If you are struggling with online marketing in your part-time business, chances are you don’t have a solid marketing strategy in place. Marketing your business online can be extremely complicated and is much more difficult than simply putting up a blog and adding some keywords in the text of your site. A successful online marketing strategy consists of 7 basic steps: set goals, market analysis, customer definition, branding, pricing strategy, promotion, and follow up. I’ll provide a brief description of each step.
Step Number 1: Set goals for online marketing
When promoting your business online, your business and revenue goals need to be in the forefront of your mind. Most people spend more time on branding and visuals and less time on learning about their customers and the actual results they want. Branding is important, but having clear targets and the right tactics will bring a bigger return on your investment.
Step Number 2: Analyze your market
Developing a good marketing strategy requires learning about the market that you are in. How can you create a marketing plan without researching what’s happening in your industry or field. This can be achieved through studies like a SWOT analysis, conducting an industry analysis, and analyzing your competition. The more you know about the industry you are in and how you can stand apart from the competition, the more effective your strategic planning will be.
Step Number 3: Define your ideal customer
Simply put, this step involves learning about your customers. How you are going to effectively market to someone that you know nothing about? You need to know their likes, dislikes, hobbies, jobs, family life, etc… if you are going to reach them. Not having a clear definition of your target impacts the effectiveness of your tactics. For example, search engine optimization will differ depending on who you are trying to reach and their search habits. Consider creating sample profiles or personas that capture your target customers and develop a marketing strategy for each of them.
Step Number 4: Build your branding
This step involves making your company different from your competitors. This is often times referred to as the “Unique Selling Point” or “USP”. When a person hears a company name, certain thoughts come to mind? When somebody hears your name or the name of your business, what thoughts should come to mind? What unique product and services do you offer?You need to know how to position your business in your customer’s mind. If you are unsure about this, revisit your business and marketing plan.
Step Number 5: Set your prices
This is also one of the 4 Ps (product, position, promotion, and price) of marketing that should be addressed in your business and marketing plan. You need to know how to effectively price your goods or services. You can start by looking at what your competition is charging, but don’t stop there. Do the research and test your pricing models. The competitor that you are copying may be undercharging, or may not have the same “secret sauce” as you that puts a higher value on your offerings.
Step Number 6: Promote your business
When it comes to your marketing strategy, the actual promotion comes after the first five steps. Promoting too soon without the other elements in place will keep you behind the curve with little progress. There are plenty of different methods for getting the word out including newsletters, search engine optimization, article marketing and pay per click advertising. Experiment with each of them and try to find what best suits your business. The key here is that you promote! It’s not enough just to build a blog or create a newsletter if you are not going to invest in spreading the word about it so people know it’s out there.
Step 7: Follow Up
There’s a saying, “The fortune is in the follow up.” Remember, most of your sales don’t happen the first time someone finds out about you. They will have to “connect” with you several times before there is enough trust to part with their hard earned money. After the initial blog visit, event they attend, free consultation – how will you follow up with them? Using an autoresponder or other CRM (customer relationship management) tools puts you ahead of other part-time entrepreneurs who are simply hoping for business instead of planning for it. A successful marketing plan includes a plan for following up.
Ready to leverage the power of online marketing to find your next clients? Put your marketing plan in place and then work your plan.
Struggling with how to find your audience online? Lesson 2 in the Launch Smart eCourse shows you how.
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Category: Marketing Your Business