Marketing is war anyway you look at it. You are battling the enemy, your competition. You are battling to dominate the market. Marketing IS combat, and with every combat you NEED a strategy. Statistics show that more than 40% of businesses fail in the first year and a further 80% of those remaining are out of business within the first 5 years of operation. How are you going to stop this from happening to your business? You need to be equipped with the latest weapons, tactics and strategies that will help you to not only succeed but to dominate your prospective market.
Part One: Have the Right Mission
Most small to medium size businesses enter the battlefield with the wrong mission in mind. They go in targeting too much of the market at once and they get destroyed before they have a chance to establish equitable trade. Strategic marketing is NOT trying to dominate the whole market but rather target narrow niche markets. Do you have a multi-million dollar advertising budget? If you don’t, you will not succeed in reaching and appealing to your whole market at once. This is what the large corporations do. They spend millions of dollars on branding to get their identity well know in the market place. You need a targeted marketing strategy so you can better reach and engage your niche markets. A niche market is a small slice of the market which has a specific need that your products and services can provide for. For example, if you’re a home loan brokerage, your niche market or audience would be people looking at reducing their debt or people looking to move into their first home. If you were an Appliance store, your optimal audience would be people looking for certain brands. By conducting targeted marketing campaigns you will generate more business for every dollar you spend on advertising. One crucial thing about target marketing is you should never enter the battlefield of business without knowing what niche markets you are going to target. You need to do the necessary research, as a standard due diligence practice, to define what niche markets you can target and how you are going to appeal to them. Your previous clients hold the key to unlocking extremely useful information. One way of getting this information is by conducting incentive driven surveys. If you conduct a survey with the right questions you will be able to discover the character and motivations of your ideal audience.
Part Two: Use The Best Weapons
There are many businesses trying to win this war by using old and ineffective weapons or marketing tools. A strategic marketer knows he always needs to keep using the most appropriate weapons to target the market. If he doesn’t do this the enemy will capture that market before he does. Statistics show over 15 million Australians are now using the internet. When you are researching, what do you normally do? Go to Google.com or Yahoo.com? A large number of these 15 million Australians will always do their research before they buy and normally the first place they go to is a search engine. If you have an effective marketing web site you should be trying to channel as much traffic into your web site as possible from search engines. In the past it has been very difficult to get to the front page of a search engine. Now, you can get to the number one page of Google and Yahoo within 5 minutes. There is an advertising concept that has been developed by Google and Yahoo called ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising. By setting up a Pay-Per-Click advertising account you will be able to channel highly targeted traffic into your web site. The best thing about this form of advertising is that you only pay for each click into your web site which is helpful for businesses that have strict advertising budgets. The way to get the best results from this form of advertising is by setting up highly targeted ads that are only displayed when your market audience types in specific keywords in the key search engines. If you do this you will know that the people visiting your web site are interested and proactively searching for what you offer.
Part Three: Keeping the Enemy at Bay
There are a lot of people on the battlefield so this is why you need to fight off the enemy from taking your customer base. Competition is good, it forces you to be innovative and efficient about how you approach your market. If you don’t give your customers good reason to stay with you, your competitors will give them a reason to leave. So this is why it’s critical for you to keep closely connected with your previous clients. Have you heard of the 80/20 principle? 20% of your clients will produce 80% of your revenue. This is why you shouldn’t spend your entire marketing budget on generating new clients but making old ones happy so they keep coming back to you for more.
The big battle in business is getting the customers mind share. When you think hamburgers, what is the first business that comes to mind? McDonalds, Hungry Jacks? These businesses are always battling for mind share. If you can get mind share you will know your previous clients will always go back to your business when they are in need. One thing you have that will help you to gain more mind share from your customers is your intellectual property. If you are an industry expert you should have a lot of useful information that is relevant and desired by your market. By constantly giving this useful information to customers, they will know you are the leading authority in your industry. There are many different ways of doing this; one is by sending out a newsletter to your client database on a regular basis. Lots of businesses do this but they send out promotional information rather than useful information. People don’t like promotional material because they class it as junk mail. What businesses should be doing is not selling but giving. By frequently sending out a newsletter that shares useful tips, ideas and articles you will help clients realise you are valuable to them. Think about this – where will people go next when they need what you sell? A business they don’t know or trust? Or a business that regularly keeps in contact with them and is always giving out valuable and useful information?
Part Four: Raise Up An Army
The more man power you have the more chances you are going to have of staying ahead of the competitors in the battle for mind share and market dominance in your niche. You need to raise up an army of soldiers who are willing to go into battle with you. We have all heard it said that the most powerful way of generating business is through referrals and word of mouth. But did you know that there are strategies you can use to fuel word of mouth business like a fire. Within your customer base there is a group of clients that are constantly talking about you and indirectly continue to generate more business and profit for you. Who are they? Have you singled them out? Do you have incentives that will motivate them? Are you training them on how they can do this job better? In the world of marketing this group of people is known as your affiliates. The more focused attention you spend on them the more money they will put in your pocket. One way of getting your army of affiliates motivated is by offering them a decent incentive for sales they get you. If they are generating business for you, imagine how much business they will create if you motivate them with incentives. There are many different incentives you can offer, but the number one incentive that motivates best is money. And the more money you offer, the more motivated they will be. You also need to consider training this army so they can be more effective in bringing you more leads and referrals. Imagine sending an army out to battle without the necessary training required, they will not succeed. It is in your best interest to train your affiliates to be more effective at what they do for you. This can be done by offering tips and strategies that will help your affiliates generate you more referrals for your business.