Marketing is complex. It encompasses a ton of different tactics, strategies, and disciplines. As a result, a basic understanding of where to start and how it works can be difficult. Learning the trade can be a never-ending experience, but if you have just started out marketing your own small business, the future of success in this area starts with solid foundations.
We have put together a few basic things to help start you out in the right direction.
Identify your USP
A unique selling proposition (USP) is the reason your customers will choose you and your offering over your competitors. It is important to understand what you do differently from the marketplace. Guesswork will get you nowhere.
Pinpointing your USP can require some soul searching. Firstly, define your product or service from the customer’s point of view and what specific benefits they might be seeking from buying your product above others. If you cannot immediately identify your USP, ask your customer directly.
A good example of USP and subsequent positioning is Nike. Nike’s USP lies in positioning their products for the use of professional athletes. Nike understands their ideal customers desire for performance and empowerment which is why their positioning strategy has made them a global brand.
Identify your ideal customer
Having an ideal customer, which your small business can direct marketing efforts towards is vital.
It is likely that only a proportion of the population will be in the market for your products or services. Mass marketing or trying to sell your product/ service to everyone will only see you going backward. The competition and market saturation makes it difficult for a small business to stand out and attract customers. If you target everyone, you’ll find it an uphill battle to fight through the noise and attract quality leads to the business. It is more efficient to put your focus into a specific target market. Go more detailed in the information on your target market, looking at things like behaviours, communication preferences, even their lifestyle.
Start by noting down the key data on your target market:
- what’s their age
- where do they live
- what are their interests?
- what is their personality?
- what do they search online?
- what makes them tick?
- what triggers them to look for a situation?
Challenges and Problems
- what is keeping them up at night?
- what are the problems they will face in the future?
Knowing this information will enable you to paint a good picture of who your ideal client is and put yourself into their shoes. When it comes to marketing your brand, it’s not about you. It’s about your customer, their problem, pains, and goals.
Develop your brand
A brand goes beyond your colours and logo. A brand exists in everything that you do, how you communicate with your customers and how you will carry yourself as an individual and a business.
Perhaps to convince you that you need to keep a close eye on your brand I will swap the word ‘branding’ with the word ‘reputation’. You care about your reputation in the market, right? Your brand, like your reputation, is a long-term investment. And, a well-articulated brand, although seemingly intangible, will increase the value of your business. A strong brand holds monetary value, the McDonalds brand is worth $USD126.04 billion.
Companies who first, understand their brand and second, live their brand consistently, are the companies who will realise the true value of a brand.
Where do you start?
- Get all the fancy stuff ( a logo, fonts, colours, tonality)
- Get a brand style guide so you can use them consistently
- Create your brand messaging
- Be true to the above
Make a commitment to marketing
Branding, promotion, product, content, research, customer service, advertising, and price – is all marketing. With all of these marketing options out there, it is understandable that small business can get overwhelmed.
It can be tempting to try and do it all. There are so many exciting tactics and strategies, and I’m sure you have big visions for them. But let’s peel that enthusiasm back a few layers and focus first on just making the commitment.
Set some time in your calendar once a week, or once a day, whatever suits you, to dedicate to your marketing.
After all, how will you know where you’ve gone if you don’t know where you are going. A good rule of thumb when determining your goals is to be SMART: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based goals.
What are your more immediate goals? Setting goals for the next 90 days is a good place to start. And what are your long-term objectives for the next 2 years? And how will your marketing bring you closer to them?
Failing to plan means you are planning to fail, so write down your goals and hold yourself and your team accountable to them.
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to marketing your small business. This is just the starting line. Don’t get caught up in all the fancy marketing trends and tactics. Take it one point at a time and if you have any questions, get in touch with the team at Aptus Accounting and Advisory.