By Thom Scott, MBA on Jan 31, 2024
If you are starting a new business, no doubt you have a vision of your future success. All the stars seem aligned, you have prepared, you have the capital you need, and you are ready to conquer the world. But the sad reality is that most startups fail, and more often than not, it’s due to marketing mistakes. But before you jump in, take these marketing steps toward business success and a long-lived endeavor.
1. Give Marketing Its Due
A lot of business owners think that marketing is no more than common sense. They decide to save a few bucks and just do their marketing themselves. Or maybe they bring in a professional marketer, but not until their business is ready to open and products have already been developed or chosen.
But marketing today has become so complex that you need marketing expertise that has been tempered by fire throughout ever stage of developing your business, products and services – not just to launch. Digital marketing is data-driven and very reliant on close analysis and monitoring. And there are so many aspects to marketing from SEO to content marketing that it’s not possible for one person to competently do it all. So, get the help when you need, and get it from the beginning.
When building a business or running one, you need consider how to entice a specific audience at every step. “Build it and they will come” is not a way to achieve business success.
Too often a small business owner will have a passion and open a business to pursue that passion – without considering who their audience is or how to market to them. Even large companies often do this, particularly companies that are driven by their engineering departments.
You need to closely study what your audience wants and needs, and then develop your business to best serve them, offering them value they can’t get from your competitors. What sets your business apart could be any number of things, from your higher quality products to your sterling customer service.
If you don’t plan where you want to go and how to get there, how are you ever going to arrive? Yet so many businesses don’t even bother to put a marketing plan on paper. To be clear, you need both a broad marketing plan and detailed action plans for your marketing.
A marketing plan is an overview of your goals, brand, audience, market position, strategies and more. You will want to adjust it as time goes on, but you won’t be tweaking it constantly.
Action plans, on the other hand, lay out specific steps to marketing initiatives that will enable you to reach your goals. Action plans will be constantly updated and new ones created for specific projects.
Without a marketing plan and action plans, you are flailing in the dark. A marketing plan enables you to keep your eye on the ball and your chosen audience. Action plans help you develop very specific methods to reach and appeal to your audience, and motivate them to convert.
It’s easy to focus on getting more and more customers when you are getting started. But don’t lose sight that your first customers are the bedrock of your brand. Their reviews, their social media posts and comments and their casual mentions to friends and colleagues are especially critical to business success in your early days.
Ask their opinions in surveys, give them special offers, engage with them on social media, and consider inviting them to either real-world or virtual events. Develop loyalty programs. Brainstorm about what you can do to make them feel valued.
How many commercial messages do people see or hear each day? Depending on the source, somewhere between 3,000 and 10,000. Suffice it to say, it’s quite a lot. You need a solid marketing strategy and precise implementation to break through all that clutter.
You need to reach people on a variety of channels until they recognize your brand and understand its benefits. You will often hear that someone must hear your message at least seven times before taking action. So, you need to integrate your marketing and use multiple channels. And you need to send a consistent message whether it’s through email marketing, social media, advertising such as Google Ads and Facebook advertising, SEO, public relations, events, website or any other marketing channel. Use as many channels and types of marketing that you can.
It’s almost impossible for one person to have all the marketing expertise needed today. There are many more channels than in the past, and marketing is much more sophisticated. A business owner rarely has time to develop marketing strategies and implement them while also doing the million other tasks needed to run a business. So be sure to get the help you need in multiple types of marketing to ensure your business success.
With digital marketing, you can track the results of your marketing efforts much more closely than was ever possible in the past. Seeing these results, you can immediately tweak your marketing to make it more effective.
There are many key performance indicators (KPIs) you can set up for any marketing campaign, and how you select them is critical. This is something learned over time. This isn’t something to be left to guesswork. You need to choose the right factors and analyze them correctly over time in order to improve your reach and your impact.
Money is tight for small businesses, especially startups. But while you don’t want to spend more than you must, if you don’t spend enough on marketing to get the job done, people won’t learn about your business or try your products and services. When marketing mistakes and inadequate marketing are key factors in business failure, businesses must be sure they are spending enough to reach and influence their audiences.
That doesn’t mean you need to spend on everything. Decide what marketing tools and channels will best showcase your business. Perhaps it’s a well-designed and maintained website, social media, SEO and Google Ads. It depends on your business. But, as one example, it’s not going to help your business to buy Google Ads but not spend enough to reach and influence your prospects.
While you run your business, consider enabling Umbrella Local’s experts to help you with your marketing. Avail yourself of a free consultation to discuss your business needs with one of our Umbrella Local Experts. To schedule a free consultation, complete the form on our website or call (646)440-1426.
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