If you’re a start-up or small business, chances are you are looking for the most effective marketing means to get you the most effective end. Here are six tips to get a great return on your limited marketing budget.
1. Create customer personas
Your ideal customer may be just that – an ideal – at this beginning phase, but you should know to whom you are aiming to sell. If you don’t create structured pen portraits, or biographies of your target customers, you’ll end up creating a marketing strategy and communications that try to sell to everyone, which will end up appealing to no one. If you’ve done marketing research already, great. If not, do a quick competitor research – who are your competitors selling to? What tone do they use online? Who are their followers on social media? What brands do they affiliate themselves with? Answering these questions will help you develop a few personas that help you identify the general age, socioeconomic status, demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer.
2. Map the customer cycle
There’s nothing worse than having no idea when your customer would be interested in buying your product or service, especially online when retargeting and data are so important to the entire buying cycle. So as you start to set up your marketing strategy, pinpoint times in which a customer can come in to buy from you. For instance, a Facebook ad, a sales email or a Pinterest pin leading back to your product are all times when a customer could be introduced to your product. But given that 99% of people won’t buy the first time, you need to be intelligent about retargeting, blogging and creating email campaigns that educate potential customers on why they’ll need your product.
3. Give your customers a constant feedback loop
Customers – even a few – can be your biggest evangelists, but you need to give them a stake in what you do to feel that way. Social media is a great way to give your customers a way to give you feedback, and to reply to this feedback.
4. Incentivise people to evangalise
Not only can you leverage feedback, but evangelisers who want to be affiliated with your product. Giving discounts for customers who refer your product or service online, get new subscribers to your mailing list or even share a tweet or Facebook post, are great ways to grow your audience for free.
5. Build strategic partnerships
Are there brands or online influencers who have already cracked the market you want to enter? Team up with them by offering discounts to their followers, unique add-ons to their products, such as a complementary ebook or other product, or even free events for their audiences. This is a great way to expand your brand and/or product exposure, and get a little (or a lot) of free press.
6. Develop branded content
There are few strategies more effective than content marketing. Blogging, social media, SEO and reviews not only push up your search engine rankings but position your company as a thought leader. When executed well, you’ll also notice an expanded audience of newsletter subscribers, for instance, and an increased pool of customers.
Starting out is never easy, but there IS such a thing as a free lunch – these tips! We hope they work as you continue to develop your marketing strategy. What are the tips you find most useful?