Marketing is important to any business whether they are new or established, small or large.

Advertising makes potential customers aware of your business and it reminds existing customers that you exist. It’s always important to stay on top of your marketing to ensure that you maximise your businesses potential.

Marketing however, is not straight forward and there is a lot to think about. Do a quick Google search and you will find thousands of websites, articles, books and videos all looking to tackle this problem and the volume of information is overwhelming. With that much information it’s a struggle to know where to start.

Hopefully the below 3 step process should give you a good starting point for your marketing.

homework

This is where you need to put in a little bit of time thinking about your business or product and really finding out what your marketing needs to do for you. You need to know your product or business inside out and identify a few key things before you go anywhere near coming up with marketing ideas.

Below are a few things to consider in this step of the process:

Identify your business or services

Ask yourself some important questions to really get to know your product/service inside and out so you are prepared going forward.

  • What does your product/service actually do?
  • How is this of benefit to a potential customer?
  • Who will benefit from this product/service?
  • How do you differ from what’s already out there?
  • How do you stand out from the crowd?

Work out who your target audience is

There is no such thing as one size fits all. Marketing needs to be focused in order to work and if you aren’t targeting the right people then your marketing will fail.

  • Who is going to use your product?
  • What things do those people like?
  • What appeals to them?
  • What is the best way that you can get in touch with them?
  • Are they tech savvy or are they more traditional?

Do a SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats and it is vital to working out a marketing strategy.

  • Strengths – Find out your strengths to know what key elements to push in your advertising and what is going to make you stand out from competitors.
  • Weaknesses – Your weaknesses will let you know what areas to shy away from marketing focus and think about improving in the future.
  • Opportunities – Knowing what opportunities are out there will give you the ability to take advantage of the latest trends and ensure that your marketing is doing exactly what it needs to do when it needs to be done.
  • Threats – Forewarned is forearmed’  so with that in mind find out now what possible threats to your business/products are out there. Knowing now means that you can be prepared to deal with them later.

plan

By now you should know who your target audience is, what strengths you are going to push to them with your marketing and where the best places to market to them are. With that in mind its time to move onto the next step.

Get your Objectives written down

In order for your marketing to work then you need to know what it is you want to achieve so now is the time to set your objectives. Having clear and written objectives will keep you on track as you move forward with this process and here are a few things to keep in mind when creating them:

  • Be realistic – Don’t set unachievable goals right from the start or you are doomed to fail and you will have wasted your time and money. But at the same time don’t aim too low. You need to strike a balance that will both challenge you and promote your product/service effectively without overreaching or underachieving.
  • Make your goals specific – Vague goals aren’t going to help you pick a direction and focus your marketing. Be specific and keep your focus.
  • Ensure your goals are measurable – You need to be able to tell if your marketing has been a success or not so ensure that you can measure your goals that are trackable with things like Google Analytics or Call Tracking.
  • Set a deadline – Time is important so set a solid date of when you need your marketing to go live and plan your time accordingly.
  • Figure out a budget – Don’t set yourself a budget that is going to break the bank but don’t skimp either. Good marketing is going to pay for itself so keep that in mind when you are working out your budget in this phase.

Your ready, your set, now go

By now your research is done, your goals are written down and its time to get your marketing sorted.

  • What medium – Look back at your research and take a look at your target audience. What medium is going to reach them best? Younger audiences are going to respond well to social media and online marketing. Older audiences may be more receptive to more traditional medias like print, radio and TV. Maybe you are marketing to other businesses in which case you need to buy some relevant data and send out targeted emails. Trust your research and pick the right medium for your product.
  • Be professional – No matter where you are advertising, you need to look professional. Here your knowing your strengths and weaknesses come in handy. If you don’t have an eye for design then get a professional to design your adverts for you. If you can’t think of copy for a radio ads then search out people who do. Weigh up your strengths and your budget and find the right balance of professional help so that your marketing can be the most effective it can be.
  • Be creative – Creativity stands out from the crowd so make sure that you are doing something different with every marketing campaign to really get the maximum effect. Think outside the box to promote the strengths of our product and give potential customers something the have never seen before.

Go live on time

Don’t miss your deadlines. You’ve identified the best time to start your campaign when you were looking at opportunities so don’t miss out by being late. Get your marketing out there so you can maximise your returns.

evaluate

Marketing is an ongoing project and has to be in order for your company to be successful. With that in mind as soon as your marketing campaign has finished its time to start evaluating how well you did.

  • Was the campaign a success?
  • What worked and what didn’t?
  • Where can we improve in the future?
  • What have we learned from this experience?

If you’ve done step one and two right you are going to get positive responses to these questions and a great many details that together are going to make your future marketing much more effective. If you add your new knowledge to these steps then you are on your way to a good start with marketing your business.