Here are 8 important steps in marketing your business.
Market research is an important part of developing your market strategy. Market research is about gathering information that gives insight into your customers’ thinking, buying patterns, and location. Also, market research can also help you undertake an initial sales forecast, monitor market trends and keep an eye on your competition.
Your target market should have a need for your product or service and be willing to pay for your offer.
It can be costly and ineffective when trying to promote your product or service to everyone. Grouping or segmenting your potential customers based on certain characteristics can help to focus your marketing efforts.
Generally, segmentation is based on factors such as:
• Geography – location
• Demographics – age, gender, income, occupation
• Behaviour – loyalty, attitude, readiness to buy
• Lifestyle – social class, personality, personal values
A USP is the unique reason your customers buy from you and not your competitors. This is what makes your business stand out. It’s important to define what you do differently. You must be able to convey that to potential customers.
Your USP may be having a new or unique offering or providing exceptional service.
Start developing your USP by answering the following questions:
• What do you like most about your products and services?
• What special skills do you have?
• What makes your customers come to you and not your competitors?
• How do your customers benefit when purchasing your products or services?
Every business likely needs to have a brand. A brand is more than a logo, colour or tagline. A well-articulated brand emotionally connects with your target customers. It also conveys who you are, what you stand for and what you can deliver.
It’s important to consider your target audience when you are determining which marketing avenues to use.
Your options include a business website, social media, blogging, brochure and flyers, networking events, print advertising, word of mouth, cold calling and letter drops.
Setting marketing goals will help you to define what you want to achieve through your marketing activities. Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based.
You will also need to set aside a budget to your marketing activities. Your marketing budget will need to include these things:
• Website development and maintenance
• Search engine optimization strategy
• Design of branding
• Printing of promotional material (business cards, brochures, etc)
• Donations and sponsorships
• Employing staff to undertake marketing activities.
Your customers are the key to your success. It is very important to look after them and encourage loyalty. Providing outstanding customer service can keep people coming back. This will set you apart from your competitors too.
Ways to build loyalty in customers are:
• Regular communication with customers through social media and blogs.
• Provide an after-sale follow up.
• Deliver on your promises.
• Go the ‘extra mile’. Provide benefits that exceed initial expectations.
• Use any feedback and complaints as an opportunity to improve.
• Listen to your customers.
• Train your staff in customer service and basic sales processes.
It is important to regularly monitor and review your marketing activities to determine whether they are achieving the outcome you want. You should review your marketing plan every three months. This will ensure your activities are supporting your strategy. When your business becomes more known, it is important to review your plan when you introduce a new product or service and if a new competitor joins the market or if an issue occurs and affects your industry.
These are 8 important steps when it comes to marketing your business.