A new business is always an exciting prospect. Whether you’ve been in business before or you’re a start-up virgin, it’s always a buzz to be part of something new and full of potential. Creating sales/enquiries is going to be one of the most important things on your mind, as ultimately that’s what is going to drive the money into the business. According to The Telegraph, half of all businesses in the UK fail in the first 5 years. We believe efficient and accountable marketing strategies will help your business avoid that… Well, that or not buying a shiny new Ferrari in your first year.
Find out who your customers are
What do they read? What websites do they look up? What products do they buy? Do they live locally?
The more information you can find out about your market, the better. That’s not to say target everyone at once, as that might be impossible. Segment your categories down so that your audiences are easier to reach. Use Facebook ads, Twitter insights and Google’s Adwords tools to gain some information about the behaviours of your audience and what similar brands are doing.
For example, if you were marketing a new online fitness app aimed at offering unique weight loss videos you might come up with the following targeting characteristics to begin with –
- Age – 21 – 35
- Gender – Women
- Location – 50 miles radius from business location
In this case, we went onto The Body Coach’s Facebook page (someone who is a brilliant benchmark at marketing themselves) and reviewed the content posted, and a lot of comments were from younger women. That’s not to say men or older women wouldn’t be interested in the app, but segmenting down allows us to customise our marketing messages and therefore get messages across more effectively with less budget spend. You’re essentially trying harder to begin with, to save you time and lots of head scratching in the future. Check out the excellent Facebook page post below, encouraging customers/potential customers to engage and comment on the article, therefore spreading the viral reach on Facebook.
The hardest part is to now get yourself into the mindset of your target market. It’s incredibly important to not be stubborn in this scenario and really try to step into the shoes of your potential customers. What marketing messages would they want to see/hear?
Marketing goals to achieve business goals
Goals are often speculative, especially with new businesses. So if you’re setting marketing goals to go with your financial/business aims ensure they are both aspirational and achievable, don’t set yourself up to fail. Here are some examples of marketing goals you could use –
- Enquiry forms filled out
- Website views
- Social media followers
- Mailing list subscribers
- Keyword search engine rankings
Working towards sales figures is an almost impossible task for a marketeer, as there are too many things out of our control when it comes to dealing with enquiries and handling the sales process. So working towards marketing goals gives you positive and achievable targets that will lead to more business, whilst still working towards those financial targets.
Identifying your Marketing Mix
Your “Marketing Mix” is basically the range of activities and tools used in marketing your products or services. There’s so many options out there for you, that’s why working out your target market and goals is imperative in getting the right marketing mix for your business. Here’s some things to consider –
Now the dominant force in the marketing world, digital offers us new technology to make our marketing more effective and allows us to consistently critically analyse what we’re doing. It also gives us the ability to save time through automation and better targeting through online information gathering. For example, last month I wrote about why Email Marketing is awesome, and one of the great reasons to use emails is that it’s cheap, it can be highly personalised and it’ll save you time when communicating to your customers. Do it well, and you’ll impress your existing customers as well as attracting new ones. You can also segment your content to certain target markets (previously identified!), making the whole process seamless and effective.
That’s all well and good if people know about your business and its offerings, but what happens if you’re a brand new company? Well firstly you need to identify your budget spend, preferably monthly and in the next year. The more budget you have, the more targeted traffic you can essentially drive to your websites and social media pages using Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising, Twitter Advertising etc etc.
If your budget is small, focus on things you can do yourself. Manage your own social media pages helping to raise awareness of your brand, write blogs that give your target audience an insight into your products/services and get used to Mailchimp, a free email marketing tool (free up to a certain amount of subscribers).
Sounds cliché, but people buy from people. In B2B, networking is absolutely crucial in growing your own personal network and raising awareness of your business through simply talking to people about it (and about you, the business owner!). Even in B2C, networking is still important. Creating contacts with suppliers, potential resellers and bulk buyers can potentially transform your business. Whether it’s attending events, joining specific networking groups or simply reaching out to people via email with the hope of arranging a coffee meeting, meeting the right people can make a huge impact on your business early on.
The landscape of PR is changing with the newspaper dying a slow death, however the need for interesting and well written content has never been more important. A clever/relevant spin on a story can push it in to the public eye on a national or even international scale.
Often using social media as a tool to get the story out into the open, hoping that some influencers (people with loads of followers) will share and get on board with it is a good place to start. PR companies can help you deliver results, whilst if your budget is stretched try to start building up your own contacts and try to engage with influencers more regularly.
A quick example…
For example, if we go back to our fitness app… we need to get some paid subscribers on board. We’ve already forked out £15k for our app and have allocated a budget of £5k for the year for our marketing. How can we make the most of our budget? Well we definitely need a website and brand, maybe something simple like a nice looking one page site and blogging feature with a modern, fresh brand. There’s £2k gone. So that’s £3k left, £250 a month. This means you’re going to have to do the majority of it yourself, with a small amount of budget to play for advertising. If it was me I would plough all of that money into Facebook advertising and networking, and focus your time on blogging, email marketing and social media marketing to get people to subscribe. Offer incentives and free trials to get people on board, hooking them in and encouraging subscribes.
Track, review, repeat.
Now that you’ve identified who you need to reach and how you’re going to reach out to them, it’s time to do it! Set monthly plans that are realistic that you can stick to and review what you’re doing on a regular basis. Since there is some degree of guess work in marketing planning, you might find you got it wrong. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, as long as you learn from it! Ensure your company is flexible and reactive when it comes to your marketing mix.
Ensure that your marketing goals are being met, and if not, how come? Is your target market correct? Are you using the right means to reach out to them? There are plenty of tools available from Google, Facebook, Twitter and now even Instagram so you can review how well your marketing is performing. The more information you have to amend and improve your marketing campaigns, the more successful your business will be.