Let’s say you have actually spent weeks researching and brainstorming on a preferable marketing strategy for your new startup business. You even have an air tight budget that takes into account every single cost of doing business down to the last pen and paper. After putting your marketing strategy into motion, it bombs. You have negative ROI, became an embarrassment in the community, and your reputation is tarnished. Well, in a nutshell, you failed. But failure is expected of all entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur who says he has never failed is lying. Whether it is a brand, product, or service proposition, learning from your failures is the key to success. However, most entrepreneurs don’t do themselves any favours because they continue to make the same mistakes over and over. Some don’t listen to the advice of the countless business coaches, and some don’t even bother to take their own advice.
So where do we all go wrong and what can we do about it? Here are three rules of digital marketing that we need to keep in mind.
Rule #1: Focus on Your Target Audience
You may go, tah…but many startup businesses out there are operating without any genuine thought of who their products and services are aimed at. The serious and seasoned entrepreneur always creates a business plan to document everything from the values of the founder to who the final end consumer is.
Before you get to the matter of developing your product or service, you need to get a thorough grip on who your target audience is. The creating of buyer personas is not a fad. It is here to stay and small business entrepreneurs need to learn how to develop them for their startup businesses. The process of developing a buyer persona begins with getting intimate with the people that you want to engage. Define who they are and their role in their role in the organization. What is their problem? What are they looking for in a solution to their problem? A few in-depth interviews with potential customers can help you answer these questions. Developing buyer personas do not happen overnight. The whole process can take from as little as 3 months to as long as 6 to 9 months of research and analysis. Yes people, starting a small business is not easy.
Rule #2: Know What Your Competitors Are Doing.
But do not obsess over them. Many of your competitors are going to be focused on being the low priced leader for your target audience. It is essential to have an understanding of what your competitors are throwing at your target audience. This does not mean matching your competitors word for word, and there are a lot of small businesses doing just that. Have an awareness of what they are doing, but be different. If you are a Christian-owned business, you can offer bible studies once a week at your location or at a nearby shop. It is these little things that will differentiate you from your competitors and why many customers will choose you. Identify what your values are and plan an outreach to your target audience who might be interested. You will be surprised at how many are interested and will begin talking about your business as a result.
Rule #3: It’s Not All About You.
Too often when you visit someone’s social media pages, it is usually filled with self-promotional content. Nothing is wrong with it. However, your social media pages now look spammy. Instead, follow the 80-20 rule. This rule states that 80% of the content that you share on any social media platform should be related content that you find interesting and that will help your audience solve a problem. The remaining 20% of your social media content should be your own. When sharing content of any kind, it should all be focused on a problem that your audience is looking to solve. This way they can come to look at you as a problem solver, and will likely at some point, hire you to solve it.