Marketing guidelines lie in the ten major things discussed below that create a general blueprint for the success of your budding business. The funny thing about being in business is that nobody ever really intended to be in business. Sure, some people come up with a plan, they set the intentions, and they work really, really hard for their success. In fact, anyone that does find success has to work incredibly hard for it. Yet, barely anyone has the intention of being a big business person when they are just getting started.
Sometimes, people start purely on enthusiasm, without any knowledge about marketing and how important it is. They bake because they love baking. And then people start asking for those specific cupcakes, creating demand. They write because they love writing, and then people start reading their stuff and asking for more. These kind of situations are born out of necessity. It’s either something related to financial security or even thing like curing your boredom. Creative people that start something out of passion slowly turn into businesspeople.
And business is arguably one of the hardest industries to break into and navigate your way. Especially when you’re a novice.
But, the beautiful thing is, being in business doesn’t have to be a hardship. Instead, it can be a lot of fun. There are ways that you can boost your business for the best while still enjoying the process. Pouring your heart and soul into your craft is important. And a great way to take your business somewhere – because the product matters. But being in business entails some “paperwork” and things you have to deal with outside of your craft. Things like finance and customer service and sales and marketing.
Sometimes, even thought of that is just too overwhelming. Especially as a beginner with a tight budget. Unless that’s not the case, which is rare. You might be a professional in making clay pots but the same can’t be said about planning a promotional campaign to sell your clay pots. There’s just so many details you have to consider. Hiring professionals to take care of everything for you is a perfect way out. However, if you don’t have the luxury, you can do some some things yourself.
So let’s consider ten simple, go-to steps every business owner can take up to ensure that everything blossoms!
Marketing Guidelines #1. Know What You Want To Achieve: Have A Clear Vison And Mission
To start with, you need to know what you want to achieve. What is the ultimate dream for your business? Can you see what it looks like? Do you even know what you want? If not, now is the time to get really clear on this.
You may want to do something, but you have to also analyze whether it is the range of your abilities. Doesn’t mean you don’t have the power or talent for it. What is meant here are the means to start business. Will the budget be enough to cover initial expenses? Is the prime operation area of your business suitable for the niche?
For instance if you want to start a business in a toursity seaside area you need to find the niche that suits the location. If your target market are predominantly women, then a bathing suit and bikini business would be an optimal option. You need to study your target market to learn their buying habits and what they prioritize when making buying decisions. Competitor analysis is also an important point to consider. When you are somewhat established you can compare the local market to global one to see what you need to do to expand your business.
This is a very short and general outline of the business development and marketing cycle. There are many other details that need attention, monitoring and constant adjustment. The main point is that having a clear vision does not mean having an image of a product you want to create. It’s a whole process that requires thorough planning.
Marketing Guidelines #2. Think Big: Aspire To Become A Leader In Your Industry
Do not shy away from going big. And then even bigger. Aspiration can be an incredible marketing tool. Especially during these times when the competition is fiercer than ever before. If you don’t literally stand out from everybody else, the customers won’t know you exist. Let alone anything about your products and specifics.
Going bigger doesn’t necessarily mean out budgeting or exceeding your capabilities by a lot. Just offer something unique. Being especially customer oriented is a good way to go big. Current reality gives you an amazing advantage. Right now, the major spending group are millennials. And according to statistic, 80% of the millennial buyers prioritize great customer service and customized items or services when making a purchasing decision.
To give you an example, imagine you a startup that creates handmade bags. Your main tool of marketing is Instagram. Your main target market are teens (with millennial parents) and women (millennials themselves). The two most efficient way to make profit would be to have a great customer service and create something that only an individual customer will own.
- Enough information about the specific products and delivery costs with times.
- Frequent updates, quick replies, polite conversations, good communication, asking for a feedback.
- Another great marketing trick is to make your products customized by adding a tiny detail that won’t cost much. Like their initial on the inside or a unique packaging customized just for them.
The latter specifically creates the feeling of shopping at a luxury store. The majority of buyers cannot afford to buy from big brands and designer houses. Be that quality alternative they can brag about. Plus point if you are operating locally because supporting local businesses is a trend. Another trend is to offer environmentally friendly products. So whenever you can create something eco-friendly don’t hesitate to do it. And then talk about it.
Think about what that big, fancy, professional version of your business looks like and start to visualize what you’re doing in the process. Sometimes, you need to look bigger than you are to feel the part – or just to get there. So maybe you need to get a business premise, or at least an address and post forwarding service so that you look more professional. If you start acting bigger, you’re one step closer to blossoming for real.
