Marketing is simply the process of exposing your products and services to the reach of your potential clients, leads deals etc. to enable them know how to have access to your products and services. It is also a process that involves researching, promoting, selling and distributing your products or services.
For every business owner, marketing is key because without the proper exposure that your business deserves, your desired customers will not be fully aware of your business and what they offer.
Marketing your business to the reach of your customers takes your business to it’s dream destination by generating more sales to you and helping you expand beyond expectations.
For you to obtain the optimum result you desire during your marketing, there are certain steps you need to follow and they include but not limited to the following 8 basic steps below:
- First of all conduct a market research
- Profile your target markets to enable you understand them
- By Identifying your unique selling proposition
- Work on Developing your Business Brand
- Choose your marketing avenues wisely
- Set your goals and budgets right
- Try to Nurture your loyal customers
- Monitor and review your Business
Now let us discuss them one after the other below:
1. Conducting a Market Research
First of all when we talk about conducting a market research, It is simply all about collecting and gathering every information that provides an insight into your customers thinking, buying patterns, and location.
It can also assist you to undertake an initial sales forecast, monitor market trends and keep an eye on what your competition is doing.
This is the reason why market research is regarded as one of the major key parts when developing your marketing strategy.
2. Profile your Target Markets
If you are trying to promote your products or services to everyone in general, it is going to be very costly and at the end of the day becomes ineffective. That is why grouping or segmenting your potential customers based on certain characteristics will help you to focus your marketing efforts towards your main audience alone.
Generally segmentation is based on certain factors such as:
- Geography – Location
- Demographics – Age, Gender, Education Level, Income, Occupation
- Behavior – Loyalty, Attitude, Readiness to buy, Usage rates
- Lifestyle – Social Class, Personality, Personal Values.
Before setting up your target markets, ensure that they those group of people that have a need for your product or service and be willing to pay for your offer.
3. Try to Identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your USP is that unique reason why your customers buy from you and not your competitors. In a simpler way, it is what makes your business stand out from the crowd.
Therefore, It is very important that you define what you do or can do differently and be able to convey that to potential customers. Commonly, this usually reflects your special knowledge or skills.
Your USP may be having a new or unique way or method of offering or providing exceptional service.
You can start developing your USP by answering the following questions:
- What do you love 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 do your customers benefit by purchasing your products or services?
- Which aspects do you generally highlight when you describe your business to strangers?
4. Developing your Business Brand
There is a serious need for you to develop your business brand because every business regardless of size, is likely to need a brand. A brand is more than a logo, color or tagline. A well-articulated brand emotionally connects with your target customers and conveys who you are, what you stand for and what you can deliver.
5. Choose your Marketing Avenues Wisely
Thou there are many marketing avenues available, you have to first and foremost consider your target audience and the best place to located them when you are determining which of the avenues to use.
Meanwhile your options include a business website, social media, blogging, brochure and flyers, networking events, print advertising, word of mouth, cold calling and letter drops etc. but you are encouraged to choose wisely as it will help determine the result you will obtain from your marketing.
6. Set your Marketing Goals and Budgets Right
There is no doubt that setting your marketing goals will help you to define what you want to achieve through your marketing activities. Ensure that your goals are “SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based”.
You are also required to allocate a budget to your marketing activities and it should include basic elements such as:
- Website development and maintenance
- Search engine optimization strategy
- Design of branding
- Printing of promotional material (business cards, brochures, signage, etc)
- Donations and sponsorships
- Employing staff to undertake marketing activities.
TIP: As a general rule of thumb you should spend between three and five percent of your actual or expected annual turnover on marketing. If your business is new you may need to allocate more funds initially to build your business profile.
7. Nurture your Loyal Customers for a Better Result
The success of your business largely depends on your customers, therefore your customer relationship is the key to your business success and this makes it very important to look after them and encourage loyalty.
Providing exceptional customer service will without a doubt keep people coming back to you and set you apart from your competitors.
Below are some basic strategies to build loyalty in customers:
- Communicating regularly with customers through social media, blogs or e-news
- Providing after-sale follow up
- Delivering on your promises
- Going the ‘extra mile’ and providing benefits that exceed initial expectations
- Using feedback and complaints as an opportunity to improve services
- Listening to customers
- Training staff in customer service and basic sales processes.
8. Monitor and Review your Business
It is very important to regularly monitor and review your marketing activities to determine whether they are achieving the desired outcome or not.
Some of the activities to monitor or review include but not limited to the following: increased sales, marketing plans, customer feedback’s, customer relationship, human resources as relate to sales, reviewing your sales figures on a regular basis (monthly) or monitoring customer activity during an advertising campaign. Etc. You can also access and review free analytic tools to determine the effectiveness of your social media or website campaigns.
Initially you should review your marketing plan at least a minimum of every three months to ensure your activities are supporting your strategy and once your business becomes more established you are encouraged to review your plan when you introduce a new product or service, if a new competitor enters the market or if an issue arises that affects your industry.
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