Marketing choices: the essentials | Keisertimes

Jennifer Morrow, a business advisor at the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center, gives him some marketing advice.

Over the years, I have worked with many business owners in my advisory role at the Small Business Development Center at Chemeketa. My clients often ask, “What marketing will work best?” They usually start with a website (yes, that’s essential), but what’s next?

Marketing isn’t about what you sell, how long you’ve been in business, or how you make what you sell. All of these things can be important and can matter to how you express value and promotion, but only if they reflect what your audience wants and cares about.

Before choosing what to say and where to say it, know your audience.

When you know and understand the people you need to reach to be successful, what their concerns and issues are, their reasons for seeking out what you offer, you will market effectively.

It’s so simple. But it’s still not easy. That’s why what you market is less important. Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” for the right audience, and you’re almost there.

Your message is not “We do XYZ”, but rather the answer to the questions: “What does this bring me? and “Why should I care?” from the perspective of your target audiences. This critical message should be in your tagline and on your website homepage and back it up with detailed evidence points. Avoid generic terms such as “excellent quality” or “exceptional service”. Instead, be specific about how you fill out this answer.

Knowing your audience better will guide you to where you will ultimately place your marketing message. But your website is the foundation. Your marketing goal is to generate interest and send people to your website (or retail store).

Besides having a website, there are many other creative ways to market your business. If you’re a local business with trucks or vans, vehicle graphics (with the right message) are basically free moving billboards. If you sell to other companies, establish a professional presence on LinkedIn and make sure your website provides valuable information to download so you can capture warm leads. And if your audience is younger and your products and services are visual, use social media to draw attention to yourself and your website.

No company pleases everyone. You want to address your staff, your best customers, those who love what you do and recommend you. Start by focusing on these specific people: who they are, how they find out about your business, what they expect from your business, what they know or don’t know about what you do, what experience they have had with your competitors, etc. Using their words (including testimonials and reviews) will add power to your marketing – on your website, in social media or in advertising.

It doesn’t matter who you market to, how you sell, or what you sell, the first principle of marketing is to reach the right audience with the right message in the right way.

Jennifer Morrow is a Business Advisor at the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center. Chemeketa SBDC offers free one-on-one business counseling with Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties. To contact the SBDC, send an email [email protected] or call (503) 399-5088.

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