by Marlee Ward | Featured Contributor
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” – Peter Drucker
If there is only one area you strive to improve in your business this year let it be your marketing. Your marketing is the single most important driving force in your business, and it’s the easiest part of your business to leverage. All you have to do is become a better marketer.
Becoming a better marketer might sound easier than done, but today I’m going to make it really simple by giving you 10 easy ways to start marketing better right now.
1. Know Your Customer.
At the heart of all your marketing efforts rests the problems, needs, and desires of your ideal customer. Your marketing will only be as effective as your ability to communicate how you solve the problems, needs, and desires of your ideal customer in a compelling way. This means you need to know them as well as you know yourself…or better. If you want to convert more prospects into paying customers in 2013, get clear on who you’re meant to serve, how you are meant to serve them, and why they should choose you. Then, communicate that with passion every chance you get.
2. Have A Plan.
Marketing doesn’t happen on its own. You have to plan and schedule time to actively market your business. Most entrepreneurs don’t do this, and guess what? Marketing doesn’t happen. Your plan doesn’t have to be elaborate or complex. Just make a list of every marketing activity you want to do for the entire year. Then, pull up your calendar and schedule the time to complete your marketing activities. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.
Looking for some sure-fire marketing methods to grow your business? Get them here.
3. Be Consistent.
Now that you’ve made time to market your business, do it consistently. Poor marketing done consistently beats out amazing marketing done sporadically every time. Commit yourself to your marketing goals. If you send out a monthly newsletter, send it on-time every time. If you leverage social media marketing, post daily and engage with your community. Whatever you do, do it regularly. Consistency builds trust, and trust equals sales.
4. Be Authentic.
Yes, “authentic” might be the most played out word of 2012, but its meaning will continue to ring true as clients and customers continue to become savvy buyers. Trust is the currency of conversions in business, and if you represent yourself one way but deliver products and services that don’t match your business will suffer. Maintaining authenticity in your business also allows you to be who you truly are. And when you are yourself in your business, you enjoy your work more, attract more of your ideal clients, and face fewer objections from potential buyers.
5. Solve Problems.
Your products and services will sell themselves when they truly meet the needs of your ideal customer. Not only do you need to know your ideal customer, and communicate your value to them effectively, but you need also need to provide them with their desired outcome. Doing so builds trust, fosters word-of-mouth marketing, and develops a customer base of raving fans. Look for ways to go above and beyond in delivering your customer experience, and your bottom line will increase above and beyond what you might expect.
6. Tell More Stories.
We are constantly being marketing too. On social media, on TV, on our phones, and in our mailboxes. Everywhere we turn someone or something wants our attention. This can make it difficult for you to cut through the noise most people are trying to block out on a daily basis. One way to do this is by telling more stories. Stories are a powerful vehicle for connecting with your ideal customer. When you communicate with your ideal customers in a way that resonates with their own story you increase your likeability factor, and we all know people buy from those the know, LIKE, and trust.
Need help telling stories? Check out this great post by Jeff Goins for some insight.
7. Read Copyblogger, Social Triggers, and Kissmetrics.
Becoming a skilled marketer has never been easier. The web is full of valuable and actionable content that will help you market more effectively. You just have to apply it. If you’re not already reading the following three marketing blogs, here are links to get you started:
8. Listen to Your Customer More.
By now you should know that social media is a VERY powerful marketing tool. But one of the best kept secrets of social media marketing is that it’s not only a great tool for reaching your target audience, but for listening to them too. Getting to know your customer has never been easier. Social media gives you the ability to act as Big Brother (in a non-creepy way) and discover the very things your ideal customers struggle with, need, and want most. Start listening twice as much as you tweet. You’ll be amazed at how many creative ideas you develop, and how much easier it is to attract the clients you want most.
9. Test, test, test.
Marketing is not a set it and forget activity. As a small business owner you cannot afford to throw money away. To avoid wasting your marketing dollars be sure you are testing and tracking everything you do. Set revenue goals for all of your marketing activities, and make sure you are reaching them. Marketing is both an art and a science so it’s important to pay attention to both areas.
10. Have Fun.
Marketing is fun. But, if it’s not fun for you, you may need to look at it differently. At the end of the day, marketing is simply educating your ideal customer on how you can serve them. If you are truly passionate about what you do, and you believe in your products and services, you should get excited over the opportunity to share what you have to offer. If you strive to be honest and authentic in all of your marketing any “icky” feelings you have about marketing will go away. Look at the things you love about your business and have fun sharing them with the world.
Now it’s your turn. What else can you do, or plan to do to become a better marketer this year? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
Marketing & Mindset Expert – Marlee Ward from marleeward.com
Marlee Ward empowers solo entrepreneurs make more money and serve more people by teaching them how to leverage high-level marketing principles, online tools, multiple income streams, and a success mindset, through personalized coaching programs, online training workshops, and live training seminars.
After practicing law for nearly five years, Marlee left her career as a lawyer to pursue her passion – seeing individuals succeed as entrepreneurs.
With over 10 years experience in marketing, public relations, and new media technologies, Marlee speaks to a variety of industry specific small business in the US.
She’s served as Business Editor of the popular woman’s blog BizChickBlog.com, co-authored Engagement from Scratch! How super-community builders create a loyal audience, and how you can do the same, and was voted “Top 40 under 40” by a Central Florida Magazine
To receive your FREE weekly marketing and mindset training, plus a free copy of the mp3 training audio “6 Ways to Increase Your Income”, visit http://marleeward.com.