Updated: Aug 9, 2020
Brand new to marketing and have no idea where to start? You came to the right place! I have had experience in marketing for over 5 years, and eventually earned my bachelors in marketing, studying the science behind it. In this blog, you will learn how to get your business started in marketing and implement what you learn.
I didn’t start out as a digital marketing, focused on social media and websites, I started out planning fundraisers for a non-profit I was passionate to serve. In coordinating those events, I had to do some publicity, to get more people involved. After organizing several fundraisers, I realized how much I enjoyed the design aspect of it, creating flyers and tickets, designing t-shirts, and creating online events. I had no idea what I was doing, however I had a drive to help and a desire to learn. Each event continued to be better than the past as I gained more experience. I then decided that I wanted to pursue marketing and learn as much as I could.
With that being said, you don’t have to have a degree in marketing to better promote your business. Investing some time into researching more about your marketing and looking at what your competitors are doing can be a tremendous help.
Here are 5 steps to building a marketing strategy for your small business.
Step 1: Define Your Target Audience
What is a target audience? According to investopedia, a target audience refers to “a group of potential customers to whom a company wants to sell its products and services”. The very first thing you need to do when building a marketing strategy, is to look at who your business serves. If you are a coffee shop, it may be the college students in your town. If you run a small boutique, it may be 20-40 year old females. Depending on where your prices are in the market, that will also be a contributing factor. You want your category to be fairly specific so that you can target your content toward them, however not too exclusive that you are missing out on a certain group. Defining your target audience will allow you to better connect with them.
Step 2: Set Objectives
Now you need to evaluate your goals. Are you wanting to increase sales, gain new customers, increase your online following, etc. Make sure your objectives are concrete and measurable so you can track your progress. If you have a newer business, a great first goal would be to create brand awareness.
Step 3: Marketing Mix
This is what is called the 4 Ps of marketing, which are Price, Product, Promotion, and Place. For price, are you wanting to be a high-end brand? Cost Saving? Middle of the line? When determining price, it is also good to look at other businesses in the industry and see who your competitors will be. Walmart offers lower cost, lower quality products, while Vera Bradley offers high priced, high quality products. Next is your product, what are you actually selling and offering to your customers? How does it bring value to them? Is there a way you can better your product to be more appealing to your customers? The third P is promotion, how do you plan to promote your business. Mainly online? Newspaper ads? Flyers? You can also use a combination of different promotion types. The final part of the marketing mix is place. Where do you plan on selling your services/product? Will it be in a store front? All online? Half and half? Once you have examined these 4 areas, you are ready to move on to implementation.
Step 4: Implementation
Now comes the fun part, where you get to implement what you have learned and the research you have done. Now you can implement the promotional steps you have taken. With your target audience, price, product, and place established, you can focus on promoting your business. All those areas will need to be factored in when you are looking to create a marketing plan.
Step 5: Control
The last step in the strategic marketing process is control. Control is where you continue to observe and manage how your business is doing over time. It will take some time to get things started, so you don’t want to abandon your plan too soon, you need to give it time to play out. However, as you go make sure to be observant to see if things need to adjust over time. Are your prices too high? Are you using an ineffective promotional mix? Is your target audience too broad or narrow?
When making these decisions they are not set in stone, depending on the market, economy, your audience and more, will dictate the changes that might need to be made. Marketing is constantly changing, and being flexible and working through different problems that come up will help you become more successful in your industry.
If you are needing help coordinating your promotional mix or defining your target audience, I would love to help you out. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask your questions in our contact form.