When marketing your small business, the point is to reach as many potential customers as possible, right? Let’s face it, marketing can be a very expensive and daunting task. That’s probably why you are here. Why spend your valuable time and money on marketing schemes on spreading your message to the wrong people.
You cannot simply shoot from the hip when it comes to your advertising strategies. Throwing spaghetti against a wall and hoping it sticks is not an efficient or results-driven way to market your business. Being intentional in your marketing (just like any other part of your business) is the key to success when building your brand.
Are you completely lost?
Marketing is so stressful, when in reality it is a very easy topic. It seems like more and more people try to pour on the syrup of complication, when in reality it is quite simple.
Let’s step back just one second and review what we know.
Marketing is the process of promoting the value and uniqueness of a small business, while making people aware of you and what you do.
So instead of telling you the how and what, we are going to focus on the why. It is useless to attempt to achieve something without knowing why you should/could/would be doing it in the first place. So this article is going to help show you the reasons why you need to put work into your marketing plan before execution.
Have you seen this quote before from Coco Chanel:
Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.
Think about this quote for a second. What does it mean to your small business marketing strategy? If you are wanting to create raving fans, build an exceptional brand, and inform your consumer… you must take the proper time to plan and create a strategy before executing.
The Marketing Strategy Foundation
Let’s take a second to spell out the pillars of marketing: what, where, how, & who. Before you even begin to use valuable time and money to promote your brand, you must be clear and specific to each one of these pillars.
So now, let’s take it one step further to expand on these pillars:
• What is your Message?
What are you trying to communicate to your audience? This is where you need to put most of your time, as a message you might feel important can be lost very quickly if you are not specific and intentional in what you are communicating. Is this message valuable information? Content driven? Instructional? A right-hook with a powerful call-to-action?
• How will you deliver your message?
Here, we are going to combine the where and the how in your strategy. In short, what medium will you be using to get your point across. Think about this for a minute… you wouldn’t want to post an entire blog on Facebook, right? That is what your “blog” is for!
You would promote your blog on Facebook though. Should this message be conveyed in a physical form, such as a brochure? Newsletter? Should you communicate through giving a seminar on your message?
• Who is your Target Market?
If you take one thing from this article, this is the number one key to success. Do you know who you are communicating to? Who your brand is really meant for? Spend some time to really think about this. Your information will mean nothing to someone who has no business in viewing it.
A realistic example is this: I don’t expect a Fortune 500 director of marketing to read this article. Why? Because I am writing for the small business entrepreneur that is looking for advice, resources, solutions, and help on how to better their brand and create raving fans.
So let’s break this down into four relevant steps that you can use to plan any campaign in your small business:
Step 1. Develop a message
Why do you do what you do? Who are you exactly? What do you want to communicate to your potential fans that will develop an honest and trusting relationship? What values does your business have? How can you best describe these topics in words?
Step 2. Define your target market
Who is your ideal customer? Who do you want to do business with on a regular basis? Where do they shop for other items? What careers do they have? What is their age? What does their family situation look like? Where would they place your services if they ranked their “wants” by necessity?
Step 3. Perfect the message
Now that you know who you are trying to connect with, touch up your message to cater to that market. Remember, the message must be relevant and intentional to meet your target markets’ needs.
Step 4. Medium Selection
Now that you know who you are talking to and what/how you will be saying, it is time to choose where you will be presenting that message. Think about where your target market spends their time, both online and offline. Choose where you will be communicating to them in a way that is convenient for them.
Have you ever thought of your marketing this way?
Most startup entrepreneurs do not strategize and plan before they promote their brand, and this is why the majority of them fail in their campaign. Having the right message to the wrong market will never spell success. Same idea when it comes to having the wrong message in the right medium.
Time and money are two valuable things, so let’s make sure that you are spending the time before to be intentional in your marketing plan. By following the steps above, in that order, you will see your marketing efforts hit the mark every time.