Marketing is equally as important as providing a quality product or service. Without it, consumers can’t find you to buy your products or services. As important as it is, many people struggle with marketing mostly because they don’t research, plan and track. Once crucial element new marketers miss is the importance of targeting the market. Identifying the right market isn’t just about knowing who the ideal buyer is, it also makes sure your marketing speaks to them and can be found by them.
Here are some tips to help:
1. Know your market. The whole world might like your product or service, but one-size-fits-all marketing is a waste of time and money. Instead you need to identify market segments, figure out what they need from your product or service, and then market to them directly. For example, many people want to work-at-home, but moms want to work at home for a different reason than baby boomers. A generic work-at-home ad would be easier to create, but a specific ad geared towards moms who want to stay home with children is going to be more effective at enticing moms to check out my business. A separate ad geared towards baby boomers will have the same effect.
2. Know where to find your market. Similar to number 1, knowing where to find your market increases the likelihood that they’ll see your offer. Just because a website has a ton of visitors or a newspaper reaches tons of subscribers, doesn’t make it the best marketing avenue for you. You’d be better off advertising on a smaller website or periodical if it was focused on your market. For example, if you’re a real estate assistant, promote your business in the local real estate association’s newsletter, not the daily or weekly paper. One option some marketers use is to buy lists of names that are targeted to the market. For example, you can buy US consumer email lists with contact information of real estate agents and send your message directly to them. You can buy lists in many areas including general consumers, doctors, businesses and more.
3. Give ’em what they want. People don’t buy from you because they think you’re the best. They buy because they think you can fill a need. People buy solutions, so that is what you want to focus your marketing message on giving. Too many people are self-centered in their marketing, focusing on features that say, “Hey, aren’t I great!”. But marketing works best when you’re customer focused on the benefits your product or services offer that say, “Hey, look what I can do for you!”.
4. Have a plan. The easiest way to market is to know what you’re doing each time you sit down to do it. I use a planner that has my businesses and under each a list of marketing strategies such as blog posts, articles, PR, social media and video. Each week, I go through and decide what I’ll do for each marketing tactic such as what topics I’ll write about on my blog or create a video about.
5. Re-purpose your message. Marketing requires many different strategies from social networking, article writing, ads, and so on. While you need to market every day, you also need to run a business. You can save time by re-purposing your marketing materials. For example, you can rewrite a blog post into an article to send to online and offline media that targets your market. You can turn that article into a slide show or video to post on your site other sites. You can put the video on a DVD and give it to consumers like a business card. You can have your tweets automatically sent to your Facebook page.
6. Track results. Not all marketing works. You save time and money by eliminating marketing strategies that don’t deliver results. But you can’t do that if you don’t track results. This can be done in many ways. For example, your website host offers statistics that can tell you from where visitors are finding you. Or you can use tracking codes in your URL’s so you know from where people found and clicked on your link. Or you can ask, “How did you find us?” when customers buy. Then focus your marketing on strategies and sources that work. Tweak or eliminate tactics that don’t work.
Marketing should be a part of your daily tasks, but it doesn’t have to overwhelm or consume all your time. By knowing and targeting your market, developing a plan, and assessing results, you can market efficiently and effectively.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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