Marketing your business is all about how you get your name (positively!) known in your sector. We've provided some key suggestions, and links to further advice and support.
There are five established marketing rules that are known as the '5 Ps'.
To effectively market a product, whether it's a new chocolate bar or an insurance brokerage, you need to be absolutely clear about what your product is, does, and why it's better than others.
- What are you selling?
- What problem are you solving for your customers?
- How does your product solve the problem?
- What is unique about your offer?
Where you're selling your product is key to understanding how best to market it.
Are you selling:
- In person: locally, nationally, internationally?
- Online: exclusively, or in addition to a brick-and-mortar location?
- Are you selling through your own outlets only, or through other partners?
Who you want to sell your product to is an important thing to understand. It's tempting to say 'everyone', but it's worth narrowing it down to an audience you think will already want your product, before widening your marketing strategy to engage with a customer base you would like to develop.
- Visualise your target audience.
- What do they look like?
- How old are they?
- What kind of jobs do they do?
- How secure are they financially?
- How Internet-savvy are they?
- Whereabouts do they live?
- Do they have children or elderly parents?
- What are their interests?
- What level of education do they have?
- It can be easiest to do this by imagining a few people who belong to different 'segments' of the population, who might buy your products. This is known as 'persona building', and it's a helpful way of getting a sense of your audience. They won't cover all of your audience, but they can help you get into the mindset of some of your key groups.
Say I want to start a business selling equestrian accessories to horse riding enthusiasts.
My audience personas might include:
- In her early 40s
- Married with two kids, both at private school
- Works as an accountant
- Her own horse is her major personal expense: the thing she does for herself
- She uses her precious free time to go riding and look after her horse: she's paying for both her kids to learn to ride too, and she hopes that eventually they'll be able to go on rides together
- Lives at home with both her parents: they are both in mid-level management roles
- Has riding lessons at the weekend and is trying to persuade her parents to buy her a pony of her own
- Reads 'horsy' books voraciously
From this I can see that I will need different techniques to appeal to Helen and Libby.
Helen is likely to be looking for quality, which will last, and is prepared to pay enough to guarantee it. But riding is her luxury: she still wants to feel as if she is indulging herself, so promotion to her will be about both luxury and practicality. She may secretly love the idea of being able to hand her riding accessories down to her daughter or son.
I could promote to Helen through social media, targeted to women between 35 and 55 (so Facebook and Instagram will be key). Beautiful high quality lifestyle photographs of products that are aspirational: copy that is mature, flawlessly written and thoughtful will be key. Editorial promotion in high-end women's magazines, and carefully chosen Instagram influencer partnerships will be lucrative.
Libby, on the other hand, is likely to be collecting horsy accessories at birthdays and Christmas. She won't notice quality (although her parents will), but she will be looking for bright colours, personalisation options, and items that aren't strictly necessary but will help her feel as if her horse is her own when she's riding. She is likely to be buying herself with small amounts of pocket money or getting larger items as gifts, so for Libby we will need to target both her and her parents.
Libby is only just old enough to have a Facebook account, but her parents will do. I can target marketing for big ticket items towards people with children Libby's age, with a focus on their safety, their durability and their appeal. Smaller ticket items can be promoted via teen magazines and horse websites and pony shows, Tiktok also. These should be items that are low cost but high energy, with a few big ticket items in there for Libby to show her parents for birthdays.
How much will people pay for your product or service?
- Think about your product or service: what are its key selling points?
- Is it unique?
- Is it made locally?
- Is it cheap/inexpensive?
- Is it amazing quality?
- These factors will all help determine your entry price.
This can be as simple as communicating with potential costumers to find out exactly what they want and need, or by carrying out research online.
Once you’ve found your target market, you can begin to promote your business. This can be done in several ways, including:
- Word of mouth – building your reputation through word of mouth is a strong way to start a business
- Start a customer database on excel or a CRM system if you are a bigger business. Be mindful of the GDPR requirements
- Online marketing through your company website and social media channels. Always remember to let people contact you easily via a form, email or telephone and make sure your website is SEO optimised so your customers can find you
- Email marketing and e-newsletters to the database you are building up
- Paid advertising – once you have tested your business and engagement methods think about paid for advertising but do not do this until you are ready and can handle any inbound enquiry
- Content marketing. Blog posts and social media engagement are a great way to build trust and confidence in your business and show customers that you know what you are doing
- CRM/Data Management: keeping track of your customer leads and your growing customer database is the key to any successful business, whether you invest in a simple Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software or have a consistent way of managing phone enquiries and emails, such as a call answering service or virtual office set-up. Keeping in touch with your customers is vital
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