Written by Guest | Last Updated November 8th, 2019Our goal here at BestCompany.com is to provide you with the honest, reliable information you need to find companies you can trust.
Guest Post by Matt Smith
Marketing your business means more than just running a few ads online and offline. According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Simply put, marketing is a process businesses use to entice people to buy what you’re selling.
A successful marketing campaign involves comprehensive research, a consistent strategy, and a solid project management system. However, many small business owners struggle with developing an effective marketing campaign. Small business owners also think that only large companies need formal marketing plans, but this isn’t the case at all.
Consumers prefer small businesses because they can relate to them on a more personal level. But in order for consumers to notice you, you’ll need to effectively market your business. To kickstart your marketing efforts, here are four basic principles you should follow:
1. Define your target market
You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to know that marketing your company to people who aren’t willing to purchase from you is a total waste of time and money. But the question is, are you proactively marketing your business to your target market? Your target market or target audience is the people who are most likely to purchase from you.
A marketing campaign wouldn’t be successful if you don’t know your target audience and your marketplace. It’s important to identify your customers, their needs and wants, and assess what you can do to address these needs.
Make sure to paint a picture of your ideal buyer – the more specific the better. List their demographics, motivation to purchase, and concerns. You can use this valuable information to create effective marketing strategies that will attract your target market.
By creating a comprehensive profile of your clients, you’ll be able to tailor your marketing message to your core customers. Without proper knowledge of your client base, you’ll end up creating an ineffective message. Defining your target market allows you to craft a compelling marketing strategy that will hit the heart of your customers.
2. Understand customer behavior
Once you’ve identified your target market, the next thing you have to do is to understand how they behave. Understanding consumer behavior involves studying the following factors:
- How consumers think and feel towards alternative products/services (your competitors)
- How they research and shop
- Behavior while selecting different alternatives
- External factors that influence their buying behavior
Simply put, you need to know what consumers are buying and why they are buying what they buy in order to market your products/services in a way that appeals to consumers. Even if you put your products next to your competitors’, the right advertising and placement will compel your audience to purchase from you.
3. Familiarize yourself with the marketing mix's four Ps
The marketing mix is an essential part of every marketing strategy. It helps you determine the right type of products and services to offer and how to effectively market these products and services. The marketing mix is composed of 4 Ps: product, price, place, and promotion, and these four variables are codependent on one another. Your marketing plan will only be effective if all four elements work together perfectly.
To give you a brief overview, here are the 4 Ps in detail:
For your company to succeed, the products and services you offer should be able to meet your market’s needs or wants. In other words, make sure that the products and/or services can solve consumer problems.
The product marketing mix includes your packaging, use, design, features, quality, and color. It’s important to carefully define the products/services you offer and make sure to specify how it solves customer needs.
The price is the amount of money you have to pay to purchase goods/services from a company. It’s important to offer fair, yet competitive pricing across all your distribution channels. Technology makes it easier for business owners to compare competitor prices with just a click away, regardless of where you’re located.
The prices of your goods/services will determine the supply and demand, as well as profit margins. Make sure to consider the following factors that affect pricing:
- Market share
- Competitive promos and prices
- Branding and quality
- Customers’ opinions on product value and fair pricing
- And other offer-related variables
Place not only refers to the location, but it also pertains to the distribution and delivery. It includes the location of your business — whether online or offline, distributors, and logistics. Place makes your products or services accessible to your target market. As technology progresses, location can be through phone, chat, social media, digital, retail, and other multi-channel choices.
Find out how your customers will search for your business. For the best results, you can conduct a survey of both potential and current customers. You can ask them where they are physically located, how they are using their devices, and which location option is most accessible to them, such as social media, website, physical location, etc.
This part of the marketing mix involves incentivizing your target market to purchase from you by using strategic communication, content, and messaging. Aside from offering special deals, you can create a promotion that makes your company more memorable.
4. Build lasting relationships with your customers
People prefer to purchase from companies they know and trust. For this reason, it’s important to cultivate lasting relationships with your clients. Your advertising efforts can only go so far, given that your customers are bombarded with advertising information every single day. Even if they need or want what you’re selling, they will most likely forget your Facebook ad or dump your newsletter into the trash. For better results, make sure to find ways to stay in touch with your clients. Your customers will appreciate it if you do the following things:
- Exceed their expectations
- Continue to provide value
- Make them feel special
- Maintain a positive attitude
- Focus on improving communication
Marketing is a huge part of your company. Without it, you won’t be able to reach potential customers and generate more business. Make sure to add these principles to your marketing strategy in order to scale your business.
Matt Smith is a Content Marketing Contributor at SMB Compass. A writer by day and a reader by night, he’s also a big music lover and foodie.