Where Do I Start with My Marketing?
Updated: Mar 2
Marketing Strategy Basics for Startups & Small Businesses
You know you need to have marketing. Maybe you’ve even come up with a logo, a website, and some social media profiles. But are you actually marketing your brand??? Maybe you haven’t truly started marketing because you don’t know where to start. Well, before we get to where to start with your marketing, we need to start with your answers to two questions:
1. What is the problem you are solving with your business/product/service?
2. What is your why?
If you’re not solving a problem with your business, then you probably won’t get very far. If you sell nutrition programs, your consumer may not really want to the healthy food, but they do want the good feelings and weight loss that come with it. If you sell window cleaning services, the consumer gets to enjoy clear views and have more free time because they’re not cleaning the windows. You need to know the solution you’re selling in order to craft your marketing messages that will get consumers’ attention and convince them you have a solution to one of their problems.
Your why. Everyone likes to talk about this these days. But it’s important. Why do you do what you do? Your why is what makes you stand out from your competition! Every company has competitors so you need to find ways to make your brand/product/service stand out in the consumer’s mind! Plus, knowing and understanding your why is critical in helping you explain how and what you do. Take time to think through that and then create a story about your why. Then use that story in your marketing – website, emails, social media, etc.
Okay, now that you have your solution and your why, we can talk about where to start with your marketing! I’m going to be old school and tell you that you need to have a marketing plan. That’s right. You may not need to put together a massive, in-depth, marketing plan that takes dozens of hours to put together. But you do need to have at least a one-page basic outline. If you’re really just getting started with your marketing and feeling overwhelmed, here is a simple 4-part outline you can use:
1. Marketing Goals
Think about what you want to achieve with your marketing and then write down at least one S.M.A.R.T. goal for it. More to come on S.M.A.R.T. goals in another post but check out the graphic below for an overview. An example of a good goal would be: I want to increase sales revenue by 10% by the end of 2019.
2. Competition Review
No matter how new and different your product or service is, you have competition. So make sure you know who they are, what they're selling, what's their competitive advantage, what's their main message, and where are they marketing. This can help you see what's working and what isn't with your target market, and help you figure out how to differentiate yourself.
3. Marketing Message
Take the solution you’re selling, your why and story, and your competitive advantage(s) and come up with a clear main marketing message that you want to convey in all of your marketing. A consumer should get the same idea and feel about your brand in every place they interact with it – at an event, on your website, on social media, etc. This can only happen if you start with the main marketing message. Think about the brands you interact with every day…whether it's Coke or Starbucks or Nike; you know exactly what each brand is about no matter where you see their marketing or products.
Decide where you are going to share your marketing message. This can include everything from email marketing to a website to social media to events. Think about where your target market can be found and what makes sense for you and your budget.
There you have it. The steps for a basic marketing plan. If you do these four things, you will be well on your way to having a marketing plan that will help you be more focused, efficient, and successful with your marketing efforts. Once you have a plan…be sure and implement it!
What is one action step you can take today to start your marketing?
Schedule at least 15 minutes to sit down and think about, and then write down, the solution you are selling.
Do you need more help? Would you like to talk about marketing with other small business owners? Join my FB Group - Simplified Marketing for Small Business Owners!