Marketing & Promoting a Business
Marketing Your New Business – Research & Promotion
The HMRC Website (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/startingup/) is a great source of useful information about the legalities involved in starting a new business but does not offer a great deal of detail in terms of the effort that needs to go into making a business successful.
Once you have decided to act on your plans for new business you need to put on your marketing hat.
Marketing a new business can seem like an incredibly daunting prospect but there are a number of marketing strategies available that will give you the most prosperous head-start.
The first step you must take is to research your target market and understand more about your competitors. You need to be sure that there is a gap in the market you can exploit in order for your business to be a success. How is your target sector faring in the current climate – will it still be doing well in the future? You need to carry out a thorough investigation first to make sure you will not be left floundering in an already flooded market.
Market research is generally the best way to investigate your target market and competitors but you must analyse the results objectively – try not to get carried away with the prospect of your new venture. The Government provides free statistics but these may not be as insightful as the results that can be gained from paying for the research to be carried out professionally.
The information you will be able to access from the results of a professional survey will prove to be invaluable when pitching to customers.
You then need to decide on a market strategy. Once you fully understand your market, you will be in a much better position to develop an effective strategy because you will have had chance to identify any flaws in the existing market and counter them.
Who are your potential customers? How are you going to reach them? Think carefully about your demographics and verticals – where will you find your most lucrative clients? You should know this from the research you carried out in Phase 1 so you will then be able to find a method of targeting the key influencers in your marketplace.
According to marketing expert Dee Blick, ‘You should be aware that before a person will buy from you they have to go through the five buying stages of awareness, interest, evaluation, desire and action. Good marketing, delivered on a consistent basis, will compress that decision-making process. Aim to ‘touch’ each person at least three times.’
Before a client has any interest in your product they have to be aware of it. Are your clients likely to read blogs or are they most likely to be found listening to BBC radio 4? Your marketing strategy should consist of a media list of who to approach in order to develop your brand and reach out to your desired audience.
You need to get your brand out there, it needs to be recognised. Why not try offering your products or services to the key influencers in your market in exchange for their endorsement? This will work wonders!
Ok, so you have found your target audience, so how are you going to promote your business? Advertising? Direct Marketing? Exhibiting? Mail Shots?
How you promote your business to your target audience will depend on the type of customer you are going for. You need to set aside a budget for advertising as this investment will be worth its weight in gold.
If you are selling orthopaedic aids for customers over retirement age it is unlikely you will benefit from advertising on Facebook, for example. Ok, so you may get a few hits but how many of our grandparents or even parents use social media? In this event a more personal touch may be in order - I would suggest a letter in the post containing a leaflet or even a brochure (depending on your budget). You could maybe send a pamphlet with a number to call to request a full brochure? Either way the response rate would be much higher than promoting your products via a group on Facebook.
Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket?’ this is very true in terms of promoting a business. Diversify and test the waters with a couple of strategies and track the response rate. With a new business you need to build up some hype – plan a launch and invite as many people as possible.
What do you do if you don’t own a marketing hat and all of the above seems like too much to contend with? Find a reliable and reputable company to help you. It really is worth investing money in a successful marketing strategy if you want your business to work. A company that specialises in marketing and advertising will ensure your business is provided with a strategy that will keep your costs down yet make the most of your marketing budget.
Read our next article on marketing a new business to find out more about selling and distributing your products.