How to determine the right marketing strategy
A guest post by Brooke Faulkner.
It is so easy to get discouraged as the owner of a startup. With so many competitors, the market may seem over-saturated, and getting your own company off the ground may feel extremely difficult.
However, with time and good planning, you’ll soon be on your way to success in no time. In fact, most small businesses don’t turn a profit until their fifth year operating, and your startup has some time to develop still. You may just need to get the right marketing strategy going, and that will require you think about a few things.
Determine your purpose
The first question you have to ask is where are you on your company’s timeline and how close are you to your upcoming goals. Then you need to ask what’s the next step from where you’re present position.
Defining your purpose will determine how you handle everything going forward. Decide the amount of people you are trying to reach. Where do you want to realistically see yourself financially and productivity in a reasonable amount of time?
On the other hand, perhaps you need to ask yourself what the ultimate goal of your business is — for example, what’s your final end game? Your short term goals need to be created to work toward your long term goals.
Count your costs
Next, set a budget. How much can you spend on your right marketing strategy? Most importantly, how much do you think you’ll gain from sales afterward, and how much does it cost to manufacture and distribute a product?
Before any big marketing decisions are made, you have to decide whether your risk is reasonable and manageable. What’s your expected return on this investment you’re making? If losing on this cost is too much for your company to stay afloat, this will affect the rest of your life in a giant way.
So calculate your costs, be wise in estimating your returns, and stay ahead of the game.
Choose your audience
Now that you know how much you can spend, choose who you can spend it on. What product are you trying to promote and who is in the market to buy it?
Essentially this starts with understanding the difference of B2B and B2C marketing. If you’re offering a service that helps other businesses, you’ll want to enact a B2B (business to business) marketing plan. On the other hand, however, if you’re sending products straight to consumers, then you’ll want to do a B2C marketing plan.
If you’re focusing on a B2B format, you’ll have to contact the right person in the business. Most companies’ websites have individual contacts for this kind of thing on the contact page or the FAQs page. Sometimes the contact info is found at the bottom of the home page as well.
B2C formats require a customer analysis and target market research to study demographics, historical interest, similar interests for customers, and where potential customers spend most of their time.
Find your format
Once you know who you’re marketing to, you have to go and find them; you cannot wait for them to come to you. So the best way to create a right marketing strategy yourself is going where your target audience is.
Online, one place to go to is social media. However, creating a social media account for your business is not enough — you have to position yourself in front of your potential customers by getting in their line of sight. Facebook groups, running ads, networking on Twitter and Instagram, proper use of hashtags — this is how you find followers and watchers online.
Additionally, other formats outside of social media are important. In some industries, print press is still effective. Find the publications that your followers read and see if you can write for them. Research the websites they use and buy ads. Go to them — and they will come to you.
Once you get your format prepared, stay active in promoting your product or service. It’s very important that people are aware of your brand (called “brand awareness”, of course), because loyal customers are a result of your consistency.
Your products matter, of course, but they need to be seen by people; to do that you need to keep meeting them where they congregate. Businesses consistently see an increase in traffic on their company websites when they are able to stay active, merely by regularly posting and updating, writing press releases, or creating commercials.
In the end, what really matters is that you stay consistent. Keep yourself in the public’s scope of vision.
Have you got a right marketing strategy?
How did you manage to develop your right marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments.
About the author:
Brooke Faulkner is your typical internet nerd. She loves all things technical and is an avid consumer of science podcasts (eh hem, radiolab anyone?). When she’s not writing, she can usually be found chasing her boys around the house with the vacuum. Follow her on Twitter.