The above example is a great way of acting like a big name in your niche. It all comes down to how equipped you are with the necessary information. Study what big brands have done and continue to do. What is the secret formula for a successful marketing campaign for a particular product. That’s the blueprint you have to modify and adjust to.
Marketing Guidelines #3. Being Intentional With Your Planning Process Helps You Achieve Success
Being intentional is another way to say: plan. You have to plan every single step and then review it and make sure it goes well with the other steps. Be intentional with choosing your niche, choosing where to promote and what, who you are making your main target. Plan collaborations, let the partners know you choose them for a reason.
Planning alone won’t take you anywhere if you don’t know how to execute. Here’s a thing. You might be a genius in your niche. Great creative with boundless inspiration. Even planning can be easily taken care of. But turning a thing on a paper into an action is something entirely different. So if you are not confident, ask for a professional help. Or at least an advice. Ask them to direct you to the right direction.
Execution is just as important as planning. Only through actions do you get real profit, build authority and establish your business as a brand. Otherwise, just start a company that will plan things for other businesses. That can be a profitable business too.
Planning is the most important marketing tool used by businesses. But you really do have to start putting those steps into practice and actively aim to grow and blossom. You need to have every intention of success with everything that you do. So put yourself out there a lot more – intent to find success. When you’re in the right frame of mind, you can start to make things happen.
Marketing Guidelines #4. Set Clear Goals And Include Objectives That Will Help You Achieve It
And then, you need to put some firm goals in place. It’s not enough to just hope that you’re going to achieve certain things. You need to plan for them. Setting business goals is always the first step. Because when those goals are in place, you can then break things down and make sure that you’re taking the steps necessary and taking action to get close to achieving them.
General talk aside, let’s take an example to give you the idea of what are some things that go into this step.
Production and marketing are the two main processes that operate business. The two are closely tied together. You can market your entire company (and not a singular product) separately, but this can only be done through your products. On the other hand without marketing, your products won’t get looked twice by anybody even if the production was perfectly planed and executed.
- First, you come up with the idea for a certain product or a service. How relevant is it? If it’s not relevant think about something else.
- Budgeting. This is the second step because you will most likely have to pay for the analysis as well as production process itself.
- You do lots of analysis to determine who and where you are marketing to. Also, who are you up against and what is the current situation on the market.
- Product planning. Things like shape, color, packaging, location and environment in case of service planning.
- Promotional strategy. Choosing platforms where you ran ads, what will the ads look like, collaborating with the right people be it actors, designers or influence marketing.
- Presenting your product to the audience in the most effective way possible. So you need to plan a launching campaign. Announcements, events, you get the idea.
- Monitoring. Are things you’ve done working out for your businesses? Compare profits with the losses. Adjust your products and marketing strategy accordingly.
Again, the above discussed points comprise a very rough framework of how the actual business operation works. But even just looking at it gives you the idea of how much time, effort and resources each stage needs. Almost impossible for one person to handle everything on their own. And impossible to think about growing your business if you don’t ask for help. Which brings us to another point.
Marketing Guidelines #5. Hire Help: There’s No Shame In Finding A Professional To Handle What You Can’t
It may even be that you need an assistant or your first member of staff? We all need to start somewhere and if you know that you’re struggling with the workload, hire help. The second you realize that you cannot do it all if you want to grow, the quicker you’ll be able to make it happen.
This is quite straightforward. There are necessary things that need to be done and if you cannot do them you have to ask for help. However, hiring professionals in the field can be quite costly. People willing to work for startups with less budget than established businesses, are usually beginners. They want to enrich their portfolio for future jobs. So the quality of their performance depends largely on the luck.
You got couple of options here. The most optimal thing is to save enough out of your initial budget to hire a professional marketer to do major work for you. Second, do things (or at least the majority of the planning and execution) yourself. One advantage you have even over professionals, is that you know your business better than anyone else. This will take you a bit longer than the first option. You need to learn a whole lot. Third option was mentioned above.
Another thing to do here is to invest in various online tools that can help. Do a bit of research on the ones you can trust. They will cost a lot less than a human help anyway.
Marketing Guidelines #6. Outsource To Experts: Professional Help is A Marketing Tool
Tied to the point above. Outsourcing experts can be done in two ways. Literal team of experts or a tried and proven digital marketing tool. this is especially important when it comes to market, customer or competitive analysis. You can do social media promotion campaign yourself, but when it comes to getting the correct data, you will probably need help. That information is the basis of your business.
