Starters for Start-Ups
By: Kevin Nunley
|Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice, copywriting, and promotion packages. See his 10,000 free marketing ideas at DrNunley.com Reach Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-328-9006.|
"I know this business inside out," Laura told me the week she started her new business. "I just don't have the foggiest idea of how to market it!"
It's a problem that almost everyone starting a new business faces. You can be the best plumber, tax accountant, or doctor in the world, but if you don't know how to get the word out--how to market your product or service--there's no way you can get the customers you need.
Here are five essential steps to follow to get great marketing that doesn't cost a fortune.
1. What is your market?
Decide who your main customers are. As a group, how old are they? Where do they live? How much money do they make? What kinds of jobs do they have and what are their interests? The better you can sketch a detailed profile of the kinds of people who will be your main customers, the better you'll fare in the next four steps.
2. What kinds of media do your main customers use?
Each type of media has its own target audience. Each radio station, newspaper, magazine, or TV program tries to interest a specific segment of the population. The trick is to match your main customers with the kinds of media they use.
A Top 40 radio station tries to reach teenagers and 18 to 34 year-old women. The local newspaper may be geared to homeowners over the age of 35. An industry trade magazine might be read mostly by senior managers scattered all around the country.
If you aren't sure what group a media outlet is targeting, ask their sales department. Maybe you have a service business that will be of interest to people living in a certain neighborhood. Flyers delivered door-to-door could be the best way to let prospects know about you.
Remember that media isn't just TV and newspapers. Effective media can be anything that conveys your message. Media choices range from million dollar commercials in the Super Bowl to a few free pens with your name on them.
3. Limit the media you use to what you can afford to use consistently.
The key to effective marketing is consistency. You have to hit the audience with your message again, and again, and again.
Marketers use the Rule of Seven. Prospects must see or hear your message seven times before they consider buying.
Don't blow your entire marketing budget on a one-shot media blitz. Choose a less expensive type of media that you can afford to use week after week. That's how you get marketing success.
4. Sell the main benefit of your product or service. Make your marketing client-centered.
How does your product or service improve your customer's life? Talk to your customer from their own perspective. Does your product or service save them time? Make them richer? Make them more attractive? Your marketing should drive home this most important benefit as clearly and directly as possible. Customers buy benefits! When you advertise the features of your product or service, connect those features to the benefits they will bring the customer.
5. And finally, don't miss out on FREE publicity. Radio, TV, newspapers, newsletters, and magazines are constantly on the lookout for good stories. Prospective customers will be impressed if a media outlet features a story on what you do.
Is there something about you or your business that would interest other people? Is there something about your business that is newsworthy? Maybe you have useful information to share with others. Consider sending a press release to your local newspaper.
Better yet, make a phone call to the news desk. Radio DJs can often be persuaded to talk about your business, especially if you take them a free sample. Consider your cable TV company's community bulletin board and an article for the trade publication that covers your industry. (Drop me a note and ask for my free report on media publicity.)
Last, but certainly not least, remember to promote your business on-line. The net is open to everyone. It's the only "big" media that allows the small business person to get their message out at very low cost. Bulletin boards and newsgroups may appreciate helpful information that you provide, and most won't mind if you sign your name along with four to six lines about your business.
These are the five essential steps to effective marketing. Keep them in mind as you decide how to market your new business. They are the single most important reasons why some marketing fails while other marketing brings loads of new customers and profits.
© 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996 DrNunley.com.
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