Before you embark on marketing your start- up business, it is important to know what marketing is and what to expect and not expect! Marketing helps you ensure your product reaches the right people, you can create customer loyalty, you can grow your sales and you can ensure you stand out from your competition. It is about supply and demand.
My first piece of advice is to understand that embarking on any kind of marketing activity should be seen as the start and not the end. I liken marketing to building a house as you need solid foundations before making plans and starting to build. The foundations of marketing are the Marketing Plan.
This is my second piece of advice. Have a marketing plan. “Fail to plan and plan to fail” as they say. This is the document in which you will decide your goals, learn about your market, determine who you are going to sell to, determine how you are going to sell, confirm your messaging to your potential customers, confirm your budget and set your business milestones to keep everything on track.
My third piece of advice is to set yourself a marketing budget. Once you have a budget, stick to it and review it regularly. Only do what is going to be cost effective and only what will give you a return on your investment. Don’t feel pressured by anyone telling you that their magazine or website is the only way forward! Research things first before committing any funds. Finally, always remember ROI. Return on Investment. If something doesn’t produce a return, don’t invest! Add all costs and outgoings to your spreadsheet including salary/salaries, rent, mobile phone, lap top, stationary, stamps, advertising spend, website development and so on. When you are establishing your marketing budget and deciding whether to advertise or run an email campaign, consider whether you might need any help from a marketing professional. Factor in this cost into your budget.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the experts, whether it be a marketing consultant or a web designer or a graphic designer. We can’t be experts at everything to invest in support for your business and the marketing of it.
There is a saying I read recently that said “Can’t afford an expert? Try using an amateur first!”