Ask Dr. Deborah | Lost in Marketing
Dear Dr. Deborah,
I’m getting ready to start my own business and am about half way through my business plan. However, I’ve hit a wall with my marketing strategy. I don’t have any experience here and I have no idea where I should start. Do you have any advice for a first-time business owners and marketer?
Marketing is one of my favorite subjects, yet one that is often misunderstood by business owners. Here are 6 great ways to get unstuck.
- Sharing vs. Telling: Instead of thinking about marketing as a business term, think about it as sharing. Do you love what you do? Do you think others will enjoy hearing about it? Well, then, go out and share!
- Be Selective: While there are likely to be other people out there that share your interests, there are also people that don’t. Don’t waste your time trying to share with everyone. Figure out who wants to – or needs to know what you do and focus your sharing there.
- Test, Refine and Test Again: One of the best ways to figure out what works and what doesn’t in marketing is to go out and try it. You don’t need hundreds of people either, just a valid representative sampling that will provide a broader enough representation for what you offer. Sometimes this sampling can even be made up of family and friends. The main requirement is that they are interested in what you offer, enough to pay you something for it and objective enough to let you know they thought about the experience.
- Now Plan Your Marketing Plan: From the prior tip, you now have a much more solid grasp of marketing in a business sense. For example, you have a better idea about who will buy what, what they will pay for it, how you reached them, how much it cost you to provide, what worked and what could be improved. From here, you can now develop your marketing plan.
- Focus, Be Selective and Integrate: Effective marketing starts with a focused brand message and utilizing multiple yet select marketing channels and platforms to promote that brand. For example, your brand must clearly convey what you offer and why. (Read our other blog topic on The Why Behind Successful Branding to learn more on this critical piece.) Next, choose 3 to 5 integrated channels to use this brand to reach and engage your target market. By integration I mean, each channel should complement the other channels. This typically includes both online and offline channels with print and social media driving traffic to your website and your website driving business to you.
- Invest and Test Again: Armed with real-world knowledge and an integrated approach to ensuring reaching the targeted audience, you are now ready to invest in launching a pilot market campaign where you will learn even more good stuff about how to grow your business!
Marketing, like sharing what you’re passionate about, should be fun and be something that comes naturally. By operating from the viewpoint that you have something that other people want to know about, you will be on the right path.