The idea of marketing your business can seem overwhelming; however, it is essential. Here’s how to make the most of your available time, budget, and assets to create an effective strategy.
1. Identify Your Targets. When you created your business idea, you did so with a target customer in mind. Revisiting that demographic and determining what places they are most likely to hang out — and what types of marketing they will best respond to — can help you correctly focus your efforts. Time and budget constraints mean you’ll need to hone in on a few key places to start; trying to do everything at once could backfire.
2. Create a Budget. Do you have money to allocate for marketing purposes, yet? If not, then focusing your efforts on building out your social presence first may be your best bet. If you do have a budget immediately, knowing exactly how much you have to spend can help you develop a strategy that works so you can make the most of your financial assets. The size of your budget will determine what you focus on first. Entrepreneur has a great guide for which channels to focus on and what the price point may look like.
3. Start a List. Offer everyone who contacts you, visits your website, or stops by your location the chance to sign up for a newsletter or mailing list. By cultivating a list of interested parties, you’ll have a built-in audience for your marketing efforts. Marketing experts at Inc. magazine recommend sending a weekly email blast to your prospects to share information and highlight a special sale or product. A list provides a ready and constantly growing group of readers for your weekly email blasts. Once you have the lists created, you can venture into different tactics for effectively expanding your email channel. For more information about managing email lists, check out this information from Advertising Age.
4. Start or Grow a Website. In an increasingly mobile society (64 percent of all adults now use a smart phone or tablet every day, according to research by the PEW Institute), consumers expect you to have an informative website, even if you are not running an online business. Even a basic website lets consumers know you are open for business and actively looking for work and serving clients. For some audiences, a business without a website doesn’t even exist. You don’t have to spend a fortune at first, but a simple website or blog gives you a place to direct prospects to go for more information or to get in touch.
5. Explore Social Media. According to a 2015 study completed by the Pew Research Center, 65% of adults use social networking sites, so chances are you probably already have a personal social media channel you are comfortable navigating and use regularly. If you’ve been using Facebook for years or can’t get enough Twitter, then these social media outlets are a good place to start, since you already know how to use them. Creating an account or page for your business is free and gives you a way to interact with and engage your followers and prospects. Post consistently, offer great content, and engage your followers to build a solid presence in a short amount of time.
6. Offer the Right Content. Tailoring your offerings to the type of business you have and the ideal client you are cultivating allows you to make the most of your marketing time and money. For example, if you own a personal training business, then offering videos of training tips or giving advice about nutrition on your social media pages and on YouTube is a fast and nearly free way to spread the word about your expertise.
Creating a marketing strategy that considers who your ideal buyer is and the type of information they would like to receive helps you target your efforts efficiently. Small businesses usually have limited budgets, so focus your efforts where they will pay the most dividends.
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