Marketing – Not the Ugly Step-Sister!
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In the Networking post I provided you with an overview of the importance of networking and how to network person-to-person and online. That leads to an excellent jumping-off point.
Gather trustworthy professionals
As an emphasis of your networking efforts – network with experts that are able to add their knowledge and skills to your business. It’s key that you locate and network with experts you can trust. How do you gather trusted contacts? Get referrals from colleagues and reliable business associates.
Utilize experts in your network
Why should you utilize experts? That’s easy. Believe it or not, you aren’t an expert in everything – and you can’t be everywhere at the same time. That being said, you do need to know enough of every facet of your business to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. After you have completed this assessment, you should know where you need to introduce professionals to aid bring your particular objectives to fruition.
In particular let’s take into consideration your marketing and promotional strategies. You know your business. Hey, it’s your baby, right? However do you know proper market research and social media implementation, or how to write copy targeted to your particular market segments? If you answered “no” then you should be bringing in professionals in these areas to provide assistance. Too expensive you say? You get what you pay for. Here’s an example to drive the point home. When you need a legal document drafted, you consult a paralegal service or a lawyer, am I right? The attention that you put toward your marketing campaigns should be no different. So, have the experts help you in your marketing endeavors.
Marketing – a necessary evil? No! The complete opposite! Marketing and promotion are a necessary investment in the long-term success of your company.
Don’t think of your company’s marketing activities as the un-billable and non-necessary ugly step-sister. Marketing drives sales. If you had promotional-savvy people around you they would be telling you that. Be aware that marketing is not the same for every business, even in the same industry.
DO RESEARCH ON THE BASICS
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The following is a small overview of the basics you should know. A lot to how you should be attacking your marketing activities is based on:
- Your target-market
- Your competitors’ position
- What makes you different
- Your position in the market
- Where you want to be positioned
- What marketing tools would best reach that target market
- How do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts
Once the above statements and questions have been addressed by you, no matter what media you use to promote your business, there is one fact – consistency. You have to be committed to on-going business promotion, and you have to be willing to spend the money. Yes, this is even true in slow economic times. You need to keep your name out there. I know this is one of the hardest factors for business owners/decision-makers to accept. The realization is that if you don’t give your marketing efforts the same budgetary importance as paying your utility bill, then you won’t have a business utility bill to pay because you may be out of business – or headed in that direction.
So, you’ve decided to move forward. As I stated earlier, receive assistance from experts to help you in the following process. There are 4 basic steps in in the business/marketing process:
Define your target market – determine who your company’s main market segment(s) are. The information can be gathered through research. It could be as simply as asking visitors to fill out a survey. The survey should gather such basic information such as what TV shows they view, radio stations to which they listen, and what magazines they read. Then you will be able to target the best media to use to reach your potential customers.
Create the strategy/message – have an expert in the field compose your message and assist in developing your strategy. I am not referring to simply writing the copy. I am referring to message in a broad sense, and systematically taking into account the most beneficial techniques for your business to be promoted. This step of the process analyzes such details as how your target market perceives your brand and the most efficient way to communicate your brand. On a basic level, at this step you should be focusing on the best methods to reach your target market – where those potential customers are. I suggest that you receive guidance from a marketing/branding firm or consultant.
Implement your plan – now that you have your strategy all planned out, it’s time to implement that plan. This is where you find out if all that information you gathered was interpreted correctly to promote your business properly. And you know what? If your plan needs tweaking – a nip and a tuck here – then go for it. Be aware that any alterations that you decide to initiate be just as well thought out and analyzed as the initial planning phase.
Measure the results – after analysis you may find that the best days to reach your customers using promotional text messages is Tuesdays and Thursdays, or you discover which specific social media vehicles were used most by customers to forward information or offers from your website. Always measure the effectiveness and efficiencies of your marketing campaigns. If something isn’t working adjust slightly, or eliminate it from future promotional campaigns. Hey, it’s your money – I don’t have to remind you to spend it wisely, right? Like your dad probably said many times, “Money doesn’t grow on trees you know!”
Experts are more than “drips under pressure”, they are able to enhance and upgrade your marketing objectives.
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