Are you a start-up business that is just beginning to market its product or service? Or, are you an established company with at least one product or service? No matter which stage of marketing your company is in, you need to stay on top of changes in the industry and best practices. Learning to compose effective sales and marketing messages benefits you because techniques for sales writing can be applied in any persuasive communication. There’s so much to know about marketing, but there are 8 steps that every entrepreneur needs to follow:
1. Educate Yourself
You are the only person who can educate yourself—people who work for you and people that your company interacts with. What is happening in the local business community? Are there new trends in customer behavior, technology and the world at large? Exploring these topics could lead to new customers, more loyal customers and more revenue.
2. Create a Vision
Every business is different, so you need to create and write down your vision for your new business. Your vision will include a list of goals, a strategy for achieving it, and how you plan to measure your success. Work with an experienced marketing professional to create a vision for your business. It should be something you can accomplish within the first year of starting your business, but make it realistic so that you don’t have high expectations.
3. Create Your Message
Your business needs a message. All marketing campaigns should start with a message that is clear and concise. Once you have your message, you can begin to market it everywhere—from fliers (print or digital) to billboards to word of mouth. Write a mission statement that your company can use. A good example of a mission statement can be found at http://www.ConwaySpeakAllTheTime.com . The goal here is to use the word “mission” and not the word “purpose.” You need to define what your company stands for in order to attract the right people.
4. Write Your Business Plan
Your business plan should be written by a professional. This document will include identification of your target market and your competition, marketing strategy, methods for reaching customers and the plan on how you can make revenue and grow. Work with an experienced marketing professional or your accountant to write a business plan that describes what you will do over the next two years and how you will do it. A written plan gives your business a solid structure that everyone understands and works from when planning, implementing and evaluating marketing programs or campaigns.
5. Develop a Plan for Marketing
How will you get customers? Consider working with an experienced marketing professional who can help you brainstorm different ways to spread the word about your business. Make sure that you incorporate your mission statement and current trends into this plan. Once you have completed your business plan, work with your marketing professional to develop a marketing plan that describes how to reach your goals based on the mission and business plan. The goal here is to understand some of the tools and tactics you’ll use and when—not an exact dollar amount or timeline.
6. Build Your Network
Attract top-producing sales people who will help you achieve your vision and marketing plan. You need to have these people committed to the company and the mission. They have a better ability to understand your value proposition, objectives, high-level strategy and tactics. You need a good partner network in order to market successfully today, but as an entrepreneur, you also have a personal network that can help you succeed through networking events at work and with friends who know people in your industry.
7. Select a Marketing Agency
If you do not own a marketing agency or are simply not familiar with how one works, find a marketing firm on the Internet that can help your business. You want to find someone who will listen to your business needs and work with you to make the best decisions for your company. The best way to find the right marketing agency is to talk to others who have used one or conduct an Internet search using keywords such as digital marketing, social media, SEO, PPC and more. Once you’ve found the right agency and evaluated your needs, ask for a proposal.
8. Implement Your Marketing Plan
Once you have a marketing plan in place, work with your marketing agency to implement it. Now that you have the right plan, start implementing it and measure the results.
The best way to stay on top of changes in the industry is to educate yourself. Once you have selected your marketing agency and completed your marketing plan, work together to implement it. This may mean training employees in new skills or crossing some of your company’s name or trademark over from another division so that the new agency can market it for you.
Always remember not to lose your vision, stay on top of the latest trends in business and marketing and you will be sure to see results. You need to spend time educating yourself before you can move forward with your marketing plan. During the process, there are things you will learn that will help you throughout the rest of your entrepreneurial journey.