When I first thought of how to market my business, ideas for how to do it were things like.. print a brochure of flier, run an ad, send out some postcards. But I later discovered that’s actually upside down and is the last of 3 steps in an effective marketing strategy.
Many marketing efforts fail because they don’t follow the right order of things. We often focus on the fancy glossy brochures, and the image we project. I’m not against creating an image, by the way, but for small business owners, image is not the most important thing. We can leave that to giant companies with colossal marketing budgets. They can afford to focus countless dollars on “image-marketing.”
As small business owners, our marketing budgets are often limited. So when we implement a marketing strategy, the goal has to be “How can I get my ideal clients to take action, respond, get to know me and my business, and choose to do business with me?”
Logos and fancy brochures may get you some oohs and aahs from friends, family, business acquaintances and even prospects, but they are rarely set up to accomplish the goal of increasing business.
From my experience, here’s the most effective order of things for implementing your marketing actions:
1) Who: When you think of marketing your business, the first thing to think about is the profile of the person to whom you are targeting – your target market. Who are they, what’s their greatest need in your area of expertise, and how do they express that need. The answers are what you put into your marketing.
2) What: And what you put into your marketing is the message that is specifically tailored to your target audience. That message must resonate so strongly with their problems that they prompted into action. Action that makes them pick up the phone, go to your web site, etc.
3) How: The how is the tool you use to convey the message to your market. The tool or the media is the postcard, the flyer, the ad, etc. If you do not first know your target market, then the message will be weak which then makes the tool/media ineffective. Often people say things like “postcards don’t work” when the marketing process actually failed in steps 1 and 2 above.
When you finally get to step 3 where you are choosing the tool to reach your target market, the question to ask is “What action do I want them to take?” And your tool (flier, postcard, ad, etc) must lead them directly into taking that desired action. Don’t leave it up to the reader to figure it out. Specifically say things like “Call now for ….” “Click here to…” “Go to for…” Always end with a “call to action.”
Key Questions For You:
* How can you get so crystal clear on the profile of your ideal client that you’re able to refine your message to their specific problem so that you can then choose the best tool to reach them?
* What’s the specific action you want your prospect to take and how can you make that action step crystal clear within your marketing materials?