Marketing is the life-line for every business which determines if a business will succeed or fail. Here, 23 Marketing Ideas your business should start running with immediately.
Let’s get started!
1. Be sure that you have product/market fit.
Some of the best ideas don’t have a market that can grow and sustain it. Before buckling down, take the time to research your market and competitors to understand if there is an opportunity for yourself and your business. More often than not you might find that you have to make certain tweaks in the product or offering or idea in order to attract the right people.
2. Create a clear positioning for your business.
Be really clear on the solution your business delivers. This is the first step towards extensive understanding of your product and the audience it is for. Without a clear positioning, everything else you do won’t work.
3. Validate your business idea.
The best way to validate your idea is to make sure people are willing to pay for it. Sure, you can have 100 interested people on your email list, but if no one is willing to pay for it then you might need to go back to the drawing board (revisit number 1).
Here’s an example way to validate your business idea:
Run a targeted ad > Capture someone’s email > Ask them to pre-pay for your product or service.
Related: 11 reasons crowdfunding is the best way to launch your business
4. Know exactly who your customers are by developing customer personas.
According to Neil Patel:
“As time and technology change, so do customer buying habits and challenges. Every day, new businesses attempt to replace you in the marketplace. Maintain your competitive edge by understanding your customers or clients better.”
Customers personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help you document and internalize the ideal customer you’re trying to attract.
Getting that deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is essential for content creation, product development, sales and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention. With any business decision, just think back to the customer persona(s) and determine if this is what will work for her.
Here’s an example:
5. Stand out with a powerful unique selling proposition (USP).
When there’s 100 businesses out there that offer the same or similar services as you do, how do you stand out? Every entrepreneur is different, be sure to add your own flair to your brand and offering so that people have a reason to buy from you over the competition.
Your USP can be your stellar reputation in customer service, or a trademarked process, or even your online persona. It’s important to communicate your USP to your audience.
Example: a lot of marketers out there help you launch your product. NAME does it in a brass and in-your-face way that draws a certain type of following. Those who respond well to this leader brand will undoubtedly buy from her over any other launch experts.
6. Correctly price your offering for your audience.
There’s no way a hand-sewn lambskin bag from New Zealand can sell for USD$7,800. However, a lambskin Chanel bag can easily fetch that amount or more. When you’re pricing your offering, make sure that it works with the type of audience you’re looking to target. Don’t unknowingly price out your main audience.
(although the article uses the landscape industry as an example, the information here is still highly useful for other industries)
7. Learn your customers’ lingo by identifying their “trigger phrases”.
You can do this by sourcing other competitors online and reading through their testimonials. What are customers disgruntled about? What “trigger phrases” are they using most? Another method is to go to Amazon and finding popular books and similar products to what you’re offering. There, look at all the 5-star and 1-star reviews to identify “trigger phrases” that people are using.
A trigger phrase is any set of words that clearly describe a pain point or solution the reviewer had with a product. You can use these phrases in your marketing to be the most relatable.
8. Borrow ideas from those who are doing it right.
One of the most obvious places to learn how to market your brand is to look at your most successful competitors.
Reverse engineer their strategies and add your own flair to build up your presence. Research tools like BuiltWith give insights into which tools make up their competitors websites. A tool like SimilarWeb tells you what types of channels they are using for their own online presence and customer acquisition.
9. Build a competitor research folder
Make sure that you have a document somewhere that collates all the competitors that you’ve looked into. It can be incredibly helpful to go back every few months to see what your competitors are doing, what has been working for them (that they continue to do) and what hasn’t been working for them (that they end up removing from their site or offering).
Save all this information from forums, online communities, reviews, feedback, etc. into a folder or area that you can refer to later at any time.
10. Learn how to grow your business with help from your suppliers and vendors.
Having a solid relationship with your vendors and suppliers has many benefits. Specifically, they have deeper insights than most about the workings of your industry.
Having worked with many other sellers, they can help you identify what’s working so you both make more sales.
