Wouldn't it be nice if every small business had a professional marketing department? Imagine the expense, though. Many small companies and solopreneurs decide to do their own marketing because hiring a team is not feasible. Although you may bring on a professional designer for some aspects of advertising, you can do most of it yourself with a bit of know-how.
Demystifying Marketing Channels
If you listen to marketers talk, you'll hear them mention "channels." They aren't necessarily referring to television channels. Marketing channels are just all the different places, physical or digital, where you advertise. For example, email could be one of your marketing channels. So could direct mail, blogging, signage, and billboards. TV spots and social media also count.
When deciding which marketing channels to use, consider how big your budget is, what you already know how to do, and where your ideal customer is likely to see your ad. Don't try to jump into too many channels at once, but don't limit yourself to just one, either, and don't focus on only digital methods. According to research, display advertising and direct mail are still highly effective advertising methods, and they work even better in conjunction with digital marketing.
Clarifying Your Message
Before designing an effective marketing campaign, you need to have your message clearly in mind. Although you don't have to write every marketing piece before you send out your first campaign, you should have some overall themes in mind. The focus of your brand messaging should be the benefits for your customer. For example, instead of just "buy my stuff," your message should be closer to "my product can improve your life."
This overall brand message should permeate all of the marketing you create, both online and digital, including content marketing. If you read the marketing you've made and don't immediately see that theme coming through, neither will your customers. This consistency is vital in your marketing and brand voice, not only because it helps you get more business but because it builds trust in and expectations for you and your brand, even for future products and services you haven't developed yet.
Defining Your Marketing Goals
Before you jump into creating a ton of marketing copy, picture your ideal customer in detail. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish by marketing to this individual. Do you want to build brand awareness? Are you looking for immediate sales conversion? Is it time for your company to break into a new geographic area? Narrowly defining your customer base and your goals help guide your marketing strategy so you can move forward with intention.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Your Marketing
Now that you've developed some marketing materials, how can you tell whether your marketing is working? Find out where each new customer comes from. If you use digital marketing tools, such as social media, you can use the built-in analytics to see where you're getting the most hits. If people walk into your shop, ask them how they heard about you. Pay attention to where the best customers come from, and increase your efforts in that channel.
The basic principles of marketing are easy to learn, but they take some practice to implement. Be patient with yourself as you learn and do the best you can. You'll get better with every sales cycle.