Marketing Planning

December 10, 2012 in , ,

A lot of businesses, particularly smaller online businesses, are hesitant to begin marketing right away. Many hold the belief that marketing is only about selling services and product and that they must be relatively well-established before marketing.

And to those businesses, here’s the hard-truth: you are wrong.

Marketing is about connecting with people and creating a loyal following. Businesses that market themselves early on get a head-start on their target audience and success.

And who doesn’t want that?

As an online business, you should start marketing right…now! Your target audience isn’t getting any younger, after all.

It’s important to remember that marketing doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. In this day and age, there are many free resources that make it easy to build a brand identity.

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Here are a few ways to market yours business without breaking the bank:

  • Start a Twitter account and use it. Retweet, ‘favorite’, and follow people – plus you can start your own hashtag and cross your fingers that you’ll ‘trend’…how cool is that? For example you could use #supersweetbusiness or #yourgreatbusinessname.
  • Offer an online ‘class’ on YouTube in which you provide people educational tips and information each week. It will give you the opportunity to connect with customers, share your expertise, and promote your business all at the same time. A trifecta of happiness!
  • Self-promote shamelessly, it’s not tacky, promise! Slap a bumper sticker on your car with your site’s URL, post the link to your site on your Facebook, hand out business cards at local events…be annoying, it’s effective. Well, sometimes.
  • Master the art of Google+. Google loves Google and so a relevant, updated Google+  will help you to get to the top of the search-engine totem pole and get your name out there as a company.
  • Pin pictures and how-to articles from your site on to Pinterest. But make sure they are worth pinning! Generally, people on Pinterest are attracted to content that can help them save time and money. They’re also attracted to beautiful and unique images. Update your site and make sure you have both then Pin away!
  • Collaborate with other online businesses and ‘advertise’ on their site and vice versa (ask them to give you referrals, name-drop your company, etc.). Perhaps create a badge or button for your site or blog and ask to swap?
  • Use Facebook and encourage people to ‘like’ your Facebook page. Make sure you keep it updated and fresh, too! Your Facebook page should be a place for you to push your relevant content (like your articles, blog posts, and YouTube videos), connect with your customers, and show off your personality to potential customers.
  • Create promotions and deals for referrals. Remember all those articles about people digging free things? Well, yeah. They do. Create an incentive for people to use your service, subscribe to your newsletter, or write a review – perhaps a giveaway or coupon codes?
  • Offer a weekly newsletter with cutting-edge articles and content. Think of how many newsletters you have sent straight to your trash can or junk mailbox? Don’t just chat about the happenings in your business (engagements, promotions, etc.), but talk about trends in your industry and articles that you’ve found interesting.
  • Sponsor a team, charity, event, etc. People love nice people. It’s true. Sponsoring a charity or event will let your business be seen in a good light and it will most-likely give you some warm fuzzies. Win-win!
  • Wedge your business ventures into conversations…organically. You don’t want to lose friends over this! But when the opportunity arises, talk about your business, your mission statement, and your goals. This will help you to feel comfortable promoting your business and will also help people to know more about it.
  •  Join LinkedIn and connect! Just like Facebook, Twitter, and other social mediums, LinkedIn will only be effective if you use it. Connect with like-minded people in your industry and promote your business. You can also ask for tips, create relationships, and spy on your competitors.

Marketing early allows you to assess what your market needs, what you can offer to them, and how your product stands out from the others. It will help you to refine your marketing plan for the future. It also helps you to better know your target audience and their response to your business venture.

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