It doesn’t matter if you’re beginning the process of starting a new business, or if you’re already well established, having a strong online presence is incredibly important. Today, consumers tend to learn about local businesses online even if you have a physical brick-and-mortar presence. They want to know what you have, is it in stock and how much it is. If your website isn't telling them all that, or they can't easily find you online, you are missing out.

But how do you know where to spend your marketing dollars? How do you know what works and what doesn't

Small business owners who are looking for a way to keep track of their return on investment (ROI) and/or brand awareness need digital marketing. Today, there’s specific marketing for almost every industry - from law firm marketing for attorneys to ecommerce marketing for stores. Digital marketing isn’t only a need when it comes to promoting services and products, but it’s also critical for optimizing online assets so the business can be successful.

Let’s take a look at a few tips on how to develop your strategy.

Market Research

This is a critical aspect of developing your strategy for marketing. It has to do with collecting information that will provide you with an insight into how your customers or clients think, their buying patterns, and their location. Additionally, it can assist you with your initial sales forecast, monitor trends in the market, and help you keep track of your competition.

Profile Target Markets

 

Attempting to promote your service or product to everyone can be both ineffective and costly. 

Segmenting or grouping your potential customers (target market) based on a variety of characteristics can assist with focusing your efforts. Typically, this segmentation is based on things like where they’re located geographically, their gender, age, income, behavior, values, and lifestyle. 

Identify Your USP

Your USP, or unique selling proposition, is a unique reason for your customers to purchase from you as opposed to your competitors. It’s essentially what makes you stand out. It’s critical that you define what it is that you do differently as well as for you to convey that information to potential customers. Most of the time, this will reflect any unique skills or knowledge you have. 

Marketing Avenues

There are quite a few avenues available when it comes to marketing, and you need to consider your target market and which ones they might be exposed to the most. Some of your options include things like:

  • Business website
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Blogging
  • Networking events
  • Word of mouth
  • Letter drops
  • Social media
  • Flyers and brochures
  • Print advertising
  • Cold calling

Budget and Goals

Marketing goals are a must or you'll just be treading water when it comes to your results. These goals need to be SMART –Specific in terms,Measurable in outcome,Attainable and realistic,Relevant, andTime-based. If you miss any of these criteria you'll be back to square one and won't know where your money is going.

And speaking of money, you’ll need to give your marketing activities a budget. This spending plan needs to include the following elements:

  • Website maintenance and development
  • Branding design
  • Advertising
  • Employment of staff to accomplish marketing activities
  • Strategy for search engine optimization
  • Printing of a variety of promotional material
  • Sponsorships and donations

Start Marketing the Business Today – You Can’t Wait

 

You more than likely have quite a long road ahead of you if you haven’t already established a presence online. However, any steps you can take will have a massive impact on your overall business. Some of the steps, such as blogging, will definitely take at least a few months to begin kicking in and attracting traffic, but things like pay-per-click ads and social media posts can have near-immediate effects. If you still aren’t sure which direction is ideal for you, brainstorm your ideas with a focus group or marketing team to see which ones might be the way to go.