Congratulations, your new small business has a great product or service! Now it's time to let people know about it with a solid marketing plan. A thorough and effective foundation for marketing what you're selling will set you up for a successful launch and a long-lived business.
In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 16-22 and National Entrepreneur Day, November 19, we've created a detailed plan for setting up a successful marketing foundation for your business. Doing so requires a multi-pronged, well-researched approach. Keep the following steps in mind.
Identify Your Target Audience
Start by doing some market research on the types of consumers interested in your product or service. Surveying potential customers requires that you home in on precisely who your product or service appeals to. Who is your target audience? Parents? Retired individuals? Business owners? Young adults?
Marketing efforts are costly and time-consuming. There's no point in appealing to audiences that are unlikely to purchase your product or service. In the case of marketing, close might as well be a mile apart. The more specific you can be about your audience, the better you'll be able to target your ideal customer.
Take the time to drill down on your audiences' problems and how your product or service will solve them. The more pinpointed you can become, the more effective your marketing will be.
Check Out Your Competitors
Knowing what you're up against is always good business. Analyze your competitors and what they're offering. How are your products and services similar, and how are they different? This line of thought will help you identify your target audience and inform you about effective marketing efforts.
For example, if you find a company that does similar business as you, how have they gotten the word out? Pay special attention to their marketing efforts, and determine which of those efforts could work for your company.
Determine Your Brand Identity
A solid brand identity is critical. You'll build all your marketing efforts from this identity. To determine your identity, briefly describe what your company does and strives to accomplish.
Spend some time describing your company and developing your brand identity. The time spent will be well worth the effort, paying you dividends long after you launch.
Design Collateral Materials
Your marketing design serves as a channel for communicating your brand identity and offerings. Develop collateral marketing materials, such as newsletters, blog posts, look-books, web copy, and white papers that represent your brand identity while relating your business's intent and capabilities.
All your collateral materials should have the same look and tone and represent your brand identity. Consistency is imperative in the highly competitive digital world. Without a readily identifiable brand identity, it's easy for potential customers to get your business confused with another company. That could result in another brand snagging your business.
Create a Business Plan
One of your most critical first tasks is crafting a solid business plan. This will help you make the right decisions when it comes to your marketing efforts. If your marketing plans align with your business goals, you can be assured you're on the right track. Many business plans set goals for the current year, the next year, and five years ahead.
Establish a Web Presence
Without a strong web presence, even for brick-and-mortar retail or services, you can't truly compete today. Your website is a valuable tool for generating new leads and retaining customers.
Use your website to incorporate all your marketing messaging and branding efforts. Add copy to the site that clearly explains your brand identity. Consistency is key. The design and content on your website need to look and feel like your brand.
Focus on SEO
Effective search engine optimization, or SEO, is critical to your marketing foundation. According to Search Engine Journal, organic search is the most often used source of website traffic. That means that your potential customers will find you by typing specific search terms related to your company into their laptops, tablets, cellphones, or desktops.
You want your company to pop up first when those search terms are entered. Focus on effective SEO, and you'll be more likely to end up on page one on Google when someone searches the web for the goods or services you provide.
Create a Path From Discovery to Conversion
Your website is the vehicle for driving potential customers. It should guide them through discovery about your business, to learning about the services and products you offer, to purchase, to becoming a regular customer. Effectively orchestrating this takes forethought and planning. Done right, a path to conversion can lead to significant sales with very little effort on your part.
Connect Online With Your Target Market
For many companies today, their target market is waiting to be discovered and connected with online. Use effective SEO to attract your target market online and then offer a free product or service to get them interested.
The more you can connect with prospective customers online, the more likely you'll be to convert them. Here are some ways to connect online with potential customers.
- Use a call to action, or CTA, in website blog posts and articles (i.e., "subscribe to our newsletter" or "check out our free trial"
- Ask for comments and questions at the end of blog posts
- Use social media to connect with customers, actively posting and replying to comments
- Send regular newsletters with special offers, polls, and contests
- Post videos of products and services and encourage feedback and questions
Optimize for Mobile
According to Statista, which provides market and consumer data, mobile devices accounted for 56 percent of organic search engine visits in the first quarter of 2020. Mobile searches are expected to continue to rise. That means it's vital to ensure that all your marketing efforts look good and work right on cellphone screens.
If you need to form a business entity while developing your new company, Swyft can help. Check out our easy online registration process for LLCs. Learn more about creating a marketing foundation for your new small business in our Swyft Filings Learning Center.