Good news is that you can use government sources sometimes provided for free. Like U.S census for instance. Although you have to take into consideration that they will be less updated than what you get from a real time analytical source. A bit of investing in the help from professionals will definitely bring you the ROI in the end.
You may not have all the necessary tools, but you can use expert help. Not only that, you may find that having experts working on your business can really encourage things to blossom. Not great with IT or finance? Find a team to help you. Don’t have time for sales or marketing? Do the same. Do not believe that you have to do it all, because you don’t. But you do have to make the first move in order to get some help.
Marketing Guidelines #7. Care For Your Customers, They Will Appreciate It
The next thing is to really care. Don’t just love the job and the work that you’re doing, love the customers. Because they are the ones paying you and making the very existence of your business possible. Without them, there would be nothing. So really aim to understand them and provide the care they need. When you know what your customers want, it’s so much easier to serve them and ensure that they keep coming back to you.
Great customer service being one of the things pushing people to buy from a business was already discussed above. It’s true. The major spending group, millennials, pay a lot of attention to the customer service. Let’s list down few things that create a good customer experience that can be executed even as a startup with no or a few staff working for you.
- Great communication with your customers comes first. This includes answering their comments and private messages or emails on time; Providing them with enough information; Asking for feedback – was the info helpful? Or would they like more help? What needs to be fixed?
- Never being rude or unhelpful. Just be polite even if a particular customer is being unreasonable. It’s what every business owner has to deal with at some point. Thank them frequently, whether they finalize the buying decision or not.
- Give back. Could be in the form of a giveaway or freebies at a launching event. Host these during special occasions. It creates a familiar atmosphere and makes customers feel like they are a part of the family.
- Engage with them on social media. Aside from the obvious replying to their comments, display whatever feedback they give about your product or a service on your wall. For instance, you can archive and pin bunch of these on your Instagram profile at the top.
Marketing Guidelines #8. Have Fun With Your Marketing: It’s The Best Strategy For Your Business
Here’s a little something to encourage you. Because everything we’ve talked about until now seems like a loads of hard work, planning and execution. Even sounds exhausting. You might be terrified thinking you can’t deal with all that even with some help. And to think about how that’s going to be your daily life as a business owner. May be the reason why lots of businesses fail before they take on.
Don’t worry. It sounds a lot and to be honest, it is. But you don’t have to everything at once. Things take time. Just be smart with what you pick and choose as an initial parts of your program. And make things fun. Your business should be centered around your passions. Planning can be boring but how fun is to plan creative ways to present the products that you love making. Marketing can be fun!
Now, you don’t have to know a lot about marketing to be able to make it work for you. There are lots of “newbie ideas” that you should get started with before you start to overanalyze things. One of the things if you want to make sure that your marketing is a success, is to just have fun with it. Don’t take things too seriously. Make sure that you’re putting your brand out there, giving your audience what they want, and trying to be engaging. If you do that, these things will really start to take off.
Marketing Guidelines #9. Try New Things: Experimentation Brings Results
We have mentioned that standing out from the crowd is especially difficult now because the competition is huge. Even the most obscure niches have a lot of competition. So it’s really just about finding a unique way to present yourself and then staying inspired to not run out of the ideas for what you offer to the public. This is by no means an easy thing to do. And you don’t have to do it alone. If you can ask for help from other help. Do a lot of research.
You can, for instance, do research on a successful business from another niche offering a completely different product or a service from your own. Simply observe the part of the marketing strategy they use that you like to try for yourself. Take it, analyze it and modify it for your business. This way you won’t have to deal with “copyright issues” as well.
Although it’s really easy to get stuck in your ways, it’s also important for you to try new things if you want to grow. Find a new marketing tool and try it out. This could be a new cupcake flavor or it could be a new styles of writing. Maybe it’s a new promotion idea or just something that puts you outside of your comfort zone. Yes, it’s scary to do things differently, to change and grow – but creativity happens once you step outside of whatever is expected. And f you really want to blossom, you have to leave your habits and comforts behind!
Marketing Guidelines #10. Keep Going, Don’t Give up
And then finally, if you really want things to take off, you just need to keep doing what you’re doing. That’s right, get down to business (literally) and just work. Because consistency is one of the most important things for success. You need to put the work in and you need to keep going. And, not only that, but you’ll want to make sure that you stay true to your values, who you are, and what you’re trying to achieve. Because authenticity is the key to making things blossom!