Have you ever had a brilliant idea that combined with a passion of yours and you thought, “I could make a business out of that!”? Millions of other Americans have had that exact thought. Entrepreneurship is a huge part of this country’s economy, and every year, tons of new businesses are started. Every industry has ambitious individuals that want to get a foothold in the market, but many of them will struggle to survive beyond five years.
One of the main reasons why new brands fail is that they are unable to get enough customers. A solid customer base is the key to building long-term success, as you need people to buy your product to make money. In many cases, they prefer options from more established competitors. In others, they simply do not know of your existence.
Effective marketing is the solution to this problem. If you can promote brand awareness and convince customers that you can meet their needs better than competitors, then they will make the switch. Great marketing does not just happen accidentally. You need to build a marketing strategy that will work.
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The backbone of any business is knowledge of the customer, whether you are a stay-at-home mom starting a new company or the owner of a massive corporation. The more intimately you understand the target audience, the easier it is to choose channels and craft messaging that will connect with those potential customers. This insight only comes from research. You can conduct your own study of the target audience pretty easily with Google at your fingertips, but you could also pay for audience research by a professional firm. Either way, this information will be critical as you start to build a campaign strategy.
Marketing Channel Selection
There are tons of marketing channels you could try. Social media platforms, email marketing, direct mail, a presence at trade shows, search engine optimization for your website, and even branded merchandise such as promo sunscreen products. One is not automatically better than the others, as their success usually depends on the specific audience of the brand. However, for your business idea and the customers you want to attract, some channels will work far better than others. Young audiences are unlikely to pay much attention to television or radio commercials but are far more likely to respond to influencer marketing. Similarly, professional audiences should be contacted with a LinkedIn campaign rather than one based on Snapchat. Use your audience research to select channels that will connect with your audience.
Communicating Deeper Benefits
Many advertisements focus on the specific features of a product or the surface-level benefits. Statements like “the latest in technology” or “make your life easier” are common, but they do not reach the depths of a person’s emotions. The deeper benefits are what you find when you keep asking why. Why will someone want this product? Then you ask why that matters. The more you ask the question, the deeper the benefit becomes. You start finding more emotional benefits like “making more time for family” with fast meal preparation from Hello Fresh. An even deeper benefit is stronger familial relationships. Keep asking why when you craft your marketing messages to access the more compelling and emotional benefits of your product.
There is a general rule of seven in marketing. A person needs to see a message seven times before they make a purchasing decision. For a new business, you need to work even harder to get to that number since you do not have the benefit of household recognition in the early years. One way to pursue this goal is to use cross-channel integration. This means that your chosen marketing channels work together with similar messaging. Share a blog on social media that links to your website. Send out a direct mail campaign that asks people to follow you on social media. Invite people to your brick-and-mortar location in an email. Integrating your channels will help you reach a broader audience and yield more impressions with each potential customer.
Strategize First, Then Create
Some new business owners love the chance to flex their creativity with unique marketing strategies. However, you cannot afford to skip to the creation phase of marketing without intense planning. An ill-informed campaign is doomed to fail, especially if you do not understand your audience well or haven’t chosen effective channels. The tips listed above will help you build out a strategy that includes research and wise decisions. This strategy can then inform the decisions you make regarding the creation of marketing content.
Start with a well-researched strategy so that you don’t waste time or money on ineffective advertising efforts. With a new business, you probably have a lot on your plate, so avoid wasting resources on poor marketing that has no guiding principles.