[00:00:39] Whether you’re operating a small business with just a few employees or you’re a freelancer or solopreneur, your ability to effectively market your products and services to your customers is vital. And, to effectively market your products and services, you first must get back to the basics and align your marketing goals with your business strategy.
[00:01:01] Once you have accomplished this, your next step is to develop a well-thought-out strategy to convey the right messages, deliver them on the right channels, and monitor your metrics to achieve your marketing goals. You may be wondering how do I do that?
[00:01:19] Well, you start by asking yourself these five insanely simple but crucial marketing questions. You answer them from your target customer’s perspective. I want to say that again. You answer the questions based on how your target customers would answer the questions, not how you feel they should answer the questions.
[00:01:44] So that’s going to require that you do some research, talking with your current customers, as well as your ideal customers to get a better understanding of their perspective and their behaviors when they’re trying to identify products and services that you sell.
[00:02:02] Now, the first question is what primary challenge does your product and service solve or opportunity does it create for your customers?
[00:02:14] I know this is an obvious question, but it’s one that most small business owners, solopreneurs and freelancers often overlook when developing their marketing strategies, their messages, as well as their campaigns. This is an extremely powerful consideration for your marketing efforts and provides tremendous insights for your marketing communications.
[00:02:38] Again, we’re going to answer this from your customer’s perspective, not how you feel they should answer the question. As you prepare for your next marketing campaign, you should really think about the reason you developed the product or service for your specific target customers. And the benefits of your particular product or service provides for them?
[00:03:03] While many business owners can clearly articulate their personal reasons for starting their businesses, including wanting to be their own boss or finding more satisfaction in their personal life or even creating wealth, oftentimes, they find it challenging to express why their business helps their customers. Whether your new product or service disrupted the marketplace, or you provide a product or service in a well-defined and mature market, focusing on why your business provides value to your customers is a major component of successful brand and marketing strategies.
[00:04:01] The second question to ask is what unique experience do you provide for your customers? Now, I know this is extraordinarily difficult because a lot of business owners feel that they’re not doing anything unique. They’re providing good customer service. They’re providing a quality product or service and that’s the end of the story. Actually, that’s where your story begins. Every business is unique.
[00:04:35] The experiences that you create for your customers are unique. And while your products or services may already exist in the marketplace, how you deliver them and how you care for your customers is unique. No two businesses do it the same. And therein lies the opportunity for you to begin differentiating your products and services in the marketplace. But to do that, you absolutely have to drill down to what is unique about how you deliver your products and services for your customers. Then, you need to make sure that your brand is reflective of those unique characteristics that you provide, whether its exceptional customer service, value added opportunities for your customers.
[00:05:31] I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about why your brand is so crucially important to your marketing efforts. Strong brands convey the value that you provide to your customers and the promise that you make to them. It’s extremely important to know that your brand is built from the inside-out and that there are absolutely no shortcuts to creating a positive, recognizable and profitable brand.
[00:06:28] Here’s why you’re a small business brand is so important to your marketing efforts. Without a consistent, proactive and purposeful brand strategy. You are diffusing your ability to successfully position yourself in the marketplace and confusing your customers. You’re essentially adding additional complexity and unnecessary time to your sales cycle and you’re reducing your ability to cross sale and up sale your customers. But by far, most importantly, without a strong brand strategy, you are significantly weakening your value proposition, diminishing your ability to command premium pricing and creating more of a challenge for your marketing messages to resonate with your target customer base.
[00:07:24] If you would like more information on this topic, check out podcast number one, Branding Matters: Unlock Competitive Advantages for Faster Growth.
[00:08:19] The third question to ask is when your ideal customer is searching for your product or service what search terms will they use? You can exponentially strengthen your marketing and increase your visibility by thinking like your current and potential customers and use the search terms and keywords they will actually use when searching for your product or service in your marketing efforts.
[00:08:49] This immediately will help you begin the process of connecting with your customers. It will make you more discoverable, and it will also increase the opportunity of your ability to resonate your messages with them and to get them to explore what you have to offer.
[00:09:10] You really do want to be strategic in understanding how your customers would search for you online. What search terms your customers will use when describing or looking for your product or service, and that should be absolutely essential part of your marketing messages as well as your campaigns.
[00:09:33] The fourth question is where are your customers most likely to search for your product or service?
[00:09:39] Your marketing efforts absolutely should align with your customers’ behavior. You show up where they are, not where you would like them to be. You want to determine where your target customers will most likely search for your product or service and will be the most receptive to your marketing campaigns. If you want to increase your ability to connect with your target audiences and customer base, you absolutely should pay attention to where your customers are most likely to actually search for your product or service and will be most receptive to receiving information regarding your product and service. That’s where you should spend your efforts with respect to marketing.
[00:10:27] For example, if you’re a B2B, business-to-business, and the majority of your products and services are geared toward other business owners or companies, LinkedIn provides a really good opportunity for you to connect with decision makers in various industries who might be interested in your products and services. LinkedIn is a professional network that is a great place for you to invest some effort and time building relationships, doing research about the industry, joining industry groups.
[00:11:04] There are a lot of different ways that you can engage and start to build relationships and build your visibility within your particular industry segment. If you’re more of a business-to-consumer or B2C business. Then, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, those are awesome locations for you to directly engage with a more consumer-based audience. Wherever, your audience is most likely to show up and be receptive is where you want to be.
[00:11:40] And the fifth and final question to ask. If you’re a prospective or current customer isn’t ready to purchase your product or service, what is the next action you’d like them to take in your marketing funnel?
[00:11:52] When your prospective customers or clients are not yet ready to purchase, offer opportunities for them to engage with your brand by signing up for your communications, connecting with you on social media or other actions to discover your products and services. Ultimately you want to begin a relationship with them so that they become more familiar with your offerings and your brand. They’re going to be more inclined to consider you when they are ready to make the purchase.
[00:12:23] It’s really imperative that you have the ability to directly communicate with them. So, finding ways to gather their email addresses, to provide some education or information that is helpful to them. Things that will keep your brand top of mind and help them begin to develop that relationship with you is critically important.
[00:13:18] If you use these five insanely simple questions to guide your marketing efforts, remembering that you’re going to answer these questions from your perspective or current clients perspective, not how you think they should answer the questions, you will absolutely increase your success and create opportunities to secure more leads and more importantly sales.
[00:13:43] Remember your brand also is a valuable asset, no matter how large or small your company. Proactively and consistently managing your company’s brand. Provides unmatched opportunities to improve your marketing results. Increase your market share. Attract purchase ready customers. And retain your top customers. It is vital to the long-term profitability of your small business.