So you’ve decided to create your own business and offer your own product or service. How are potential customers going to hear about it and find it? It’s all well and good having what you consider the best product ever, but what use is it if no one knows about it? This is where marketing comes in; you should be creating a strategy to get yourself known and using the many channels out there, according to your market. Many new business owners especially are taken aback when they realise that sometimes having a good product is not enough, and that they need to devise a plan to deliver the message to people. A marketing plan does not need to be a headache, and below we shall look at simple ways you can market your brand.
Do your market research
Research your competitors, the business environment of where you will be conducting business, your potential customer’s needs, and sales trends. By knowing what you are getting yourself into, you will be better planned for everything further down the line.
Define your target markets
Very rarely, if ever, will you be marketing something that absolutely everybody needs, and more often than not would it ever make sense to – not only would it be expensive, but it would be incredibly ineffective. Begin by segmenting the market in order to find your target market. There are a few ways of doing this:
- Geography – Where do they live/work etc?
- Demographics – What is their age, gender, income, employment etc?
- Behaviour – How loyal are they to brands? What are their spending habits?
- Lifestyle – What is their social class/religion/values etc?
By defining your market, you can target your brand towards a specific group who you believe have a need for your product or service, and are willing to pay the price you set.
Define your unique selling point (USP)
What differentiates you from the competition? Is it a better product quality? Better customer service? Lower prices? Whatever it is that makes you stand out from the competition, be sure to use it to your advantage. Rarely will you be the only one in the market offering a product or services, so it is important that you give the customer a reason to choose you over the next company. For example, there are many companies that offer outdoor hiking gear, so you won’t be short of choices when searching for rain jackets for men. However, you may be able to differentiate yourself by offering longer warranties or focusing on using recycled materials to show your environmental awareness. There can be a fine line between a customer choosing your recycled mens waterproof jacket over a competitor that uses new materials.
Create a brand
Aside from a logo and tagline, create a brand that relates to your target market. Align with their values and define your own so they will begin to associate your name with your product or service.
Choose your marketing channels
Whether you want to work purely online through social media and ads on websites, or you’re still old-school with physical ads, choose the marketing channels that your potential customers use. There is no point in spending money on print ads if your market are millennials who rarely pick up a physical newspaper or magazine.
Set your target and budget
Obviously, marketing comes at a price. It could be your time spent, or simply paying for ads and marketing materials. Define what you want to get out of this and create a budget that you can afford and will get you the results you need. It’s all about finding the right balance.