Marketing Strategy for a New Business
If you’re a start-up or new small business trying to determine the best way to make your business grow, get ready because we’re about to hit you with a very large truth bomb.
Let’s be honest, when you’re first starting a business there’s a thousand and one things to do. And it’s usually up to the owner/founder/CEO to deal with most of them. Buried deep down in this, seemingly never-ending list of things, you will find the marketing strategy. The marketing strategy for a small business should be an essential first step as it’s critical to successfully positioning your brand and more importantly making those much-needed early sales.
Sadly, most small businesses run into problems when it comes to developing their marketing strategy. Over the years we’ve seen these common problems that can destroy any marketing strategy for any small business before it’s even implemented:
1. You don’t have clear business goals
Every small business wants to sell more products and/or services – but you need to be more specific. If you don’t know what your business is trying to achieve, how on earth do you plan to achieve it? Successful start up marketing takes a specific business goal, and then shapes customer perceptions to deliver it.
Say you own a restaurant and your ill-defined business goal is ‘increase number of meals sold’. Sure, that makes sense. The more meals you sell, the more money you have coming in.
However, a better defined and much clearer goal would be ‘increase lunchtime covers by 25% and dinner covers by 30%’. Now having a clear business goal doesn’t mean that a marketing campaign will automatically increase the number of meals sold, but it if done right it will play a large part in bringing people in. You can segment your audience by lunchtime patrons and dinner patrons and tell them about the quality of the ingredients, the dining experience, or the service. All the add-ons that make dining out more pleasurable.
2. You don’t have a specific marketing budget in place
For too many SMEs marketing is an ad hoc afterthought. For most small businesses digital marketing is a great place to invest your marketing budget but simply throwing the odd couple hundred pounds haphazardly at Facebook advertising is no strategy and definitely won’t generate lasting results. If it achieves anything at all.
Defining a specific annual budget for marketing and here’s the kicker, – actually honouring it – gives you a chance to develop and optimise successful marketing strategies. Digital campaigns do not exist in isolation, which means they have to be part of a larger whole. And with a detailed budget you can plan exactly how much you need to allocate on digital marketing as well as other channels.
3. You don’t understand your clients
Let’s play a quick game. Try to imagine what your ideal customer looks like? Map out their interests, preferences and pain points? What do they like most about your product/service? Now look in the mirror – If your ideal customer looks, sounds and acts just like you, you lose. If it doesn’t, congratulations because you are on the right track.
We don’t mean to say that as a leader of a small business you aren’t also a customer, but more often than not audiences behave differently than what you expect, and your marketing efforts will fail if you don’t have cold hard facts to work with. Which is why a successful marketing strategy for small business should include an element of market research first. Not having the budget for a full-fledged market research study is no excuse, you can still have conversations with your customers (real or potential) to get the information you need to better understand them.
4. You don’t measure the success of your campaigns correctly
Ultimately marketing should result in sales – but it takes a while to reach that point. If you define the success of a standalone campaign in sales alone, you’ll be disappointed.
You need to look at other metrics that show how your integrated marketing strategy is changing customer perceptions. Are you seeing an increase in email newsletter sign-ups? More retweets? Increased footfall in store? All of these are indicators that will show you which of your efforts are working – and therefore what you need to do more of.
5. You think your products are the best
Please don’t shoot the messenger! What we’re trying to say here is that every small business likes to think that their products are the best – and they very well may be. But just as you may say that your products/services are the best, all your competitors will claim the same about theirs. More importantly there’s a lot more to the customer decision-making process than thinking about which product is the best in the market.
Believe it or not but convenience and experience frequently trump price. So you must make sure that your digital marketing strategy emphasises the benefits of your product/service.
If your business has avoided these problems – you’re doing well. But even if you have made mistakes in the past, there are some ways to improve your marketing strategy for small business moving forwards:
Don’t fool yourself
It is physically impossible to do everything yourself – so you must start outsourcing tasks like marketing. Engaging with an integrated marketing agency frees up time that can be better spent serving your customers – essential to creating the experience that will keep them coming back.
Outsource marketing – or risk it all.
Put relationships first
Engaging a marketing agency is just the first step. Next, you must invest time and effort into the relationship. The better they know you and your customers, the more effectively they can target them on your behalf.
Never forget – they are invested in your success too. Give them the time and effort they need, and the investment will be repaid over time.
Properly understand your audience
Stop guessing what your customers like. And remember that they are not all like you. Take the time and effort to understand your customers – you may be surprised by what you learn.
These insights will be crucial to building an effective digital marketing strategy.
Entrepreneurs make all the important decisions required to get their business off the ground. But that doesn’t mean they know everything.
You need to be open to advice and input from your agency partner; often they will tell you harsh truths. Don’t get angry or ignore their advice – they are there to help make your digital marketing efforts a success.
let’s have a chat and discuss more about building a marketing strategy for your business.