Marketing is becoming increasingly more complicated thanks to the myriad of options available to businesses. Do you focus all your efforts to grow a single platform, or do you make sure you cover all your bases? How often should you post? Three times a day or three times a week? Does sending email newsletters make a difference or is everything just going to junk mail? Is it worth it to spend money on FB ads? Is it necessary to spend money at all?
Marketers are faced with an endless amount of decisions and choices. It’s not hard to get overwhelmed and not know where to start.
This guide will walk you through the steps we use with clients to create strategies that feed valuable content to interested prospects, nurture those relationships until they become customers, and keep their loyalty strong over time.
#1 Select Your Ideal Audience
Your market audience are the people most likely to buy your products and services. They’re suffering from problems you can solve. They’re actively looking for advice and guidance. They’re looking for the answers you have to give.
In other words, they are your ideal customers to serve and sell to.
For example, as a college graduate and printed circuit board (PCB) enthusiast, I noticed that individuals like myself were completely overlooked by the large corporate PCB industry. Therefore Gerber Labs was founded on the idea of rolling out an ecommerce platform that would focus more on D2C rather than B2B clients.
Our research had determined that our ideal customer consisted of small businesses, startups, electrical engineering students, hobbyists, and individuals who needed to order small quantities of printed circuit boards (PCB).
The key to identifying your market audience is thorough research. You need to understand not only who your audience is but what their goals are as well. It is important to know their fears, dreams, challenges, obstacles, struggles, desires, challenges, goals, and struggles in order to market to them effectively.
Answer these questions to determine who your target market is:
- What gender does your ideal customer identify as?
- What is their age?
- What is their ethnicity?
- What is their average income?
- What are their favorite social media apps to use?
- Do they live in a particular kind of area?
- What problem are you helping them to solve?
- What are the top 3-5 things they struggle with when trying to solve this problem on their own?
- What are they hoping to get by solving this problem?
- What are some common fears they have about solving this problem?
- What alternative methods have they tried to solve this problem?
Create a document with all of your answers that you can refer to and edit over time as you learn more about your audience.
#2 Design A Brand That Appeals To Your Market Audience
Referring back to the document you created, consider what brands and companies your market audience already patronizes. Note any similarities in logo designs, names, and copy. Taking your audience’s preferences into account will inspire your overall style.
The first thing you should do is choose your colors. Stick with three main colors: a base, an accent, and a neutral. You’ll use your base color the most, so choose one that aligns with your brand’s style and attracts your audience. Second most popular color will be your accent, followed by your neutral.
Next up, your logo. Don’t just focus on how it looks, but also on how you can differentiate it from the crowd. You want to create something that draws customers in, but also presents your brand’s unique personality.
Last but not least, you need to choose a brand name. As important as it is to choose something that aligns with your services and targets your target audience, it is also prudent to keep it short. Do not go longer than three words to allow for easy branding on logos and other branding elements.
#3 Create A Strong Digital Presence
Every single day, people use the internet to connect, share, and find new information. In order for your target audience to find you online, you need a website and relevant social media accounts. You can also learn from your customers when you have a digital presence and begin nurturing the relationship by providing free content through blogs and social media posts.
In the beginning, it will take some work to set up your profile and get it in front of the right audiences, but once you have done that, it can be an excellent place to meet and connect with potential customers. Hire a web designer or marketing firm if you don’t have time to manage your online presence.
#4 Identify Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition distinguishes your product or service from others. It’s what separates you from the competition, and it’s why someone will select your product over another similar one.
In order to develop an effective marketing strategy, every company and brand needs to determine the value proposition. As soon as your unique strengths are clearly defined, you can use them in your branding, copy, and content to attract new customers. Your value proposition can also be used to compose your mission statement.
How do you come up with your value proposition? Ask yourself what makes you unique in comparison to your competition? Do you offer any features or benefits that your competitors do not? Do you offer a better solution than similar offers available in the market?
Even from the customer’s standpoint, you can ask this question: what does it mean to me? How can I benefit from this?
#5 Determine A Budget
When you’re just getting started, it’s easy to get carried away with the latest marketing tactics and tools. Although every dollar you spend on marketing feels like a long-term investment, you probably don’t want to invest all of your hard-earned cash into marketing. Setting a limit on how much you will spend will allow you to use the money for other projects in the future or for emergencies. You have to set yourself a budget before investing money in your marketing.
Start small and work your way up. A few dollars for advertising and gross strategies can help you figure out which ones are most effective. If your income increases over time, you will know where to put your dollars for the greatest impact.
A paid ad on social media can be created for as little as $1 a day, which is probably one of the most affordable options. In the beginning, that may not have the biggest impact, but it will give you more money to throw at your business while you’re still experimenting with what works.
#6 Be SMART & Set Goals
Experiments are an integral part of marketing. As the market changes, you’ll be constantly adjusting to your customers’ wants, needs, and desires. You can only measure the success of what you’re doing by setting goals and measuring your progress.
Instead of aimlessly posting here and there and hoping for results, focusing on a specific goal will result in a more immediate (and faster) return.
A SMART strategy can help you set marketing goals. That is:
Your motivation will remain high when you have clear objectives in mind. It is more inspiring and motivating to raise $10,000 within five months than to simply “make more money.” When it comes to being measurable, try to attach a number to your goal. Numbers don’t lie.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with breaking down a larger goal into smaller steps. Your motivation will remain for the long run if you do so. Start with $1,000 and work your way up rather than starting with $10,000.
Last but not least, you want to meet your goals on time. Set a deadline for yourself and make sure you meet it. You’re much more likely to achieve your goals if you have a deadline in mind, whether they’re long-term or short-term.