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Have you noticed that there are two types of entrepreneurs? Those who run rapidly developing companies and those who just get stuck ‘getting-by’. What makes them different? It is basically based on one thing: How strong their marketing strategies are and how effective they are.
Regrettably, marketing as a whole topic is often viewed as a secondary concern, and entrepreneurs focus on separate things such as printed advertising, websites, landing pages, blogs, e-mails, or even social media, that, treated individually, will not have the same impact as a full, thoroughly thought marketing strategy aimed towards clear objectives.
What’s a marketing strategy? Well, it basically contains the steps you have to follow in order to reach the goals you have set for your business. A complete, well-thought marketing strategy is the key to create brand awareness, make your potential customers or investors interested, getting new sales and even making your current customers, loyal. A marketing strategy is a guideline towards the culture within your business, how your products and services are offered and the prices you set.
Focus is one of the most important things for you as an entrepreneur. It will be one of the things that will make you that entrepreneur who runs a rapidly growing business and not the one that’s trying to survive. Set realistic goals, stick to them and focus your actions on building them.
In order to shape an effective strategy, you will need to ponder many elements, today I would like to tell you about 5 key elements that worked for me when I was starting, and have done wonders for several new entrepreneurs. The most important thing is to be very clear on each element in order to concentrate your efforts towards it.
1. Your Customer
Defining to whom you are aiming your efforts should definitely be step one. It’s imperative that you have a clear definition of who your target customer is, so you can build your tactics around it. It may even mean that you will have to ‘exclude’ some types of customers that could buy from you, but aren’t your prime recipients.
Clearly defining your star-type of customer is not something that will happen overnight, you, and your team will have to sit down and discuss the pros, the cons and everything related until you reach a decision you’re all satisfied with. It might take work, but your marketing won’t be effective without clarity on this topic.
Narrowing your target market, and finding out who your target customer is, will allow you to understand who you are selling your products/services to, will allow your customers to feel appreciated and loved once you focus your efforts on them, and its ultimate goal will be increasing your sales (which, by the way, is called the target market paradox).
Just keep in mind that the more focused you are in a specific set of clients, the more you will know about them, and the better-suited your strategies will be, thus, the return on those efforts will be better.
2. Your Business
If you started a business, it’s because you have a clear understanding of who you are, or at least who and where you want to be. Try to describe your business in a concise matter. Just like Nike’s ‘Authentic Athletic Performance’ or Starbucks’ ‘High-quality coffee’, simple descriptions that deliver non-confusing messages are best for your business, especially if you’re just starting out.
Coming up with a complicated description for your business may sound interesting, in theory. However, what it actually does is sending a confusing message to everyone that’s trying to figure you out. People will be uncertain of what’s exactly what you do and in turn, this will make your marketing tactic unsuccessful.
Let me give you a simple tip, if a customer, potential customer, or even someone that could refer you, cannot recall with clarity what does your business do one month after knowing you, then they never actually knew what your business did in the first place.
3. Your Differentiator
Once again, being simple and narrow will make a good impact with your customers. If your product is brand new, never seen before, great! But chances are, your product or service is something that’s already been invented. But fear not, this is an opportunity. Innovation is key to any business, pick the main features (2 or 3 at most) that make you different.
Remember that in order to keep your customer’s interest, and to be remembered, you should not suffocate your customers with detailed information. Instead, focus on your main features, those that your target customer has proven to want, for real. Market, in plain words the benefits you are providing your customers with your product or service.
4. Your Competition
All the steps we have mentioned relate to each other, and this is no exception. It’s extremely important that you understand who your competition is, down to the target market you have described initially. This way you will know who your competition is targeting, and you will be able to aim your marketing strategies to grow your business.
Try to reduce your main competitors to one or two, and then build your strategies, your differentiation around that, don’t try to hoard all the market, be specific. Be unique
Why should a customer pick you? Why your service or your product is better than the rest? You’ve defined your perfect customer, your business, your competition, and now you should define yourself. What’s the thing that is going to separate you from the rest and lure those valuable customers over?
It will be the core of all your strategies, so it’ll be good if you think it through. In my case, corporate gifts for customers and employees were the way to go. Sometimes it could be something as small as a pen, or it could be a bag or a water bottle, it was a simple gesture, but it made my customers feel loved and appreciated, and it made my employees feel like they belonged (which made them my brand’s ambassadors as well).
6. Your Marketing Strategy
Having clear elements surrounding your business and your strategy will allow you to make the right choices when it comes to building and marketing your business. It really doesn’t make any sense to hire fancy community managers, build a shiny new website or create big e-mail strategies if your fundamental marketing strategy has no focus. Being clear about what you are and where you are headed will pave the path towards success.
The main key to victory? Discipline and patience. It won’t happen in one or two days. But with detailed analysis, concentration and hard work, you will be the entrepreneur that grows and runs a multimillion-dollar company.
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