The first step when marketing your business is to ask yourself what is your target demographic – age, sex, location, income, and the like. Once you have decided who you want to reach, you can determine how to successfully reach that specific audience.
Since it’s so technologically advanced in this day and age, it’s easy to intertwine various media types into one effective marketing campaign. The key is to make a plan and stick to it. Make sure your plan encompasses all of the media types you want to incorporate. That way, everything is all in one place, thus avoiding confusion or unnecessary mistakes. Develop a pricing component and include it in your financing. Keep in mind that the most cost-effective plan involves free social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter.
Prior to launching your own campaign, check out how your competition uses the media. What are the most and least effective strategies they have used? How can you tweak their strategies to create your own niche? What do their fans and followers respond to most? Do fans answer questions or comment on posted pictures? When is the competition getting the most interaction from its fans? Compile these observations to help fertilize your plan.
Keep in mind that different types of media offer different advantages. Social media allows you to interact with your audience immediately — a feature that is not always available in print, radio and TV mediums. But that doesn’t mean you should shy away from these either. We think that radio offers your business a bigger bang for your buck because it’s mobile and available in homes, cars, at work, on smart phones and iPods. An added value to print, radio and TV advertising is that they can all offer an online component to your campaign. If you decide that you want to do print ads in the newspaper, you may also be able to advertise in the newspaper’s online version as well. The ad executive at each outlet will give you tools, research and information for you to successfully reach your target demographic.
Another aspect to marketing your business is networking. Join chambers of commerce and networking organizations to help develop your referral base and word-of-mouth marketing strategies. For example, invite your chamber and local press to your ribbon cutting ceremony, or to another event you are hosting. The listing in the local paper is usually free or low cost, and it can boost people’s awareness of your business.
Once your business is open and your initial campaign has settled down, go through your feedback. Find out how people heard about you and make any necessary changes to your strategy — especially the parts of your plan that cost money. For example, if you thought you’d need local TV but feel as if you didn’t receive as much ROI (return on investment) as you would have liked, but found print advertising to be beneficial, you may want to utilize a public relations company to help you get stories into print publications.
Marketing today is more important than ever. Remember: If you don’t market your business, then your business doesn’t have a market.