How to develop your small businesses marketing strategy

The first step to develop your small business marketing strategy is to think about your audience.

“You need marketing if you want to be found by your target audience” If your competitors are marketing but you aren’t, your competitors will get all the business instead of you.

Your audience is out there, but they might not know about you if you aren’t putting your business out there.

The following steps can help you develop a basic plan from which your larger marketing strategy will take shape. Here’s how to define your brand and begin engaging your audience.

1. Define your brand
Your marketing strategy will, of course, be different from a business that has a different brand. Normally when you think of a brand, you think of the company name, like Apple or Sony. However, that isn’t all a brand means. So, how do you figure out your brand?

Developing a brand is a comprehensive first step in any marketing strategy. “You need to first identify why you are in business.

2. Create brand awareness
Once you’ve defined your brand, the next step is making sure people know about it. Every person who is aware of your brand is a potential customer.

Content is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness. “Video, written and auditory content helps highlight the business as an expert in the industry and provides value without the customer feeling they are being pitched.”

3. Conduct market research
If you’re having trouble figuring out who your audience is, the first step is doing some market research.

“Market research helps you identify whether you have a viable product or service, how saturated the market is, any gaps that you can fill, and … the appropriate price point,”

To do this, you should apply social listening on Facebook and especially Twitter. Join groups and find out what problems people are facing.

4. Put together a buyer persona
Another helpful tool for gaining an audience and pinpointing the various audiences you’re targeting is a buyer persona. It might seem silly at first, creating fake customers with fake lives and hobbies, but the more detail you go into, the better.

Your market research should help guide this, but effectively what this means is identifying a fictional person that represents a segment of the market. “You want to make it as thorough as possible, including more than just demographic.”

5. Find your target audience
You can’t run a successful business without customers, which is why experts and experienced business owners take figuring out your audience so seriously.

Many small business owners struggle with finding a target audience. This is because they feel that they are limiting their options by narrowing their focus. It’s important to remember that choosing a target audience doesn’t decrease your marketing, it only focuses your attention.

6. Create a website
Even if you don’t plan to sell products online, it’s crucial to have a website. When a potential customer finds a new business (new to them, or new in general), they are going to cross-reference that business, looking for its social media and website. A business website is a great and easy way to convey legitimacy to your audience.

7. Calculate a marketing budget
You could do all your marketing in-house, but it might not be your best bet. Consider hiring a consultant or outsourcing your marketing efforts to a small business marketing agency.

It’s probably best to hire a consultant, even if just for a one-time consultation, to figure out what a good budget would be to meet your goals. “Budgets can vary widely based on your industry, competition, and product or service. So, talk to an expert specifically about your goals to get an idea of budget.”

8. Choose marketing channels
Marketing channels are the various ways you reach your target audience. Email is one popular digital marketing channel, as is Facebook. Each platform you use to reach any segment of your audience is considered a different channel.

Most business owners default to Facebook, and it is a good channel to focus on. “Most people still use it on a daily basis, it’s not likely to go anywhere, and [it’s] continually updating the options available to business owners.

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