Becoming an entrepreneur for the first time is a big feat for anyone. There are many steps to take in preparation for entrepreneurship – education, research, planning, applications, meetings – and that’s all before you even start working on the business itself.
Once your new business is up and running, you’ll have a whole new set of responsibilities, and one that is crucial to ensuring the growth and success of your business is marketing.
You could have the best product or service on the market, but, if your marketing strategy isn’t up to scratch, does that really matter?
How then can entrepreneurs tackle marketing if this is their first time venturing out on their own?
Education Is A Good Starting Point
If you’re not a marketing genius, then you’re going to need to become one. The way to do that starts with getting an education of some sort. Now, don’t panic, you don’t have to go back to university and do a degree, though you can if you want to.
There are plenty of night classes and 1-year Masters courses you can take if you have that little extra time and cash to spare. Alternatively, there are many free online marketing courses you can take in different areas of marketing.
For example, WordStream have a PPC course, CopyBlogger have a course on email marketing, Ahrefs have a Marketing Academy and Google has their Google Analytics Academy where you can learn the ins and outs of the Google Analytics platform and even get an official qualification at the end of it.
Many of these courses are free to access and will teach you a lot of vital skills that will come in useful for the later stages of your marketing planning when you are deciding on strategies and tactics.
There are also a lot of marketing books that belong in an entrepreneur’s library. Reading books on marketing is a good way to brush up on your skills and knowledge at your own pace and on your own time.
Set Out (And Stick To) A Marketing Plan
If in doubt, plan, plan and plan some more. Having a killer marketing plan is a good place to start as it will give you a starting point and help you to set out key end goals that you will be working towards over time.
Having end goals and a plan to get there is a good way of keeping on top of what you need to get done and how you’re going to get there. Not only that, but it is a great motivator as well.
As well as defining goals, you’ll want to maintain a consistent brand message and determine a target audience. In doing so, you’ll be able to create content tailored to the channel you’re using and the people you need to reach for your brand.
This is also the time to consider what type of marketing strategies are best to use for your new company as these will determine the course of your marketing efforts. Consider low-cost and/or self-manageable strategies if budget constraints are an issue.
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Learn from Other Entrepreneurs
Not just about marketing but in general. Learning from other entrepreneurs who are running their own businesses is a great way to get some perspective on what you should (or maybe shouldn’t) be doing.
Entrepreneurs often have a huge wealth of knowledge, and more often than not, they are happy to share what they have learned along the way.
When it comes to marketing, there are lessons to be learned from other entrepreneurs. You can often find out what marketing resources entrepreneurs recommend, and then from there, you can see if they are worth implementing for your brand. You never know, you may just find your next big read or marketing resource that will help you with your business.
Learning from those who have come before you and have made mistakes or had failures is also key to your marketing journey as you can learn from the mistakes of these brands and avoid making these mistakes for yourself.
Mistakes Aren’t the End of The World
Everyone makes mistakes and entrepreneurs are no exception. While mistakes are not ideal, they aren’t the end of the world, and you can learn from them in the long run.
However, there are some common marketing mistakes that are easily avoidable if you are careful.
Running before you can walk is a common mistake – do not take on too much too fast as this will likely only end in disaster. There are times when taking a big step or risk will pay off, of course, but this should be a one-off, not standard practice.
Targeting the wrong audience is a big (and very common) mistake that is preventable provided you know how to conduct proper research as read your analytics data properly, (perhaps by undertaking the Google Analytics course we mentioned previously?).
In either case, mistakes are not the end of the world, and they can be learned from and used as a benchmark for progress and improvement going forward. Instead of getting down about a marketing campaign failure, use it as a way to review analytics and strategy, and reform your plans and campaigns going forward.
Know Your Options
There are many different marketing strategies that you can use for your new business, and it is important that you are using the correct ones for your business and consumers. Depending on your budget and marketing plan, you will have different strategies you may want to consider.
Digital marketing strategies are a good starting place for new companies as they are easy to self-manage and tend to be more cost-effective for your budget than traditional marketing.
Consider tactics such as content creation, email marketing, social media campaigns, PPC or SEO tactics. These are some highly effective tactics that you can implement in your marketing strategy to help boost your new venture’s reach for a fraction of the cost of some other tactics.
It is important, however, that you ensure these tactics align with your customer’s needs, which brings us onto our last point.
(Image Credit: Pexels)
Customers Come First
Always remember this whenever you are doing any type of marketing for your brand. At the heart of everything you do should be your customers. After all, without customers, your business cannot survive.
To put this in perspective, try thinking about the customer as a dent in your cash flow, as follows:
- The cost of losing a paying customer – For every customer you lose, think of it as a lost sale. Then another one, and another and another. For every purchase that customer could have made, you are losing profit.
- The cost of acquiring a new customer – It costs 8x more to find a new customer than to maintain a current one
- The value of repeat customers – 90% of profit comes from repeat business
- The increasing cost of reaching new customers – Marketing channels are continuing to become increasingly segmented and costly.
Therefore, any marketing methods you choose to use, whether it’s traditional or digital, should align with your customers’ needs and interests.
For example, if you are targeting women aged 18-29, you may consider using Facebook marketing since 74% of users are female and 81% are 18-29 years old, instead of Instagram where only 39% are female, and 64% are 18-29 years old.
So, let’s recap.
- Gaining some form of marketing education or background before taking on entrepreneurship is a good idea to get off on the right foot. Free online courses are good for this, as are dedicated marketing books.
- A dedicated marketing plan is a must. This will help you keep your company’s goals in mind and help you to layout actionable ways to achieve them.
- It’s important to learn from successful entrepreneurs who have come before you. Listen to their tips and take advantage of any resources they have to offer, and they will guide you in the right direction.
- People make mistakes – and so do businesses. While they aren’t ideal, they can be learned from for the future, and all mistakes can be fixed. It is important that you do all you can to avoid mistakes in your marketing strategy. However, it’s not the end of the world if they do happen.
- There is a whole world of options when it comes to the type of marketing strategies that you can employ for your brand. Depending on the type of brand you have and the customers you have, then some will suit you more than others.
- Customers are the most important part of your marketing journey. After all, they are who you are marketing to, so, if you’re targeting the wrong customers, then your marketing efforts are going to have little to no effect. Make sure you are targeting the right consumers from the very beginning, and regularly reviewing your analytics to ensure you are still on target.
Chris Smith is a writer and blogger. Over his career he has written for a number of publications, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, GoDaddy and The Huffington Post. He writes about sport and finance on his website Spend It Like Beckham.