Starting a business is a difficult and sometimes scary task. There are many different steps involved that cover a wide range of areas like accounting, hiring, purchasing, and equipment, just to name a few. One of the most essential, and sometimes the hardest, responsibilities of a new business is marketing.
It’s not uncommon for the owner of a new or small business to fall into the marketing role unexpectedly. It can be an overwhelming position to be in, especially since your first marketing steps impact the future of your business. Fortunately, even if you’re not a marketing experts, many of us who are experts are willing to share advice and guidance to help you get your business’s marketing off on the right foot.
You should start by adjusting your view on marketing. While equipment and payroll expenses may seem more tangible and necessary, marketing is essential to the future success and profitability of your business. Because of this, it’s important not to view marketing as an expense but as an investment for your company. Once you understand the importance of a well-crafted marketing strategy and the role it plays in your growing business, it’ll be clear why it should be considered an investment.
Marketing is vital when it comes to attracting prospective customers and clients, creating demand for your products or services, and turning those prospects and demand into profit.
What should your first marketing step be to positively impact the future of your business? Since you don’t want to invest blindly in your marketing strategy, your first step should be to create a marketing plan to ensure your business continues to grow and survive in its early years.
When done correctly, your marketing plan is much more than simple strategies and a clear budget. It’s a guide to identifying your customers, reaching them, and staying engaged with them. Here are our suggestions of what you should include in your marketing plan to give your business the best future possible.
1. Build a Compelling Brand
Truly defining your business is a critical step in your marketing plan. Having a compelling brand and brand experience for your customers leads to customer loyalty. Write a statement that defines the type of business you’re in, the type of customer you serve, how you serve them, and the types of products customers can expect. While that may seem easy, it can involve some hard decision making, and it definitely involves research to make those definitions, which leads us to our next step in your marketing plan.
2. Identify Your Target Customers
Your target customers are the people most likely to buy your products or services. Determining who this group is usually comes down to a combination of demographics and psychographics.
Demographics are fairly easy to find and define. They include age, location, marital status, gender, household income, and more. Free resources exist for you to get demographic information, like the U.S. Census Bureau.
Psychographic information takes a little more deep thought. This type of information includes things like lifestyle, activities, hobbies, values, and more.
You might know that your product is appealing to married women in their 30s, but you can further define your target customer with characteristics like women who enjoy running and attend church regularly. Having a focused target customer allows your marketing efforts to be more effective.
3. Define the Need
For the most part, people don’t buy things just because they need to clear out some room in their wallets. Purchases are usually triggered by something immediate that makes now the time for them to buy. It could be needing an accountant because it’s tax time or needing a new pair of socks because the old pair has a hole in it.
The circumstances of someone needing to make a purchase or use a service will also determine what someone wants in a solution. Do your target customers need something affordable and fast, or do they want something high-quality that will last them a while.
Understanding the circumstances of why someone would purchase your product and the type of solution they are looking for allows you to craft your marketing content and promotional materials around these traits.
If the need has already been defined by other companies, then you’ll need to define how your product answers the need better than theirs.
4. Other Important Marketing Plan Aspects
Now that you have your brand, your customers, and your customers’ needs defined, you can develop the strategies and tactics you’ll use. Spend time looking at your audience and determining the best way to reach them.
Create measurable goals that you want your marketing to achieve, like an increase in sales.
Finally, you’ll need to set a marketing budget. Since marketing is an investment, you’ll want to strike a balance between a budget that is high enough to make a difference but not too high that it wipes out your funds.
Working with marketing experts like those at Business Marketing Engine can help you get your marketing strategy off on the right foot to ensure a bright future for your business. Check out our Ultimate Marketing Summit Guide for help with marketing of any kind.