Whether you’re a small business, a startup or a large enterprise, there’s no running away from the basics to understand how to market to your customers or clients. For you to succeed, you’ll first need to define who your customers are. And what is your offer to them?
When you’re looking for the best marketing strategies for your small business, you’re most likely to find articles listing different platforms for you to promote your business to, whether its a paid platform or a free one. For instance, you can advertise on Google or Facebook, or you can do it for free on these platforms. But, that’s where you’ll miss the mark.
What are good marketing techniques?
Here’s where this article is different. For you to succeed, you’ll first need to define who you want your customers to be. And what is your offer to them?
Are you offering them a solution to their problem? Or is your product or service you’re selling a desirable item, that’ll make them feel better about themselves?
Once you understand the basics of your product – who your customers would be, then the other 3 Ps of Marketing will follow nicely. Yes, you have to start with the 4 Ps of marketing before you jump in and promote your product everywhere. Why?
If you intend to market on all known social media platforms, without understanding the basics of how your product benefits users, or understand the mindset of the users, then your marketing efforts will just fall on deaf ears.
Understanding the 4 P’s of Marketing – The Marketing Mix
Whether you’re a small business, a startup or a large enterprise, there’s no running away from the basics to understand how to market to your customers or clients.
In short, the 4 Ps are:
- Products (& Services) – what product, its features, and is it branded
- Price – whether the product is priced at a premium, or competititvely priced
- Place – where you sell the product/service: online, in retail shops, direct selling
- Promotion – whether you’ll run advertising or public relations (PR) campaigns, or social media campaigns.
Understand Your Product & Customers
First of all, you need to know what is your offer to your customers. Are you selling them a solution to their problem? Or are you selling something desirable, that in itself, doesn’t solve a particular problem, but instead, aspire to their wants?
For instance, if you’re selling a dress or makeup services – that would fall into the desirable category, as most fashion and beauty products or services do. Products that fall in the desirable category, are products that make the users feel good about themselves, rather than solving a particular problem.
If you’re selling a robot vacuum cleaner, you’re solving their cleaning woes, and freeing up their time. Generally, it would be females, in the working-age category, as they value their time and have the money to afford a medium priced electronic-based item.
Once you know these basic steps: what your product does for your customer, in terms of what benefits the product offers, then you’ll know more about your customer.
What Is The Best Way To Market Your Business?
To answer this question, you need to know if you’re product or service is a vitamin or a pain killer. Is the product a desirable item, or does it solve a problem?
A product based on desire is a vitamin, and a product that solves a problem is a pain killer. Vitamin products are great to market on social media platforms and pain killer products are great on search engines such as Google.
The image below depicts the difference perfectly. On Instagram (social media), the keyword or hashtag # mycat will return photos of cute cats and kittens, whereas on Google, the keyword my cat will return a list of problems cats could have.
Basically, you can set up your own website, or an eCommerce store, highlighting the products or services you offer.
To use Google to promote your business for free, known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will take some time to show effective results, on average 3 to 6 months. Nevertheless. you can use the paid option, which is paying for Google advertising.
For local businesses, especially service providers, Google My Business, which highlights local businesses is a great way to promote your services and products. This is because people who are experiencing a certain need, would search for a provider near them, typically using a mobile phone. For example, people in a certain area might search for a Thai cuisine and would look for a Thai restaurant nearby. Or for instance, if a local resident is facing plumbing problems and urgently needs a local plumber nearby.
Which Social Media Is Best For My Business?
The answer to that is that it depends on your customers’ demographics. Are you mainly targetting women or men? Which age groups are they in?
Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, are great for business to consumer (B2C) products and services, whereas business to business (B2B) products and services suit LinkedIn and Twitter better. The bar charts below show the audience demographics of the social media users of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest.
Going back to our examples earlier, for instance to sell a robot vacuum cleaner, it woul be best to promote it on Facebook and Instagram, as they have the largest audience of females 25-35 years old. Of course, the older age groups would also be applicable too.
The research by WeAreSocial and HootSuite are in detail, which breaks down further users by country. Go through the slides below for a better understanding of which social media is best to use for your marketing purpose.
For B2B businesses, LinkedIn and Twitter would be the right choice.
Other than using social media channels, B2B marketers should also use a combination of content marketing, email marketing , and webinars, where the marketing materials would be case studies, and white papers, showing the business user benefits of using the product or service, by a certain value – whether financial or time-saving value.
There is a third option: Online Marketplace
Are Online Marketplaces Worth It?
Think of a marketplace like a souk, or a shopping center, where all the sellers sell all types of products under one roof. The same thing applies to online marketplaces. Names that you’re probably familiar with are Ebay, Amazon, and in the Far East, Alibaba, Lazada and Shopee.
So if you have products to sell, is it worth putting them up on online marketplaces? Or is the competition too much, and too crowded for your products to stand out.
The short answer is yes, its worth it, only for the buyers’ traffic. People who go to these websites have the intention of buying something, compared to the general visitor traffic who might just be doing research, and not yet committed to a purchase.
In short, to sell your product you must first know your target market. Once you gain clarity on who your potential customers, things become a lot easier. Then you only need to craft a message that presents your offering in a convincing manner.
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.