Marketing Your Business 101: An East River PR Series
Marketing your small business can be daunting, but it’s important to find a starting point and dive in! Business owners have an opportunity to leverage a wide variety of marketing strategies, including content marketing, community engagement, and creating detailed personas to reach customers and meet business goals.
Whether you’re a business owner or the person responsible for a large company’s marketing and communications, your brand can optimize your marketing efforts by first developing the following materials:
Your business plan is your starting point
Begin by outlining concrete business goals. What do you want for your business, in 3 months, 6 months, and this year? Think in terms of:
A number of customers
A dollar amount of sales
A marketing or PR goal, such as landing a placement in a local publication
A number of website visitors, email signups, or conversions
Your marketing strategy will stem from these goals, and your efforts throughout each year lead back to achieving your business goals. Smart, strategic marketers are always thinking: “How does this campaign or content relate to the company’s broader business goals?”
Plan to review your business plan quarterly to revisit and make adjustments as needed. You can count on some curveballs, so expect to return to this document as you learn throughout each year.
We recommend writing your business plan annually; this allows you to look back at your marketing metrics at the end of the year and determine what changes are needed moving forward.
Build a Brand Strategy
Begin by auditing your public-facing marketing materials, including:
A successful audit of the above materials hinges on being self-aware. What are you uniquely great at and/or what do you want to be known for? Assess your competitors as well: What are your competitors doing right & wrong in these areas?
Next, conduct a client survey and competitive analysis
Pulling feedback directly from your customers is incredibly valuable for a local business. If you have an existing Yelp or Google Reviews page, pull every review and organize it into a document which includes positive and negative sentiment and flags feedback that appears repeatedly.
You can also reach out to your client or customer base and request direct feedback via a Google form. What does your customer want? What are their must-haves? Gather this feedback to determine your brand’s optimal positioning and true advantages.
Your competitive analysis can be a simple chart based on your team’s observations about 3-5 competitors and their performance in the following areas:
Brand look and feel
Website user experience- is their website easy to navigate? Pretend to be a customer: can you find the info you need easily?
Services- how clearly are they communicated? How does the value of services compare to your business?
Social Media- frequency of posts, size of followings on various platforms, quality of content, engagement with content.
Any strengths and weaknesses you can observe?
With all of this information at your fingertips, you’re ready to dive into the details of your brand strategy. Create a plan to update your public-facing marketing materials to consider your customers, competitors, and business goals.
Curious about the next steps we recommend taking in your marketing strategy? Keep an eye out for the next installment in this series: We’ll cover creating detailed customer personas and developing a content strategy.
Until next time!