Marketing from scratch
Your wallet is empty, but you got the greatest idea the world has ever seen. How do you make that a thriving business?
Disclaimer, do not trust a word in this post. Pick what make sense for you and try, that is the best way forward. This post is also focused on the marketing aspects of building a business. You need more skills than this to start a business, but they are more dependant on what type of business you are staring.
What is marketing
The two major reasons businesses do marketing is first to try to convince consumers to buy their product right now and second to convince consumers that when they are ready to buy, our brand is the one they should chose... These do conflict with each other and you might pick one or the other depending on what you want to achieve? While convincing consumers to buy now is obviously the more tempting approach, if you look at the immediate ROI, but if you spend the same budget telling the prospective consumers that you are still here, once a month instead of annoying them to death for 30 days until you run out of budget, has the advantage that it builds trust and recognition. You will probably also get a better ROI in the end, if you have the patience to wait. Because let say 10% of consumers have the need for your product during a year. You market as much as you can for a month, and you will reach the 1% that want to buy that month and maybe a second percent the next month for those with a good memory. But if you, on the other hand spend less and are visible over the year. You might miss the first two, but you will probably get the other 8% because you keep reminding them. This all depends on your product, how often it is bought and what your competition is doing, of course...
Making the dough
Now, back to the quest. You have no budget, nothing. You are basically in depth and need to start making a living from your idea. Where do you start?
Your voice, you start with your one voice. If your idea is any good you can find people that will be attracted by your idea and help you realize it. Either by paying you upfront to have you do the work or they might want to be part of your revolution and start to help you as a partner on your journey. Do not underestimate the power of face to face communication. What ever you want to do, how ever you want to start, the best strategy to get of the ground is to tell your idea to as many people as you can and get feedback. Take notes, do not defend your idea, just listen to the feedback and improve your idea accordingly. If you get rejections, that is a great opportunity to refine your sales approach and product. Make sure you understand why your idea was rejected and do not, I cannot say this enough, DO NOT make the mistake of mixing the idea with your self. All critique and negative feedback are on the idea, not on you. Remember, you are working on the idea and asking for feedback on how to improve the idea. Not on how to improve you, right. It is easy to lose energy thinking that there is something wrong with you. Just do not let that happen.
Baking the bread
You got some constructive feedback, and you refined the idea and now people are willing to open their wallet to get what you offer. You have found a way to reach the right people that are interested in your idea and you have a way of producing and delivering the value you sell. Hopefully you have already made some money, or you have some funds to work with from an early investor or aid from an organisation that offer money to start-ups. You are ready for step two: Now you want to reach more customers than you are not able to find using your personal network. Well, I hope that during the first phase you have actually made the effort to extend your network so that you have more people to sell to, but this is the way to reach further out in your network. Now you start to ask for references from your existing customers that you can connect to, either by phone or mail and it is a good idea to let your existing customers do the introduction, so that you do not have to do a cold call. Now you start to build a list of customers that maybe follow your blog or read your newsletter on a regular basis. As you do this you improve your sales skill and your communication, and you improve the service or product you deliver. You have probably already had a lot of issues with production and delivery and are finding better ways of doing that as well.
Eat the bread
You are now ready to set of a budget for marketing. Now it is time to look at spending money on marketing, this is how you reach potential customers that are not at all connected to you or your network, but again, start small. You can for instance post on different social media platforms where you know you have customers, or you can try to place some adds on google and see how they perform. Make sure you also take the time to understand the platform, how to target your audience and how to pick relevant keywords and such things. Now do not overspend, remember you want to be able to keep consistency in your marketing. Set a budget for the year, divide it by 12 and that is how much you should spend each month. In this phase of your business, marketing is probably one of your largest expenses, which makes it even more important that you have the communication and the target audience tuned in.
Make more bread
As you start to understand the marketing, you will realize that you cannot do it all your self and you also realize that there are many things in marketing other people are better at. It is time to hire a marketer or buy hours from a marketing consultancy. They will analyse what you have done so far and help you improve your outreach in ways you had never thought of. And the good thing is that you now have enough experience to ask the right questions that you need help with. This will also improve the cooperation with your new marketing partner, because you can clearly express your needs and intentions.
Are you full yet?
This is as far as I have gone on my journey in business and marketing. So, I cannot confidently tell you about what next steps may lay ahead, but as soon as I get there, I will extend this post. You may also choose to stay on the first or second step Again it all depends on your type of business. You might be earning more than enough on a few customers in your closest network, in which case extended marketing tactics is a complete waste of your dough.
- Marketing, Growth