When it comes to running a business, marketing is the the umph that makes your product stand out in a world of commodities.
Understand that your target customer hasn’t been waiting for you to come to market to answer the problem you are hoping to solve. Whether you are selling a book, a service, or a product, you need to go to specific steps to communicate effectively to your target in a language they can understand. Also, let’s cut it to the chase, if you are living anywhere after 2017, there is a good chance that all businesses need a website and other forms of digital marketing. The good thing is that digital marketing is cheaper than brick and mortar, but it shouldn’t be free (unless you don’t believe in yourself).
There are three questions that you absolutely need to ask yourself to measure success as you start your business. Marketing should not be buried under the noise of the daily grind.
What is your prospect looking for in your product?
In marketing, you have to start with your customer, not at a business level, nor an industry level, but at the individual level. It doesn’t have to be something they are necessarily conscious about. It can be a pain point they are facing that you offer a solution for. There are countless ways to remove a splinter from someone’s hand, and you are offering one option – the best option. Identify – very accurately – what pain point you are solving and if people understand it the same way you are presenting it.
Where can the person you identified find you?
If the Internet were a mall, it would be a gigantic place for people to just run into your store. To be seen, you need to be visible. I know it sounds self-evident, but I am always amazed at how many small businesses invest in creating websites, or use free options like Wix, only to find no one ever discovers them. Study your industry. See what the most successful companies are doing. They might be running few digital ads to start, creating a network on social media, or starting a blog. For example, if you are selling a book online, you are the product, and your unique perspective makes the book desirable. The difference will come from having a professional cover, professional pictures, and a platform from where people will be able to read reviews of your work and purchase your book.
How do you measure your growth?
If you don’t have a mechanism that allows you to measure business growth, you won’t know if you are making an impact. Before selling products or services for hundreds or thousands of dollars, there will be a time where you will sell influence and (ideally) see people read your content and visit your page. Seeing more visitors to your website is a good indicator – and a great feeling. Seeing people liking your business page on Facebook can be as well. Twitter followers also can be a good way to start seeing trends. These upward trends create a feeling of self-worth and personal success, even if you are not getting paid as well as you had hoped.
Be careful not to use these social networks to only talk about you or make it your open journal for your friends or family, however. You need to be relevant in your industry, and having more friends usually doesn’t influence your bottom line. You want high-value followers, people relevant in one way or another to the service you are offering.
Before people knock at your door, figuratively speaking, you will need to know what your vision is. Be honest with yourself on your capacities and what you are trying to accomplish. Being honest comes from knowing your purpose and objective in this venture. Only offer promises you can deliver on. Your reputation is your best asset. Find out when it is time to invest and when it is time to stop or pivot.