11. Sign up for online business training to revamp, expand and fine-tune all of your marketable skills.
I always say that learning is a lifelong skill. Be sure that you continue adding to your repertoire of knowledge and tools, both in your own business niche and also beyond its borders. Not only will your clients be grateful for your knowledge and/or your domain expertise (that’s why they pay you!), but also remember that the best innovation and advances come from synthesizing knowledge from multiple realms. As Steve Jobs once said, “stay hungry, stay foolish”.
12. Use consistent branding across all channels to be memorable.
You will need to have a clear, identifiable brand across all of your channels. This helps your customers immediately recognize you and ensure that your USP is top-of-mind. Without a consistent brand, there is possibility of confusing current customers as they become unsure of what you do and who you are.
I recommend using a tool like Canva to help you create your branding. The tool offers easy-start guides for each social channel and also provides you with useful templates.
13. Under promise and over deliver.
One of the most basic tenants of marketing is to under promise and over deliver.
Imagine this scenario: a digital marketer promises you 500 leads for you within 7 days. On day 7, you’re only at 450 leads. Although you’re up 450 leads, the goal anchor of 500 leads still makes you think that you’re at a loss.
However, if this same person promises you 300 leads within 7 days and delivers 450, everyone becomes elated.
So as a business, remember to always under promise and over-deliver.
14. Stay up-to-date by reading industry news, magazines and publications.
It’s critical that you follow relevant news to stay up-to-date and informed. Especially if your customers or clients rely on you and your expertise to make their business work.
As a digital marketer, I’m always on the prowl for the newest tool and tech to help make more money for my clients. Maybe Facebook and Instagram are producing the highest ROI right now, but tomorrow the landscape might be completely different.
15. Get valuable feedback with focus groups.
Focus groups are an extremely effective way of getting feedback before going all in on a new venture, product service offering and more.
Don’t let the word “focus groups” scare you off. It can be as easy as calling up people in your network (who are in your target audience group) to ask them some questions.
16. Become the go-to expert in your field.
How many times do you want to choose a so-so doctor over a doctor who is the best in their field?
If you’re not an expert in your field, potential customers will recognize that and choose a competitor. Become an expert by repeatedly being visible and relevant to your audience.
17. Use relevant holidays as a promotional tool to get customers to buy.
It’s no secret that Black Friday and Christmas are huge holidays for businesses. And specific holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are huge for flower shops! Prom and Homecoming are huge for suit/dress stores.
There’s many combinations of holidays that are good for certain types of business, and some big holidays that are good for everyone. The point is you need to identify those holidays and plan ahead so you know exactly how you plan to leverage that (specials, discounts, free gifts, etc.)
18. Create a marketing calendar for important dates and milestones.
Similar to holidays, your business likely has a number of other important events and milestones that you need to have documented somewhere obvious so everyone on your team has time to prepare.
In order for you to capitalize on those events, you’ll need your team to start creating an offer and marketing it at least 30 days in advance. Having it all on a calendar helps your team to stay on top of any marketing activities.
(this link takes you beyond Federal holidays and includes things like National Opposite Day)
19. Get local customers by understanding the demographics of your area.
Local small businesses need to understand the demographics of their city before they choose a location. Local demographics also help you determine what types of promos or offerings you will need to create.
20. Free up your time with the help of a virtual assistant.
Like most entrepreneurs I can be a control freak because I want everything to work “perfectly”. But if your budget allows it, consider using UpWork to find a virtual assistant to take care of menial tasks like email, meeting scheduling, admin work, etc. to free up your time for more important things.
21. Set clear, concise goals with a marketing plan.
You can’t score if you don’t have a goal. It’s true in sports and true in life.
Without a plan in place that has steps towards your business goals, you’re just shooting in the dark.
Without a plan you won’t have recourse when things go wrong or the motivation to persevere without a clear goal and outcome in mind.
22. Get where you want to be faster with a professional marketer and/or consultant.
Smart businesses know when to admit they need some extra help. Hiring a professional marketing consultant to help guide your strategy and implement the tactics can skyrocket your business growth by leaning on their expertise.
23. Customers ask, you answer.
Marcus Sheridan from The Sales Lion say:
If a company is obsessed with hearing the questions, concerns, and needs of their clients — they’ll never run out of content ideas. They’ll also stay ahead of their competitors, because when we listen well, the customer shows us where the business model needs to go.