There is no cookie-cutter marketing template that you can graft on top of your small business and hope to see success. There are too many variables at play to trust a one size fits all approach. Instead, business owners need to account for several factors and select the marketing channels that will serve their business best when devising a marketing strategy.
This post will discuss different marketing channels and their uses to help you develop a stronger marketing sense.
But first, who are you? What do you do, and for whom? The following formula is essential for developing a marketing strategy.
In order to effectively market your business, you need to know three essential things—who you are, what you do, and for whom. Many businesses don’t take the time to develop this brand identity, but without it, it’s challenging to determine who your target audience is—let alone connect with them.
Let’s break down the following business identity formula: [We are X] + [Who do Y] + [For Z].
How would you describe your team? Are you a bunch of young, industrious entrepreneurs? Or are you experienced veterans of your industry? Are you a bunch of techies with a passion for analytics, or is your team driven by some higher purpose—ecological, moral, ethical?
Knowing your team’s identity—the who—is the first part of the equation. It will influence who you reach out to and how.
What does your team do? What gives your business the edge? What good or service does your business provide that can’t be matched by any other team?
You need to be able to succinctly outline what distinguishes your goods or services from the competition. If you can’t distinguish your goods or services from the competition, how will your potential customers do so?
Finally, but not least important, who do you aim to serve? This part of the equation will determine who to target and how during your marketing campaigns. For example, do you serve e-commerce businesses that need quick and inexpensive IT solutions? Or do you serve high-net-worth investors who require detailed and personalized risk assessments?
You want to be extremely specific when outlining all three factors of your brand identity. These factors are plastic and can change with time, but it’s important to start with narrow and specific parameters. Starting with definitions that are too broad will over-extend your marketing budget and strategy.
When first devising your marketing strategy, you need to stay narrow and specific when defining who you are, what you do, and for whom.
Now that you have a better idea of who you are and what you do, you can start to explore what marketing channels are best for promoting your business.
This marketing channel uses email lists to help keep customers aware of deals, upcoming events, new products, and services. Email marketing helps to improve customer engagement and fosters a community around your brand, good, or service.
In addition to marketing your goods and services directly to customers on your email list, email marketing is also an effective tool for promoting podcasts, blog posts, social media posts, and videos. Email marketing is also a great way to supplement your social media marketing and content marketing campaigns.
Social media marketing can get your business in front of tens of thousands of social media users, which has the effect of widening the top of your sales funnel.
You can draw leads to your website through content promoted on social media platforms through strategic posts that attract and engage followers. Not sure which social media platform to use? Find out the most widely used platforms among your target demographic.
Content marketing involves creating engaging and valuable content—blog posts, videos, and podcasts—with the aim of building brand authority among content consumers. Content marketing campaigns help position your business as the go-to expert in its niche. The content you produce has real-world, applicable value for consumers.
Referral marketing is a system that rewards current customers for spreading the word about your business to new customers. This incentive-based marketing strategy comes at a low cost to the business and encourages a ground-floor, word-of-mouth style of marketing campaign.
This marketing channel is a useful way to bring potential customers together in one space—real or virtual—to workshop ideas, showcase new products and create strong bonds between customers and a business’s brand. Whether in the form of online classes, product demos, or cocktail events, this type of experience-based marketing helps your brand engage directly with real customers.
PPC advertising helps ensure that your business appears at the top of the search engine results page. Businesses bid on keywords that potential customers are likely to search for and pay a fee each time a potential customer clicks through the ad to the business’s website or service page.
Determining which combination of marketing channels best serves your business’s needs starts with figuring out who you are, what you do, and for whom. After defining your business according to this equation, you can begin to explore which marketing channels will be the most beneficial for you.
Roni Davis is a content strategist, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She works for First National Realty Partners, a nationwide commercial real estate investment firm.