Marketing. You've heard about it, you know it's important for your business, but still, you may find the task of growing your business and getting its name out there an overwhelming one.
With all the different marketing strategies and schools of thought out there ranging from content marketing to email marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing and more—it can be difficult to choose the best way to allocate your limited amount of time and financial resources in a way that'll get you the highest return on your marketing dollar.
To help you make the right decision for marketing with your startup, here are six simple steps to get started with marketing your business today.
Create Your Value Proposition
In essence, your value proposition is what makes customers choose you, instead of the competition. A few things to remember when writing your value proposition:
- Keep it short and uncluttered. Your value proposition explains why customers should buy from you. If you can't sum it up in 10 words or less, chances are you won't be able to execute it, either.
- Be precise. Your customers have specific needs; your value proposition should offer targeted solutions
- This is about your customer, not you.Your value proposition should discuss only what matters to your customers and the value you can bring to them.
- Value comes in numerous forms. Money, time, convenience and superior service are a few of the ways you can help deliver value to your customers.
Set up a Basic Website
Websites can be daunting, but the good news is that they don't need to cost a lot. Don't pay $5, $10, $15 a month for hosting and $30 a year for a domain just to host a simple 5-page website!
There are also a number of inexpensive "website-builders" such as Wix and Squarespace. You can use them to create a professional-looking website on a minimal budget.
Find Your Best Customers
An "influence map" is a planning document that helps you identify and track the audience that will make the most impact on your business. It's a planning document that will help you craft a solid social media marketing plan. Your influence map looks at questions like:
- What journalists or publications are important to my business?
- Who are my competitors?
- Who are helpful allies?
- When my customers use social media, what sorts of terms are they using?
Email marketing -- if you're not doing it, you should. There are few other tactics for acquiring and converting customers that are so effective and cost-conscious. But if you've never done email previously, the options might seem daunting. In a three-part series, we look at the basics of email (including key terminology), how to setup and manage your first email campaign, and how to grow a list through great content.
Social media can be an incredible way of growing your business, targeting new customers and broadening your audience. For example:
- You might use Twitter to establish your expertise
- Facebook ads are targetable and help to grow your reach
- Blogging will keep visitors coming back to your site again and again
- Emerging networks like Vine, Instagram and Tumblr can help you make your mark
Get Great Design -- on a Dime!
Graphic design, branding, and web design -- all of these things are critical for a new business. So how do you make your mark without breaking the bank? From the fundamental design of your business to your business cards to your website and branding, here are some tips on making the most of your design spend.