Successful marketing is about targeting relevant people in the most effective way, with messages that will compel them to take action (to become a customer of your business). This article will take you through the main online and offline marketing channels that exist, tell you how you can decide which ones will be best for you, and give you plenty of ideas for successfully promoting your business, even if you have limited budgets and resources.
If you have a product or service to sell and you believe that it will be useful or desirable to some people, then your goal is to find those people and tell them about your business. This is marketing.
It’s important that you always set aside some time and budget to promote your business, that you make a plan and always track what’s worked and what hasn’t. Even if your business is hitting its sales targets right now, marketing will help you keep up that momentum, exceed targets, and make sure you have something already in place if things get quieter. Marketing will also assist you in getting to know your customers, obtaining feedback on what they like and don’t like, which can help with things like new product development.
"Everyone is not your customer."
Targeting everyone with your marketing would be extremely inefficient, not to mention very expensive. You may have an idea in your head as to who your ideal customer is but it helps to get it down on paper and back it up with research. After you’ve done this you can start to ask yourself where you will find these people and what marketing they are likely to respond best to.
"There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that market."
Here are eight ways to find your target audience...
Follow these steps in order to successfully market a new business:
There’s not a business these days that wouldn’t benefit from improving its online presence. Millions of searches, recommendations and reviews happen every day and you’re missing out if you’re not part of the conversation and you don’t have your best and most up-to-date information online. Websites, social media and email provide really cheap and easy ways to stay in touch with your customers and to get in front of new ones. Not to mention selling directly online and increasing those sales.
Your own website
Make sure your website is kept up-to-date and that the information that customers are most likely to want is on there and easy to find.Find out more
For more exposure for your business online put some work into getting mentions across other websites. This can potentially help drive traffic to your website for free as we explain in more detail below.Find out more
It’s much better to pick one social media channel and use it regularly than have a few that you don’t use. Think about which channel is suited to your business, and your objectives, and focus your efforts there.Find out more
Email remains one of the most effective channels for promoting your business - and relatively inexpensive.Find out more
Getting free traffic to your website from search engines is clearly important as it lightens your reliance on paid activity. This is known as organic searching (as opposed to paid searching).
Many customers who use search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing) don’t go beyond the first page of suggestions, so it’s important to ensure that the way your website is created and used helps to push it up the listings. The process of doing this is called search engine optimisation (SEO).
Here are some facts that reinforce why SEO is so important.
There are some best practice rules you should follow when building your website and creating content. Whilst you shouldn't expect instant results, follow these rules and you'll put yourself in a strong position.
Many of the things that make your website good for search engines go hand-in-hand with an engaging customer experience. For example, by updating content regularly – such as showcasing new products or adding more tips about using your services – you’ll not only encourage customers to keep coming back to see what’s new but also help to push up your search engine ranking.
Many businesses use outside specialists to help them optimise their websites. Here’s a tip: if you want to find SEO experts, search for them online and see how high they appear in the organic search list as opposed to the ones for paid for adverts – this will show you how good they are at optimising their own site.
Your website may be indexed by the main search engines without you needing to do anything, but you can submit your site to them. Each search engine has a different process for submission; submitting your website exactly as they specify will increase your chances of getting a good listing.
To submit your website to the key search engines go to the following sites:
A lot of the focus is on online marketing these days, but let’s not forget what matters the most is really what you do offline (i.e in real life). Online marketing works best when it’s supported and is a reflection of what you do offline. You’ll find it much easier to create content when you stop focusing on what to post and start focusing on doing interesting things with your business (which you can then share across all your channels). In the same vein, social media networks grow much more quickly and stronger when you connect with the people in person too.
The main offline marketing channels to consider...
Developing a website is a great way to get your message across and reach your target customers. Here we look at how you can create a website and get noticed online.Read more
Your Unique Selling Proposition, your USP, is what makes your business stand out from your competitors. You need to decide what is unique, different or special about your business which will encourage customers to buy from you.Read more
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