By: Kyle Olson
So you’re in business, you now offer a product or service which you believe to be awesome and something that everyone needs; the only problem is that people don’t see it the way you do. So where do you go from here? You have employees, capital, and a website. Do people just flock to you? You built it, so are they coming yet? The most likely answer is no, and no. To make money you need to do more than simply build and wait. Marketing is key when it comes to making money. Marketing drives sales up, and therefore fills your wallet with fresh greens ripe from the money tree. It is true that you have to spend money to make money, but how much should you spend and on what? There is a fine line between spending money and investing money. By spending money on marketing, you are actually investing in your own company by building up its name and reputation in the mind of the customer. You may be number 1 in your own mind, but if Joe Schmoe doesn’t agree, then you aren’t in business.
Define your target audience and get popular with them. If you are a local business then you should be a household name in your area. If you aren’t, then ask yourself why! America tends to side with the underdog (probably because our story is that of an underdog story), and you have a great shot at getting in with them first. A common mistake is to define your target so large that you can’t possibly reach them all and you end up driving your company into the ground. Think big, but start small-ish. Some of the best companies that I know of in my little town leave doorknob hangers on my door with their promotions on them. As far as I know, they might not even be deals, maybe just what they always offer on a regular basis, but I am now informed. I didn’t know or care to know about them before, but now I have a little piece of paper in my hands telling me that I need what’s offered on that paper. Perhaps your business wouldn’t flourish with the doorknob technique; then you need to brainstorm ways to increase awareness. Run promotions (everybody loves a good deal), hold focus groups to understand the mind of your consumer, create a survey; basically anything that you can do to get your name out there!
This is simple. Build a website, or if you already have one, make it better! Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself honestly if you are not number three million on a Google search list of three million and one. The bright side is that you are ahead of someone; the downside is that you aren’t getting noticed because nobody gets past the first page of a Google search. If you don’t know how to present your website, or how to make it climb the infamous search engine ladders then you need a company that specializes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Basically, this means that you pay them (remember: investing in your own company) and they work their magic to boost you up the ranks. The more people that stumble on your page, the better. If you’ve got the money to spare (which you should if you’re planning on staying in business), then you had better get moving with online marketing.
This step is simple, spend more money and refer back to step one. Figure out where you need to hit harder, where you need to let up, and customize your campaign to the needs of your consumer and not what you think is cool or in. When you repeat step one you will find that this time you understand more of what your consumer wants because you’ve talked with them and gotten to know them. Come step 2 again you will be able to better design your website accordingly (or let a SEO specialized agency do it for you). This is a new age in which everyone looks to the Internet to get their information. When they learn of a new company, first thing they do is whip out their smart phone and Google that company. Oh, they have a website, but the website blows so they must suck. 2 seconds later you lose your opportunity. This is why you need step 2; to create an online masterpiece that draws them in. If you can’t do it yourself, then hire someone to do it for you. Remember, it’s called investing, and that means spending money to make money.
Don’t be afraid to spend a little to make a lot. Do be afraid of spending nothing and making nothing. Sure, you might get lucky, end up on Ellen, and never need to advertise again, but let’s be real. The chances of that are slim, so put your hands in your pockets, take out that money, and invest in your company. Spend a little to make a little, spend a little to make a lot. It’s all up to you and how you decide to do your marketing. Just remember, marketing drives sales, sales bring in money. No marketing means no sales, no sales means no money.
Photo Credit: “Businesswoman Working On Laptop” by David Castillo Dominici from FreeDigitalPhotos.net