How to Start Marketing a Business

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Allie Blackham

Marketing Content Manager

In the latest post from our “Small Business How To” series, we are diving into a topic that can leave company owners feeling overwhelmed: marketing. Even the savviest businesspeople can wonder how to get the word out about the products and services they offer. Explore this five-step guide to marketing your small business without hiring a full team.

The Importance of Marketing

Marketing your business is a way to create brand awareness while driving growth and profits. Effective strategies play a key role in establishing your company’s presence in the market while connecting with members of the target audience. If people don’t know that your business exists, they simply won’t engage with or support it.

5 Steps to Market Your Small Business

No business owner can afford to overlook the value of marketing efforts. Even if you don’t have a lot of money to put toward marketing, it’s still worthwhile to take a few key steps to start generating awareness.

Step one: Establish company branding

Identifying the key elements of your marketing strategy begins by establishing the business branding. But even before you can tackle this task, you and other key stakeholders must look at the long-term goals of the business and what helps it stand out in the market. Using this information allows you to create a distinct brand identity that aligns with the goals and differentiators.

Your company branding includes more than the logo and color palette. Incorporate elements like a consistent tone when producing content, clear values that align with the vision of the business, and design elements that complement one another. With these components put together, you can begin to foster brand recognition and establish your company’s credibility.

Step two: Set up a website

Your business simply must have a web presence. Potential customers are more likely to trust what you offer if they feel your business is reputable. The site can also offer information about the products or services you sell and serve as a tool for generating leads or even making purchases.

If you’re planning to utilize e-commerce, it may be worth investing in professional web setup services. Working with a skilled professional can also help your site rank higher on search engines, which can boost traffic.

Step three: Figure out the value proposition

Your business value proposition is what makes it unique and appealing to the target audience. What pain points or problems does the company solve? Make sure this statement describes the business model and what products or services are available.

Part of identifying your value proposition involves figuring out who your target demographic is and how to reach them. Who is looking for what your business offers? Is your company offering B2B (business-to-business) services, or focusing on B2C (business-to-consumer)? The way you market will change depending on the target audience.

Step four: Look for ways to build loyalty

You need a loyal customer base to succeed, but building that can be a challenge at first. Happy customers are more likely to tell people about your business and come back, so focus heavily on providing a positive experience. Get into your community to create local awareness, and encourage those who interact with you to follow and engage with the business in other ways. You could offer discount codes or free products or services in exchange for positive reviews and other buzz.

Step five: Set goals

Any marketing efforts should have goals attached to them. Setting short-term and long-term goals helps you and your team determine which marketing initiatives are working and which aren’t as effective with your target audience.

Marketing Terms to Understand

Whether you’re a newcomer to the industry and this is your first business, or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, there may still be terms you aren’t as familiar with, especially in the marketing space. Check out our glossary to make sure you’re up to speed.

  • Ad extensions: Specific data added to Google Ads to improve performance. Examples include store location, product pricing, app download, call button, seller rating, and additional links.
  • Affiliate marketing: An avenue that relies on relationships with affiliates (individuals with large followings) to boost advertising reach and generate awareness. This partnership often takes a “pay for performance” approach, allowing each affiliate to earn a commission for a lead or sale.
  • Backlinks: Links found on websites aside from your business site, leading to your website. Also called inbound links, these serve as a source of organic traffic. High-quality backlinks can also boost search engine rankings.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visits to a site in which only a single page was viewed.
  • Call to action (CTA): The next step you want the reader/viewer/visitor to take, such as completing a form, clicking a link, following a social account, etc.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of visitors to a website that take a desired action, e.g., providing contact information in a form or making a purchase.
  • Customer journey: The steps a customer will take to interact with your business.
  • Drip campaign: An automated digital campaign that includes multiple email messages, sent at a specified rate, to remain at the top of mind of those who have interacted with your brand in the past and provided contact information.
  • Ecommerce: The buying and selling of goods through an online platform.
  • Key success factors: Elements that determine the effectiveness of capturing the target audience (strategic focus, operations, finances, people, and marketing)
  • Keywords: Specific words or phrases that align with what your target audience is searching for.
  • Long-form content: Comprehensive marketing resources that offer more insight into a particular topic. Examples include eBooks, podcast episodes, and videos that are more than a minute or two in length.
  • Payper-click (PPC): A sponsored ad that requires the business to pay based on the number of interactions (clicks).
  • Quality score: A metric through Google Ads that rates the relevance of PPC advertising and landing pages based on selected keywords.
  • Return on investment (ROI): The metric used to determine how much profit or revenue was generated by a specific marketing activity in comparison to its cost. Example: An ad on a social media platform cost $500 to run for 30 days and produced 100 clicks. Of those 100 clicks, 50 people made a purchase, generating $1,000 in sales. For every $500 you spend, you earn $1,000 in sales, which means the ROI is $2 per $1 spent.
  • Short-form content: Brief marketing resources that capture the viewer’s attention, establish a connection and showcase brand personality.
  • Web traffic: The number of visitors to a website, often indicative of the success of search engine optimization (SEO) and advertising efforts that lead viewers back to the site.

With the right approach to marketing, you can improve the chances of business success while working toward your growth and revenue goals.

Explore other posts in our “how-to” series:

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