Five Easy Steps to Help You Start Marketing for Your Small Business Today
Utilizing marketing as a tool to reach new customers and grow your business can be the ultimate competitive advantage as any small business owner or entrepreneur. Whether you own a bakery, a jewelry shop or a construction company, every small business owner can tackle marketing with the right planning.
But contrary to what can seem like a daunting task that leaves a small business owner overwhelmed and stopped dead in their tracks, building a successful marketing plan is something every small business owner can achieve. The site of terms like grassroots marketing, digital marketing, traditional marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing don’t have to leave your head spinning. We’re here to help.
Here are a few tips to help simplify marketing for your small business and get you started today:
1. Back to the Business Basics: Identifying Your Goals
Any marketing plan worth its weight should always align with a company’s business goals & objectives. In a metaphorical example of building a house, you map out blueprints of where the house will be built, who the house will be built for, and what kind & size of house you’re building before you pick up even pick up a hammer.
The same weighs true for marketing. Understanding what your business goals are in terms of revenue, customer acquisition, and growth, should be where you start will drive what you decide to do for marketing and not the other way around.
Once you have your goals identified for business, then you can get started aligning a marketing plan to help you reach those goals.
2. Understand Your Audience
The more you understand about your audience and can carve our different segments or groups, the more effective your marketing dollars will be. Targeting your message and marketing activities to a finely-tuned group of individuals that need or want your product will yield results more effectively for your business.
Think about musicians. Most great musicians don’t try to play every instrument by themselves and try to reach every genre from country to rap to pop. So, why would you do this with your business?
Who is your audience? What do they do – for work, for fun? What can you offer them to make their life easier, better, more efficient, etc.?
Further, when evaluating your audience, make sure you to look at your competitor’s audience as well. You’ll want to understand just what makes your target audience tick, but also how you can differentiate yourself from the competition to set yourself apart.
3. Target No More than Three Channels to Start
When you know your audience, it’s much easier to narrow in on a few channels that will really work for you. Vaguely spreading content (not too mention marketing dollars) across too many channels, will work as well for you as saying your target audience is “everyone.”
Start with 2-3 channels that really hit your audience and target your marketing message through those channels. This could mean focusing on Facebook Ads, Direct Mail and well-written blog to improve traffic to your website. Still, for others, it may mean hosting community events, targeted Instagram ads and Facebook.
There are no shortage of mediums to choose from, but the main takeaway is that any medium you choose should help you spread the message of your product to the right people at the right time.
4. Measure Results, Refine, Repeat
Measurable goals will be key to understanding how your marketing efforts are working for you. Start with a basic understanding of your current state of business – which includes a check-in on how many people you are currently reaching through your social channels, email club, loyalty programs and any other marketing avenues.
Once you know where you are, you can measure your future marketing efforts and growth against this baseline. Always measure your marketing initiatives so you know what results you are seeing, then refine & repeat the process.
This step, is very important. So often, people don’t see huge results in the first two days and give up. This does not mean marketing is not working, nor does it mean it won’t work. Marketing success is dependent on a number of tangibles, like message, timing of message, call-to-action v. awareness, and so on.
By measuring different initiatives, you can really get a handle on what works for your business, refine efforts appropriately and continue growth.
5. ) Add, when you’re ready: As your marketing practices become more established, so will your ability to comfortably execute marketing. Both measurement and execution become easier and will free up time for you to expand on activities that further support your business goals.
It is important to look at how you can add a new product or service, what marketing channels you can add or spend more time on, and where you can better spend your resources (this includes your time) to make marketing even more efficient.
Marketing is an incredible tool to help grow your business and gain competitive edge in your market. But, it doesn’t have to be as cumbersome or overwhelming as the marketing terms you hear tossed around. Following the steps above will help you narrow in on just exactly why you are doing marketing (what goals you’re trying to reach) and set you up with a roadmap to get there.