December 1, 2016
This article is courtesy of BusinessCollective, featuring thought leadership content by ambitious young entrepreneurs, executives & small business owners.
Creating and implementing a smart marketing plan can be a challenge for small businesses, particularly when they’re spending the bulk of their day putting out fires, dealing with employees, and making sales. But as the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
It’s important to carve out some time to develop your marketing plan. In the end, it could help you accomplish your traction goals and build your business before you know it.
Define Your End Goal
You don’t start a road trip without knowing where you’re going. You have to pick a destination and determined what you need to get there, using directions and landmarks along the way. This same idea can apply to a marketing strategy.
When you want to get publicity for your startup, ask yourself what goals you want to accomplish and when you want these milestones completed. Once you have that end goal, you can start mapping out a course of action, including marketing tactics designed to reach that destination. For example, generating a certain increase in website traffic, add a specific number of followers on social media or convert a defined number of leads into customers. Plan your destination to reach your goal.
Determine Your Target Audience
No matter how great your idea is, you still need customers to make your startup a success. But who are your customers? Obviously, you’re not catering to everyone. You have to define and target the customers that need what you’re offering, and structure your strategy towards them.
Start by identifying the basic demographics of your audience, such as age, location and gender,” said Tommy Walker, a blogger for Crazy Egg. “Learn how to talk to your audience by knowing things like their personalities or shopping behavior. Establish your brand’s personality after conducting research.”
By using this advice, you can figure out who’s interested in your startup. These tips will help you to better understand their needs for reliability and technical support, so you’ll be able to respond favorably to their specific needs.
Assemble Your All-Star Team
To launch and maintain an amazing marketing strategy, you need to have the right team. This means people who can add diverse strengths and skills to your startup. You’re going to need a content writer, developer, social media manager, web designer and customer service professional, at the very least.
“Identify the positions that you need to fill in order to achieve goals,” said John Rampton, the CEO of Due. “Decide if you are going to hire contractors, freelancers or full-time employees. Identify each candidate. Be well-prepared before interviewing each candidate. Conduct a post-hire assessment.”
As a small business owner, this may be more challenging because resources are limited. To save money, you can try alternative working arrangements. For example, if you have an intern who’s a social media whiz, or a partner experienced with coding, then use those resources until you have the chance to expand your team.
Create Value With Content
It’s one thing to explain what your business does, but it’s another to explain your value to customers and how you’re filling a specific need or desire.
Launching a content marketing campaign will take work but it can help expand your brand and message. A campaign involves increasing engagement, building a community, becoming a trusted authority figure in your industry, and driving traffic to your website or storefront. You can accomplish this by creating content via blog posts, tutorials, how-to guides, white papers, eBooks, video, podcasts, and webinars.
Advertise Your Business on the Cheap
Marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, you may be able to spend as little as $15 per week. By using Jason Parks‘, CEO of the Media Captain, low-cost marketing strategy advice, you can achieve goals at an affordable price.
“Purchase retargeting advertisements for $0.70. Consider Bing Ads, which may not be as popular as Google AdWords, but they’re 33.5% cheaper,” said Parks. “Advertise on Facebook for around $1 a day. Reach out to bloggers and influencers in your industry. In most cases, this actually doesn’t cost you anything more than your time. I suggest to use a tool like BuzzSumo to get started.”
Creating that killer marketing strategy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but does require your time, effort and focus. Once you make the investment, the return will start coming in quickly and in large measure.
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