What Does It Mean to Market Wisely?
Whether we like it or not, marketing plays a significant role in the success of our Small Business. Many of us started a business because we are really good at what we do, but we are terrible at telling the world about it.
I’ve met many Small Business owners who are terrible at marketing. They are basically hiding what they do and leaving it for their potential customers to try and figure out.
If you want your business to grow you need to invest in a wise marketing strategy. You can’t grow your business if you keep it a secret.
So what does it mean to market wisely?
Step One: It means we have decided who we want to attract.
We need to know who our ideal customer is. Grab a piece of paper and write a few thoughts down. How old are they, what is their life like, where do they live, what are their hopes, dreams, and fears, are they male or female, what do they do in their free time, what do they spend their money on? Think of it as dating – work out exactly what you are looking for and you are already halfway there. If you aren’t specific about the type of customer you want, you will end up with whoever comes your way.
Step Two: It means we have researched what advertising mediums this audience engages with.
There are so many mediums nowadays whereas twenty years ago we only had a few choices. Many Small Business owners miss step one, and they are marketing with a spray and pray approach. Back to my dating analogy, spray and pray marketing is basically throwing “please date me cards” from the roof of a ten story building hoping that “the one” picks up a card.
It’s not the most effective approach and it’s likely you’re going to get a whole heap of time wasters and people that you really don’t want to date.
So why market this way?
If you want an energetic, healthy, high income earning 35-year-old female with kids to engage with your business, you need to work out where she hangs out.
What’s the best way to figure out where your target market is? Ask them. Do a survey and find out what they listen to, watch and read. Ask friends in this demographic, interview friends of friends, but most importantly, do your homework. Market where your ideal customers spend time and give their attention.
Step Three: It means we have decided a budget to spend on marketing.
You must decide on a marketing budget otherwise at the end of the year you will look back and realise that you’ve overspent. Factor in everything from uniforms and business cards to advertising and sponsorships. When you have a budget, it’s much easier to say no to things too. You can simply say that your budget is committed for the year and leave it at that.
Don’t be dismayed if you don’t have a huge budget either. A smaller budget just means that you will have to be more creative and your marketing initiatives are going to take more of your time – embrace that.
Step Four: It means we have ideas, promotions and activities to make our marketing exciting and engaging.
A small or large marketing budget does not impact this point. There is no excuse for beige marketing except laziness. If you are not a creative person, find someone who can help you come up with ideas. Most creative people love being creative and do so for free. Ask them for help.
I actually think people who market on shoe string budgets have way more impact as they try so much harder to make what they have work for them. Get creative, ensure that there aren’t too many hoops to jump through for people to engage, and ensure these campaigns are covering steps one and two – who are you targeting and where will you engage them most effectively.
Step Five: It means we have a way to measure whether our campaigns are working or not.
Every campaign should have milestones to reach whether it is an amount of sales, or an increase in your fan base or interaction on social media. And don’t forget to ask your customer a very important yet simple question “how did you hear about us?”. In fact, we should be asking every single customer that question, new or existing.
So, the moral to the story is that if you market wisely, you will get far greater results. Be targeted, be creative and be engaging. Don’t get caught up in the size of your marketing budget, get caught up in being smart about what you do with it.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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