By Smith Willas
A noteworthy trend in startup landscape is quite simple to understand – it’s easy to start a business but equally difficult to run it successfully. The entrepreneurial journey is thronged with many challenges; it indeed proves to be a difficult road ahead, but starting with a right foundation can make a huge difference.
So what’s the solid foundation we are talking about? Entrepreneurship is just like shooting an arrow in the dark unless you have an idea where the right direction is; might I say, it’s like sailing through an ocean without a compass. A “marketing plan” is the most important element here. A well-devised and concrete marketing plan is a roadmap for reaching out to your audience and achieving your business goals. Unless people know your company and what it offers, how and why on earth would they buy your products? Therefore marketing is very crucial to get your word out so people know you are also in the game.
Here are some tips to create a winning marketing plan:
- Identify your target audience
Before you jump on selling your product or service, it’s critical to know whom you want to sell them. You have to identify who is most likely to want or need what you are offering. It will help you assess how much demand is out there for your product or service. You will be able to establish better communication, and hence, meet their needs. The first step in determining your target market is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Find out their concerns for which your product or service is a tangible solution. Without a specific customer base, your marketing efforts will get you nowhere, you will witness low conversion rate, while your customer acquisition rate will cost your dearly. The following tips will guide you in determining your target audience:
- Create a customer profile: People who need your product or service have certain characteristics in common. You need to generate customer profiles in terms of age, gender, income level, and location. You can also include other factors such as marital status, families without or without children, hobbies, and interests.
- Market research: Conducting a thorough market research will give you a valuable insight about your potential customers. Surveys and interviews are important tools for figuring out what your consumers need.
- Analyze your competition: Learning about your competition can give a distinct advantage. Just go through their websites, check social media feeds, and identify their best-selling products or services.
- Consolidate your key marketing elements
After you have identified your target market, you have to focus on key marketing elements, which are the combination of practices you can use to satisfy your customers and meet your business objectives. Consolidating these elements will put you on the path of success. Here are these crucial elements:
- Process: Process refers to the entire operations involved in producing goods or services and delivering them to the consumers. So having a good process in place ensures that you regularly deliver and maintain the same quality of service to your customers. It saves your time and money because of an increased efficiency. A good example of an effective product delivery mechanism is Mercato that gives you a direct access to best quality of food shops. It’s delivery is faster, easier and highly convenient.
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC): In simple words, CAC is cost of acquiring a new customer. High CAC is one of the biggest reasons why startups fail. Determining your CAC is crucial while evaluating your marketing return on investment. It helps you learn more about channels that convert. So you can come up with solutions that help you acquire and retain your customers.
- Scalability: Scalability is the ability of a business to accommodate and expand according to the growth. As an entrepreneur, you need to grow in order to be successful, and if you aren’t prepared for that growth, you can’t fulfill your objectives.
- Clear conversion goals: Once you have understood your target audience, what their needs are, and the steps they take on their buyer journey, you can easily figure out what actions you have to take to attract them.
- Have an emphatic digital presence
In this increasingly digitalized world, marketing means nothing if you don’t have a sound digital presence. Competition is one of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurial journey, which is why a web presence is both important and more complicated than ever. While offline marketing is crucial as before, but aggressive online marketing is the need of the hour. It starts with having a website that can perform a multitude of functions. Your brand should be visible and easy to be found online. A professionally designed website not just looks great, but it draws more customers to your business. A great website has all the important ingredients that make it alluring for customers, such as relevant & informative content, visuals, recordings, contact forms, and high authority links.
Your business’s web presence is incomplete without a strong social media presence. Today, billions of people are active on various social media channels, and they can be low hanging fruits for businesses. Creating business profiles on popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest can give you a good visibility. Social media also allows you to be creative and innovative in terms of engaging with your target market. To drive more engagement within your niche, you need attractive social media banners. They can serve as an important tool within your profile page. You can also use them as a marketing instrument in the form of campaigns.
- Start blogging
Blogging is increasingly becoming a highly effective marketing tactic to give your business more online visibility. According to a report, businesses that are involved in blogging generate 126% leads than their competitors who don’t. Blogging helps you position your company as a trusted brand, while getting more organic search traffic to your site. Google’s upgraded algorithm also supports a website’s good content and frequency of posts. It is practically not possible to frequently update all the pages of your website, blogging can help you on this count. Every time you write a blog, you have one more indexed page on your website. That provides you with one more chance to appear in search engines, which in turn helps you attract more readers. Blogging also makes your brand visible through social media. Whenever you write an informative post, people share it on social networks. That means your business is getting more exposure and finding a new audience base.
- SEO and Link Building will give you an edge
SEO is the technique that makes a webpage get higher ranking in search engines. Today, search engines have become a major source of revenue for most of the digital startups as they are providing a significant amount of organic traffic to websites, which is why a strong SEO strategy will potentially increase your ROI. There are millions of companies out there and many more keep adding up in the fray, but the ones that incorporate effective SEO techniques are more likely to be found out by prospects. For that reason, SEO has become an integral part of any digital marketing strategy. According to a report, 74% of consumers use search engines to find local business information. To implement an effective SEO strategy, a website analysis tool or an SEO checker can help you accomplish various SEO tasks, such as backlink investigation, keyword research, speed monitoring & optimization, etc. Mobile optimization is also very important since a huge amount of traffic is coming through mobile devices. Google also gives more importance to mobile-based searches.
Link building is an important part of search engine optimization that gives you more exposure on search engines. It’s the process of getting links from high quality and high authority sites. Incoming links from an authority website are always rewarded in Google Search. There are a number of benefits of link building:
- It make your blog more visible in search results.
- You receive traffic from other websites that are linked to you.
- High-authority incoming links means your brand is trustworthy.
- It helps your business page or posts get indexed in search engines much quicker.
No business can grow without a well-structured marketing plan, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. All you need to do is put your time, effort, and creativity. Just understand what your audience needs and how you can meet them. Therefore channel all your energy toward providing your audience with unique solutions.
Smith Willas is a freelance writer, blogger, and digital media journalist. He has a management degree in Supply Chain & Operations Management and Marketing and boasts a wide-ranging background in digital media. You can follow him on Twitter.
Marketing stock photo by Farizun Amrod Saad/Shutterstock