What is marketing?
Marketing is more than just advertising. It’s a concentrated effort to get your business across to the customer by pushing it from every angle. Marketing involves the product itself, branding, price points, where you sell it and the way you promote it.
There’s an old marketing principle that says customers need to hear a message seven times before it sinks in. Repetition is still a key to marketing and we have since learned that a customer seeing a consistent and repeated message will lead to brand trust.
If your business’s goal is to get your product out there and in front of customers, marketing is going to be your best friend. It all starts with making a marketing plan so your efforts are organized and goal oriented.
The 4 P’s
You may have heard of the 4 P’s of the marketing mix before. It has since expanded into 7 p’s, but the original four are the perfect place to start when planning out how to market your business.
The heart of every marketing effort is the product. This is the thing your business is actually selling whether that’s a tangible item, a service or an event. It’s important to see what is appealing about your product and market it accordingly. To figure this out, consider the customer’s needs and what makes your product unique.
You might not realise price is a part of marketing but it is a major factor into whether customers are going to buy something or not. Businesses can price their product according to the cost to produce or according to the market. When setting price based on the marketplace the business will need to consider how much customers are willing to pay, the price of similar products, the cost to produce and the goals you hope to reach.
Place is another overlooked component of marketing, but the location your product is available is a major factor into someone buying something or not. Your product or service could be available in a store-front, an online store, over video chat or in multiple places depending on its nature. Careful placement means knowing where your customers are, where your location should be and how to connect the two.
Promotion is the most obvious of the four p’s and is probably what you think of when you think about marketing. It involves creating awareness for your products, services, company and brand and is the backbone of marketing. Popular methods are having a website, social media, advertisements, email marketing and promotional sales.
Knowing your audience
One of the most important parts of marketing is knowing your audience. Every part of the marketing mix relates back to how your audience will respond whether that’s to the product itself, the price, where you sell it or where you promote it.
Target marketing is an effective way of reaching your audience by tailoring your marketing to the people who are most likely to find value from your product. Once you have targeted your audience you can segment them further based on geography, demographics, behaviour and lifestyle, and put out different marketing tailored to each of these sub-groups which will increase the likelihood of them responding.
You might have thought marketing broadly would increase your chances of sales but it is more effective to specifically speak to those who are most likely to buy. Target marketing is vital so you don’t waste your marketing budget where it’s not going to succeed.
To find out who your customer is and what they are thinking, where they are and what their buying patterns are like, you will need to conduct market research. This could be through internet research, general observation, surveys or doing tests on small customer groups. This will help you figure out what works well and what doesn’t.
Unique Selling Position
One of the foundations of getting someone to purchase your product is to know your value. Your unique selling position (USP) involves identifying the way your business stands out from competitors. It’s important to be able to define what you do differently and communicate that to potential customers to separate you from the rest.
Think about the things that make you different, what people will get from your business and what you can do better than anyone else. You can then turn this into a compelling argument for what someone would get from your product which will form the basis of your marketing strategy.
Once you have figured out your value, your audience and your goals, you will be ready to start promoting your product. There are so many promotional tools that vary in cost and reach. Below are a few of our favourite promotional methods:
Website & Online Listings
The first thing customers do in this digital world is Google your business before making a purchase decision. This is why it’s so important to have an online presence for your business, it puts you where your customers are looking and gives your business credibility.
A website gives you the chance to tell your own story and shows customers that you’re real. A modern and professional website creates a sense of trust and reliability between you and the customer.
Another web platform you can take advantage of is directory listings. The most popular one is Google My Business which gives potential customers all the key information they need about your business at the top of the page. It gives them an easy call to action to call you and they can also see your location and customer reviews without having to scroll anywhere.
Content Creation – Social media, blogging and emails.
Social media, blogging and email marketing can all be affordable ways to market your business and provide potential customers with value. Currently there are 20.5 million Australians using social media so you definitely need at least a Facebook page for your business and Instagram is a good idea. Depending on who your audience is, other platforms might also be useful. Many people check a business’s social media pages to see up to date information and verify that they are credible.
Providing content through blogs on your website is free and can position your business as an industry thought leader which will give you authority and credibility. It attracts more leads to your website and also bulks up the content which helps with SEO.
You can also provide content through email marketing where you can provide your customers and prospects with insights and news. This will help to nurture leads and keep your business fresh in reader’s minds.
Advertising will take cash out of the marketing budget, but when spent on the right ad it’s money well spent. Using your knowledge of your audience, determine where your target market is located and use this to send some ads their way.
Some places to advertise include Google, Facebook, radio, TV, posters, flyers and billboards. These are great for getting your business in front of people who may not have heard about you organically.
Word of mouth & networking
Word of mouth is the most powerful promotional tool as customers trust nothing more than a personal recommendation. This is one of the ways you can leverage your existing customers. You can also use them as an opportunity for repeat purchasing, upselling and cross selling as they already know, like and trust you so are more likely to purchase again.
Networking is another useful way to generate brand awareness and buzz. You can do this by reaching out to complementary businesses and joining business groups.
Another way to fully utilise your existing customers is to encourage testimonials from happy shoppers. Just let happy customers know that a review or shoutout online will really help you out, and this in turn will give your business credibility.