Identifying your target market, developing a unique proposition, and choosing your channels are all important steps in marketing your business.`
Discover the eight basic steps you need to follow to market your business.
Conduct market research
Market research is a critical part of developing a marketing strategy. It’s about gathering information to gain insight into your customers’ thoughts, buying patterns, and locations. Additionally, market research can help you make preliminary sales forecasts, monitor market trends and keep an eye on what your competitors are doing.
Profile your target markets
Trying to promote your product or service to everyone can be costly and inefficient. Grouping or segmenting prospects based on certain characteristics will help focus your marketing efforts.
Typically, segmentation is based on the following factors:
- Where do they live?
- Where do they work?
- Level of education
- What is the main reason they use your product or service?
- How does your particular brand appeal to them?
- How much are they using your product or service?
- Where do they usually get information about your type of product or service?
- Lifestyle and values
- What is their family situation?
- What do they value in their lives?
- What are their hobbies and interests?
- Do they have children?
- Do they have pets?
Your target market should have demand for your product or service and be willing to pay for your offer.
Identify your unique selling proposition (USP)
USP is the only reason your customers buy from you, not your competitors – it sets your business apart. It is important to define your different practices and be able to communicate them to potential clients. Often, this reflects your particular knowledge or skills.
Your USP may be offering new or unique products or providing exceptional service. Start developing your USP by answering the following questions:
- What do you like most about your products and services?
- What special skills or knowledge do you have?
- What makes your customers come to you instead of your competitors?
- How can your customers benefit from purchasing your product or service?
- When you describe your business to strangers, what aspects do you typically emphasize?
Develop your business brand
Every business, no matter how big or small, may need a brand. A brand is more than just a logo, color or tagline. A clear brand emotionally connects with your target customers and communicates who you are, what you stand for and what you can offer.
Choose your marketing avenues
While there are many available, consider your target audience when deciding which to use.
- A business website
- Social media
- Brochures and flyers
- Networking events
- Print advertising
- Word of mouth
- Cold calling
- Letter drops.
Set your goals and budget
Marketing objectives will help you define what you want to achieve with your marketing campaign. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
You also need to allocate a budget for your marketing activities. Your marketing budget needs to include the following elements:
- website development and maintenance
- search engine optimisation strategy
- design of branding
- printing of promotional material (business cards, brochures, signage, etc)
- donations and sponsorships
- employing staff to undertake marketing activities.
Nurture your loyal customers
Your customers are the key to your success, so it’s important to take care of them and encourage loyalty. Providing great customer service keeps people coming back and sets you apart from your competitors.
Strategies to build loyalty in customers include:
- Communicate with clients regularly via social media, blogs or e-news
- providing after-sale follow up
- delivering on your promises
- Going the extra mile to deliver benefits beyond initial expectations
- Use feedback and complaints as opportunities to improve service
- listening to customers
- Train staff on customer service and basic sales processes.
Monitor and Review
It is important to regularly monitor and review your marketing campaigns to determine whether they are delivering expected results (such as increased sales). Initially, you should review your marketing plan every three months to ensure your campaign supports your strategy. Once your business becomes more mature, look at your plans when you launch a new product or service, when a new competitor enters the market, or when an issue arises that affects your industry. You can also explore other avenues of enhancing your product’s visibility. Creating a mobile app is a great way to do this, and can serve as a great medium to grow your business.
Monitoring activities may include periodically (monthly) reviewing your sales data or monitoring customer activity during advertising campaigns. You can also access and review free analytics tools to determine the effectiveness of your social media or website activity.