Say you know nothing about marketing. Is it that important? Is it that necessary? The answer to both these questions is absolutely! Good marketing influences the decisions you make on:
- Customer service; and
- Your offered products and/or services.
The results of good marketing can make a difference in how the consumer looks at you, your product, your sales/services, and ultimately, your income.
So much is written about marketing, but where do you begin? Sure, you can hire experts, but you have neither the time nor the money. Googling the word “marketing”, going to the library, taking college classes, or talking to friends may add to your knowledge, but it can further confuse you. So, what should you do to avoid being overwhelmed? And what can you do to prepare yourself and benefit your business?
Do Your Homework
Before doing your own marketing, know about your products and/or services, study your market area, define your customer, evaluate your return, and learn all you can about your competitors. Study and research competitors in your area with similar products/services. Identify and make a list of things that you like about their business, as well as things you don’t like. If you can’t find a competitor, then find a related business to “shadow” for ideas. Identify “best practices” of competitors, and make a list of these things so you can model yourself and your business toward success.
Marketing Resources Are All Around You
When you are ready to begin your marketing, where/how do you develop good marketing resources? Marketing is all around you, and you’ve been using it for years. It affects you daily and influences your opinion of things, as well as the choices you make. Product placement on shelves, employee uniforms, signs, slogans, business cards, labels, phone solicitations, fliers, TV ads, notices, displays, lighting, clean vs dirty products, etc., all help you decide where to buy, what to buy, and when to buy.
Get Experienced Help
Early on (and when you have the capital), make a commitment to seek out the services of a good social media and/or e-mail specialist to provide a marketing focus to your business. Interview a few firms, and find one that will provide an initial consultation at no cost. You owe it to yourself to understand what the firm can do for you & your business, as well as what is expected of you and what it will cost.
Continue your relationship with SCORE, and attend the various workshops offered throughout the year. Make an appointment periodically with a SCORE mentor to obtain an impartial perspective and to discuss your business, focusing on your business plan and goals.