Saturday, January 5, 2013

5 Keys to Growing Your Business Through Marketing

The first key is to understand your current customers very well. Who are they? What is it about your product or service that they like? Why do they choose your particular product or service over another? Is there something unique about what you do or what you offer that keeps them coming back? In reality, your customers have a need that you are meeting. Understand what that is and you will be able to find other people with the same need.

The second key is to identify your target market segments. Based on who is already doing business with you, you can target specific markets that would be good candidates. You can use demographics, geographic area and psychographic information (attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria) to create these segments. If you sell to other businesses, then it would be important to include size of company based on revenue or employees and industry sector. For instance, you may be targeting green builders in the states of Oregon and Washington that have designed or built LEED certified projects. If you are introducing a new product or service, you will want to consider early adapters vs. laggards. Keep in mind that you should come up with multiple segments that could be possibilities.

The third key is to prioritize your target market segments according to the easiest ones to reach. They may not be the largest segment, but if it's easy and inexpensive to build awareness with them, you will have a higher return on your investment. Then you can move on to the next one. It may be that you can reach them directly, which is even better. Whenever you have the opportunity for direct contact with potential customers, you can design more effective marketing to talk directly with them.

The fourth key is to create a strategy for reaching the identified target segments. If there is not the opportunity to contact the segment directly; you will need to review ways the people or companies in the segment take in information. You want to again find the least expensive ways to get your company's products and services recognized by the market segment. This could include traditional media, social media, electronic media, publicity or others. It could even include partnerships with other companies that have direct access to the market segments you are trying to reach. Then take that information and create a strategy that can be executed over a defined period of time. This would include the creative and messaging as part of the strategy that will resonate with the intended audience.

The fifth key is to execute your strategy effectively. Once you have a strategy in place, it's important to execute over a defined period of time. Remember that marketing takes time to be effective and allow expectations to match. Otherwise, you may be disappointed.

Effective marketing is an ongoing effort. It's an investment and it will take time to see a return on the investment. You may need to pivot your efforts as you see the results of the different segments you are targeting. But, if you continue to work through these keys, you will be successful at marketing and successful in business.

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