Marketing 101: 3 Crucial Steps You Must Take To Get Started In Marketing
One of the biggest challenges most people face in this industry is marketing. This is an area where many people either don’t know how to do well, don’t want to do it, or do it piecemeal without an overall plan for their marketing activities. Even if you hire someone to do your marketing, you have to take charge of this process! This is one big mistake I’ve seen a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs make in every industry, not just video publishing. They got into their business because of an expertise in one area (like a doctor or dentist), the desire to be their own boss or the hopes of making easy money (internet business anyone?), and don’t feel that marketing is what they need to be doing.
One of the most important roles in any small business or entrepreneurship is marketing! While it’s important for the owner to stay involved in marketing throughout the life of the business, it’s especially vital for the new video publisher to personally engage in marketing strategies when the business is starting out.
Why? No one knows your product better than you do! Most likely your budget will not allow hiring a marketing professional or expensive marketing firm to do it for you. Even if you do have that money to invest in a team, it’s still imperative that you understand marketing concepts, strategies and the language of marketing so that you can determine if their marketing efforts are worth what you are paying them.
One client who consulted with us had gone the route of hiring a marketing firm that was supposedly one of the best in the business. When our client’s sales dropped significantly, he became frustrated and turned to us. It only took a few minutes to look at his website and see some glaring marketing errors. The marketing company may have been good but they didn’t know this man’s type of business very well, which was selling products, in this case videos on demand (VOD), online.
With that said, here are 3 important steps to take to get started in marketing:
1) Get knowledgable.
It’s important to become familiar with what marketing is and is not. You have sales, advertising, public relations and marketing, but is there really a difference? Isn’t it all the same type of thing?
There is a difference and when you understand that difference it’s easier to understand what tasks and strategies you need and how it all relates. Good marketing is critical to the success of any business and understanding what it is will help your business get started on the right foot.
2) Get focussed.
There is such a plethora of good information on marketing that it can be overwhelming and you can easily lose focus. Ask a handful of people what you should be doing, and you’ll get many different answers, such as: You MUST get into video marketing! You aren’t doing Pinterest? You HAVE to do that. Are you doing webinars? You need to start doing those NOW!
To keep the overwhelm at bay, start with learning the basics of good marketing. Get to know key concepts such as sales funnels, copywriting, direct mail, etc. Learn the difference between advertising and direct marketing – they are different! And by all means, start building a prospect list. You can find many great books on marketing basics on Amazon. Also one of the best programs I’ve found that has helped me is Jessica Swanson’s Shoestring Marketing Kit. Best part? It’s free!
It is easy to get tripped up and feel you need to get on board with ALL of the new tools and strategies available today or you’ll be left behind, but the basics of marketing will not change even though tools and strategies will. When you know the basics, you can then make focussed decisions on what tool and strategy will work best for your business.
3) Get a plan.
The essence of marketing is to understand your customers’ needs and develop a plan that meets those needs. It serves as a roadmap when it comes to your marketing strategies. A detailed marketing plan will show you what to do and help you understand why you are doing it. It will keep you on track. It will also help you see the potential marketing and business mistakes that will cost you money, time and future growth potential. When you are equipped with a marketing plan, you will feel more organized, have more confidence and enjoy a clearer vision when it comes to your marketing goals.
When starting out, keep it simple and include:
- A short description of your product,
- The marketing advantages and challenges you face,
- Threats posed by your competitors and any outside forces that will affect your business in the future,
- A description of your target audiences and markets. The profile should include demographics, including age, gender and any other important characteristics.
- A list of your marketing goals for the coming year. Make your goals realistic and measurable so that you can easily evaluate your performance.
- An overview of your marketing strategies and a list of each of the corresponding tactics you’ll do to execute them. Include all the actionable steps you plan to take for advertising, public relations, direct mail, trade shows and special promotions.
- A schedule of these steps. You could do this on an online calendar but getting a large dry erase calendar you can put on your wall is a good tactic because it is always in your sight, reminding you that you have to stay on track.
- A brief breakdown of the costs associated with each of your tactics. If you find the tactics you’ve selected are too costly, make revisions before you arrive at a final budget. A simple tool to do this is a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Spreadsheet.
You can adapt this plan as your business grows and your marketing programs evolve. Soon you’ll find it’s a simple tool you can’t afford to be without.
A marketing plan should be fluid and not set in stone. You have to make adjustments as the market changes and as new opportunities arise. Also plan at least six months in advance, a year would be even better. Once you have some experience you’ll be able to look a year out and plan based on previous experience.
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