One of the qualities of high growth businesses is their strong focus on marketing. They regularly and continuously execute their marketing plans. It also follows that many businesses struggle because they don’t have marketing plans or execute them randomly.
Marketing is a master skill in business. If you are serious about the success of your business, you must take decisive action to transform yourself from simply being a business owner to becoming a marketer who owns a business.
How do you achieve this shift? Here are eight simple ideas you need to understand, and act on:
- Select Your Target Market: When you ask many business owners about their target market, they often say “everyone”, which, in reality, means no one. That is a huge mistake.
To succeed as a small business marketer, you need a laser-like focus on a narrow target market. You need a niche, a tightly defined segment of a sub-category, because you have a limited amount of money. You also need to focus your marketing message, because you cannot be all things to all people.
Targeting a niche lets you grow into a big fish in a small pond. It lets you dominate a small segment of your market. It positions you to develop a market that is an inch wide and a mile deep; a subsection of a market, with a lot of people looking for a solution to a specific problem.
This is a crucial first step in the marketing process. When your business focuses on the right target market, it will get a better return on the time, money and energy invested in it.
- Identify Your Target Customer: By targeting your market, you also decide who to exclude. Your goal should be to direct your marketing efforts at a clearly defined segment of the market. It is only after you dominate this market segment that you should go on and add another segment.
Be as specific as possible about your target market. Know their gender, age, geography. Have a picture of them. Know what keeps them awake at night. Know what they are afraid of. Figure out what angers them, what they desire personally or for their businesses. Study your target market with a view to getting into their minds. This knowledge will enable you to craft a compelling marketing message to engage their attention.
- Position Your Product or Service: Isolate what makes your product or service different in its chosen market. Articulate the reason for the existence of the business. Tell the market why your business is not just another business, why its product or service is not a ‘’me-too.’’
The goal is to help your customer decide why he or she should buy your company’s product or service instead of buying from a competitor.
- Choose Your Advertising Media: This is the vehicle you will use to communicate your message to your target market. Your media campaign must get three vital elements right, namely: The target market to send your message; the marketing message or offer to make to them; and the media through which to communicate the message to your target market: newspaper, radio, direct mail, telemarketing, Internet, TV, etc.
- Capture Leads: You need a database system for future follow-up, because not all interested leads will be ready to purchase immediately. Lead capture helps your business to manage interests and build a future sales pipeline.
You will need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to handle your leads and customer interactions.
- Nurture Your Leads: Nurture your leads by leading people from being interested in the product or service you offer them, to wanting to buy from you. This process predisposes potential customers to be interested, motivated and qualified to buy from you.
- Be Prolific In Marketing: Make frequent and repeated offers to your target market at regular intervals. As you get prolific, your compelling offers will build momentum and create buzz around your business. You will begin to spot trends.
With time, you get to know what sells and what doesn’t. You will become a better marketer. Your business will begin to experience more rapid growth.
- Get Your Team Out Of The Office: Knowing the foregoing and not doing them is the same as not knowing them. Your objective in transiting from business owner to the chief marketer of your business is three-fold: Get customers. Make money. Stand out in the marketplace.
How do you translate your marketing goal to an actionable plan? You must resist the temptation of the Small Business Owner, the one-man band, who unwittingly takes on too much, with the inevitable result that things will slip through gaps. Business is a team sport. You are never going to win on your own. You have to play to your strength in deciding the role to play.
Where are you strongest? Are you best at being an Entrepreneur, Specialist or Manager?
The entrepreneur is the ideas person or visionary. He or she sees a problem in the market, is willing to take the risks of solving the problem for a profit, and hires the right people needed to get the business up and running. The Specialist is an implementer of the entrepreneur’s vision. He or she applies a core competence in taking the vision of the entrepreneur, and helping to make it a reality. The manager handles the daily chores, ensuring that things get done, and the product or service envisioned by the entrepreneur is delivered on time and fit for purpose.
You are more likely to be at your best as an entrepreneur or a specialist. It is rare for you to excel equally at being entrepreneur, specialist and manager. You will need these three skills, through hiring or by outsourcing, to successfully navigate your transition from business owner to the chief marketer of your business.
Do you need help in transiting from Business Owner to the Chief Marketer of your business? Check out The SME Clinic at https://www.smefinance.org/sme-clinic/