Anyone who has ever been trapped in a traffic jam while desperately trying to get somewhere on time knows how confusing side streets can be. Turning onto one to find a fast way to get out of the jam can bring you right back to where you originally went off the main highway.
It can be the same with marketing a business: A business owner can rush into the latest and greatest marketing idea, only to find that he or she has spent a lot of money going nowhere. He hasn’t really moved the target market to buy his product or service.
Promoting a business today can be a maze of confusing options: Besides traditional public relations, advertising and direct mail, a plethora of marketing options have been presented by Social Media, Inbound Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Content Marketing, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter TV, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Paid Social Media and SEO. And new possibilities keep arising every day. It can be hard to keep up – even for seasoned marketers.
But there are some essentials to keep in mind when doing a marketing plan – and they never change. Before committing to any long-term program, ask yourself these questions:
1. What are you trying to sell? Whether you are in a service business or producing a product, you are, after all, trying to sell something. Be very clear about what that is.
2. Who are the people likely to be interested in buying what you are selling? This is a question that should be easy to answer, since you probably fashioned your product or service around a perceived need in the first place.
3. Where are these people likely to congregate? What do they read or view, what organizations do they belong to, what are their buying habits?
Now you are ready to do some research on the different marketing options. For instance, if you are selling a service to a high-income group, you will have a different set of choices than if you own a boutique clothing store. In the latter case, you really want to be out there, with heavy SEO and Social Media Marketing. If you are appealing to CEOs of major companies – not so much.
The point is not to start down the street until you know in what direction you should be headed. And yes, all of this takes time upfront, but it can really pay off in long-term results.
Posted by Margot Dimond