you would know what works best for your business.
You’ll find so much more incredible marketing advice as well as time saving marketing tips at our next 52 Ways seminar, which is coming soon to a city near you.