Posted by Anonymous
When starting a new business it can be difficult to prioritize your time because everything you're doing feels like it is the most important thing. And who is to say one task is more important than another? After all, you're building a business and success is in the details. You cannot get from the ground up if you leave out a step. Marketing, you'll find, is one of those steps that will definitely need to be addressed early on. To help ensure your time is being spent productively, here are some tips to assist you in maximizing your marketing efforts.
1. Understand Human Nature
Marketing is all about persuading a consumer to use your product over a competitor's. The art of persuasion lies within helping people get what they want while you get what you want. Screaming "buy, buy, buy" at a potential consumer is ineffective because if they can see dollar signs in your eyes they will not trust you. The commitment to purchase anything is largely based on emotions. People want to feel good about their decisions, so if a buyer feels like the deal that was reached was mutually beneficial, they will be much less hesitant to hand over their money. It is OK for a buyer to see that you've gotten what you want, as long as they feel it was a fair trade.
You need to be aware of the demographics of your target market so that you can properly appeal to them, but after that initial assessment you should change your mindset. Remember to think of your customers as individuals rather than lump them all into your "market." Act as if you're only trying to appeal to one person and your message will be communicated more effectively. Marketing is simply an avenue of communication and if you treat it like a one-on-one interaction a person is more likely to foresee a benefit because of the personal connection.
2. Catchy Headline, Simple Wording
Once you've decided who you're addressing with your marketing and how you want to approach them, it's time to put these ideas on paper. The headline is read six times more than the body of the advertisement. So, statistically speaking, without an effective headline there is really no point in even writing anything else because essentially nobody will be reading it. Attention-getting catchphrases are the key to ensuring people will actually read about your product or service.
That said, once you've created this "must read" slogan, your informative copy should read effortlessly. Consumers do not want to feel like they're working for the information. Don't be too wordy, use verbs over nouns and then make sure you're using verbs that show, not tell. If you feel the need for more than one paragraph, they should be short and broken up in an organized manner. Long paragraphs look daunting and readers will give up before they even start.
Briefness is critical but the basic rules of writing should not be thrown out. Be grammatically correct and have a beginning, middle and an end to give your copy a sense of cohesiveness. When editing, which you should do at least 3 times, you should be making a conscious effort to simplify. How can you say the same thing and be even more concise? Bottom line: effectively get your point across using as little words as possible.
3. Don't Become Complacent
Often times a company will have some success with a particular marketing campaign and think that their work is done. They are wrong. Just because something worked once, does not mean that it will work forever. And similarly, just because something worked once, does not mean that it couldn't have worked better. If you're lucky enough to be able to see positive results based on your marketing efforts than you should be mindful enough to maximize these results by staying in tune with the market and seeking feedback from consumers. Document your results, test another approach, document those results, and so on. After you've experimented with a few different versions you can narrow down your options and spend your money on the most successful approaches. And even then your work is not done. Successful approaches can always be tweaked; you should constantly be striving for improvement.
4. Minimize Cost
The Internet is always helpful in this area for two reasons. First, email campaigns are a free form of advertising. Once you've created a broad database of email addresses for potential consumers, find a way to utilize this avenue without bombarding the recipients and you've got yourself the most cost effective form of advertising at your fingertips. Secondly, a website is an absolute must. You will most likely have to hire a web designer to help you with this but if the site is attractive and user friendly it's an investment that will continue to pay for itself thanks to search engines like Google.
On a more traditional note, cold calls get a bad rap but they can be effective if your salesmen are prepared. Train them to rehearse, become an expert, be positive and take control of the conversation.
Another form of free advertising is through public interest. If you contribute money, time, products or services to a charity or cause in your community a newspaper or magazine may just find you newsworthy and give you an unsolicited plug. Going back to understanding human nature, nothing justifies a purchase more than feeling socially responsible.
Lastly, be smart with your fledgling resources. Your marketing budget will be limited at the beginning of your company's journey, so don't go all in on a major "branding" campaign. You cannot afford to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to advertising. Begin small, allow yourself room for error and your brand will develop after you've had time to establish yourself in the marketplace.
5. Be Realistic
There is little doubt that in the beginning you will have a lot of ideas regarding the implementation of marketing practices for your company, but the key is to know which ones are most appropriate for your situation. You should ask yourself a series of questions so that you can be sure your company can execute each "great idea." Firstly, do you have the resources, like manpower, technology, money, etc.? Next, is the idea consistent with the goals, ethics and purpose of your business plan? And finally and perhaps most importantly, will your target market respond to this idea? Will it help get new customers, maintain old ones, or both? Your consumers should be at the center of each marketing decision, so even if you feel you have this incredibly innovative approach make sure it doesn't alienate your current fan base. Think outside the box, but not so far that you lose sight of it.