Beginning the Marketing Journey
Marketing plays a key part in business development. So, what do you do and how do you do it?
First of all, remember the golden rule, "If nobody knows who you are, what you do and the how they could benefit from your product or service, the phone will never ring and you will fail to win new business".
Know your market - You need to identify who your potential customers are. Do your research, identify the socio-economic groups who are likely to need your product or service. Now educate them and aim to demonstrate to your potential customers what your product / service offering is, the benefits to them of purchasing from you and let them know how to get in contact with you should they wish to do business.
Avoid copying others - Learning from your competitors is one thing. "Me-too" marketing is another. Simply copying your competitors will not win new business for you. Instead, observe what is working for your competitors and tweak the strategy in order to develop a new marketing message which is unique to you and your business and differentiates you from the competition.
If in doubt, ask for help - Many business people will spend time, energy and lots of money doing the wrong thing and getting poor results before deciding to buy in a little help. Be honest with yourself, if you don't have the expertise in-house, commit a little bit of budget to getting advice from a marketing agency or consultant.
Invest in marketing materials - Decide what marketing materials are most appropriate for your business. Do you need a website, business cards and brochures? Ask yourself, how do your customers find out about you and your competitors. If the answer is "online", then you need a website. If the answer is "through referrals" then you need to embed yourself into the local business community by joining local interest groups, the chamber of commerce, etc.
Communicate - As per the golden rule, you need to make sure that people know who you are, what you do and what the benefits of purchasing your products or services are to them. Write articles for the local and online press, start an email marketing campaign, host seminars on industry topics and start communicating with your customers. If you are offering the right product or service and people know where to find you and that you are knowledgeable, the sales will come.