Going it alone in the world of business is both exciting and terrifying, and making it as a successful entrepreneur takes passion, dedication and focus. Once you have your enterprise up and running, the next big challenge is to attract enough customers to keep it going, and this is where marketing comes in. No matter what kind of business you run, the way in which you market it – especially in the early stages – will have a huge impact on its success, so employing the right strategies is key. To help get you started, here are some of the most important things to consider.
Know your audience
The only way to devise an effective marketing strategy is to know your target audience inside out. In order to engage the right people, you first need to understand them, so start by learning about and creating detailed customer personas. Think about exactly who you want to do business with and what makes them tick: are they in a specific industry, or geographical location? Does your product apply to a particular age group? Once you have a clear audience in mind, you can find the most effective ways of connecting with them.
Identify your channels
After familiarizing yourself with your target audience, you can now figure out how best to engage them. Start by brainstorming all potential channels that your customer personas are likely to use, from social media and email to Google search. This will also depend on your industry – Pinterest, for example, may be more relevant for fashion, whereas LinkedIn may hold more weight in the B2B sector; spend some time on each platform in order to gage how active your target audience is. Regardless of industry, however, Twitter and Facebook tend to be the most popular, so make these your starting point.
Allocate your resources
Finally, you need to divvy up your resources. First, prioritize your chosen channels in order of importance, and second, determine how much time and money you want to spend on each. This will vary from medium to medium; social media is largely free but demands a lot of time, whereas advertising can be costly but fairly low-effort. Consistency is key when it comes to successful marketing, so it's crucial to plan ahead; make sure that, if you start something, you allow enough time and money to sustain it. To start with, plan your marketing activity for the next three months; this will give you a good idea of what works and what doesn't, allowing you to adjust your strategy and reallocate resources where necessary.
With a proper plan in place, marketing your business becomes a lot simpler – and considerably more effective. Remember, the more robust your marketing efforts, the more customers you can reach, so use this guide to get your marketing strategy – and your business – off to a good start.