Business success is inextricably linked to success in marketing – you can’t have one without the other. Even if you have a stellar product or service, it won’t make you money unless other people know about it. It’s through marketing that you put your brand out there and allow customers and clients to get to know you.
Marketing can be a challenge, especially if you’re an upcoming business with a limited budget. You may not be able to hire a full-fledged marketing team or consult with an expert. Don’t let that hold you back, though. You could be your own marketing department and propel yourself to success (by yourself or with a small supporting team like Times of Rising). Countless business owners have done it, and so can you. It will involve extra work, experimentation, and learning, but it’s very doable.
In this guide, we offer practical advice on how you could be your own marketing department. We start with some critical basics every business owner needs to know and end with useful suggestions.
Marketing is an art – and you need your own unique go-to strategy
Marketing is more of an art than hard science. There is no fixed, guaranteed method you can follow to draw customers or clients to you. What works for other brands may not work for you, and vice versa. Your primary goal should be to come up with a unique, workable marketing strategy to follow, which highlights the marketing-related steps you need to take to achieve your marketing-related goals. Crafting relevant goals will be a part of your journey.
Reading up on the 4 P’s of marketing – product, price, place, and promotion – can help you devise an appropriate strategy. Essentially, your goal is to promote the right product at the right price, in the right place (and time).
To get it right, you’ll need to research the target market, effective promotion methods, price points, and more. You will have to find new ways to underline how your product or service is different. You’ll have to pinpoint your target market and understand what your customers are looking for. Finally, you’ll have to integrate content and digital marketing to ensure your message reaches the appropriate audience.
Below, we offer suggestions on coming up with a strategy that works for your unique business:
Get to know the market and your ideal audience
Your marketing strategy will rely heavily on market conditions and your target ideal audience. An ideal customer, if you are new to marketing, is someone who would be the most beneficial to your business. Some questions to ask and answer:
- How many competitors exist in your niche, and what are they doing (in a marketing sense and otherwise)?
- What’s the average price for a product or service like yours?
- Who would most benefit from your product or service?
- What pain points is your product going to solve and how?
If you know your audience, you’ll know how best to market your product or service to them. Some suggestions include identifying your ideal customers, interviewing them, keeping an eye on your competitors, researching marketing-related trends, and coming up with a solid marketing plan of action.
Consider your budget – start small
You may be tempted to go big and do everything the big brands are doing – like creating a fancy new website, setting up multiple ad campaigns, hiring social media influencers, and putting up big billboards of your product or service everywhere. We recommend conserving your money and focusing your efforts, at least at the beginning. Figure out one or two avenues of approach that would give you the biggest bang for the buck (high ROI), and then pursue them. If you do too much, you may burn through your funds too quickly.
Create suitable marketing goals
Marketing goals are the results you want to achieve with your marketing-related efforts. It’s important to be realistic when setting suitable goals. Indeed advises that you
set up SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Some examples of marketing goals to draw inspiration from include:
- Raising awareness of a new product or service
- Making your website more popular
- Generating new leads
- Heightening your online presence
Craft a “message” that appeals to your ideal audience
message is what you’re going to say to your audience to get them interested in your product or service. With your marketing message, you speak your customers’ language and highlight why they’d be the perfect fit for your brand. Furthermore, you also demonstrate why your product or service is different and superior to the other options out there. Keep in mind that modern-day customers are smarter and have access to unlimited information ( the internet) – overselling may hurt your reputation.
Creating a suitable message may take some experimentation and research. You can draw inspiration from your competitors as well as the brands you admire. Knowing your audience’s likes, dislikes, and preferences is the key to crafting a message that resonates.
Share it over the right “channels”
Your channels are the tools and platforms you use to communicate with your
audience, says Hubspot. If you’d be cold-calling to generate leads, the phone would be your channel. If you’re releasing advertisements online, it’d be the internet (or social media). For the best results, pick a channel that your audience likes, uses often, and finds easily accessible. Some suggestions:
- Social media: Social media is cheap and, more importantly, effective. You can use it to talk to people not just locally, but also in your state, nationally, and even internationally.
- Video: Videos allow you to share your story in a fun, engaging way. It’s easy for people to connect with you via video. More importantly, they can see for themselves what you’re all about.
- Website (SEO): Having a website in this day and age is a necessity. It doesn’t have to be slick, necessarily – professional and informative works. With SEO, you can make your website (and business) noticeable.
- Offline: Finally, marketing in the real, physical world is still alive and kicking and remains effective. Some options to explore are business cards, direct mail, flyers, and print ads.
Did it work? Check the results
Once you’ve delivered your message to your audience via an appropriate channel, it’s time to measure the results. Did it bring you any new customers? Did they buy from you? Every channel has its own relevant metric to measure such as organic traffic for website SEO and follower count for social media. If your metrics aren’t as good as you’d like, you need to tweak your strategy. If they’re good, there’s always room for improvement.
Use apps and tools to make your life easier
As a parting tip, we encourage you to use marketing apps or tools. They can not only help you set up a full-fledged marketing plan, but they can also simplify or automate many of your marketing-related processes, from customer relationship management to results measurement. Plezi offers a list of suitable apps that are worth checking out.
If you follow the process outlined here, you should have no trouble in being your own marketing department. You don’t necessarily have to do it all alone – there are agencies you can work with if you have the budget or freelancers you could utilize for basic (or advanced) tasks. Every business founder is their own marketing department at the beginning (before they manage to set up an official one). You can do the same.