It is a truism in business that you need to spend money to make money. Even if you offer the best products, prices, or services in the world, customers will not buy them if they have not heard about them. Every company, from large multinationals to sole proprietors needs to do some form of marketing, whether by word-of-mouth, social media, mass media or other channels. Whether you are selling law firm services or automotive parts, some of the same basic principles of marketing apply.
Find Your Niche
No one product or service is ideal for everyone. The key to a successful marketing campaign is defining your niche and focusing your marketing efforts on building your brand within that niche. Rather than trying to compete head on with other similar products or services on price alone, focus on fulfilling a specific set of needs. For example, if you focus on marketing law firm services, keep in mind the particular needs that your firm takes care of.
Define Your Targets
The key to an effective marketing plan is clearly defining your target audience. Marketing Medicare supplemental plans to teenagers or snow blowers to people living in Miami would be a waste of money. Before you develop a marketing plan, you need to think carefully about the groups most likely to need your product. While some products, like toilet paper, are used by everyone, for most products, the more carefully you can isolate a specific audience, such as environmentally conscious urban millennials or socially conservative older rural Christians, the more effective your marketing plan will be.
Patience Is Limited
No matter what you are marketing, do not expect people to be patient. According to an article on BBC News, consumers expect websites to load in two seconds. If your site takes longer than two seconds to load or has broken links, is difficult to read on a phone, or has other technical problems, customers will go elsewhere. If someone calls you and they need to wade through endless automated menus or wait for hours for someone to get back to them, they will go elsewhere. Part of marketing is making sure that anything that faces a customer is technically perfect, easy to use, and immediately responsive.
Chambers of Commerce
Your local Chamber of Commerce is an important tool for promoting your business both to retail customers and other businesses. Often, chambers organize marketing events and promotions that draw substantially wider audiences for less money than you could manage on your own. They often offer marketing seminars and networking events as well.
Social media are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they enable positive feedback about you to spread quickly but on the other hand, any customer dissatisfaction may go viral. This means part of your marketing strategy must include monitoring social media and reacting quickly to do damage control if anything negative about your company starts trending.
Spending Money to Make Money
While you do need to invest money in marketing to make money, by finding a specific niche and investing in targeting specific audiences, you can market your products or services more efficiently. With the right marketing strategy, you can build your business and maintain a strong brand identity.