If you are in business you will know that as well as having a good product or service you need a good marketing plan.
Unfortunately for a new business it is often hard to work out where to spend the marketing budget to get the best results. There are a lot of marketing experts all “pedaling their wares” and while a lot of them will have data to back up the effectiveness, they will not all work well for you.
Believe me … over the years we have tried a lot.
Marketing starts with product conception—determining the needs and wants of customers and then making sure your potential customers know about your product and service and see value in purchasing it from you.
Some important points to keep in mind about marketing:
- Marketing is an ongoing process, not a one-time project.
- Promotion and marketing are not the same thing. Promotion is just one of many aspects of marketing (and usually one of the last steps of the marketing process).
- Marketing starts with product conception—determining the needs and wants of customers and then researching and developing products and services that excel at meeting those needs.
- Marketing involves pricing your products in the sweet spot where you maximize overall profits (balancing a low enough price to encourage a sufficient volume of sales and a high enough price to keep profit margins good). Pricing also involves planning strategies that may change depending on the target market.
- Once you’ve developed your products and priced them strategically, you need to work out distribution channels—i.e. how are you going to make your products available and accessible to customers?
- Promotion can only be done effectively once you have researched and developed your products, priced them strategically to optimise cash flow and profits, and set up sufficient distribution channels.
Without successfully completing the full marketing cycle, promotion is expensive and will not provide the expected results.
Seth Godin said it best: If you want to be successful in business you only have to do two things:
- Do great work
- Make sure lots of people know about it
And that is how simple it is.
Make sure you deliver a great product or service and then make sure that people know that they can trust you to do great work.
Some Marketing Idea’s That You Can Try
Of course there are the expensive marketing ideas like television, radio, press and others. I’m sure that they will deliver results, but for most small businesses the budget that you would need is beyond what we can afford.
As a small business owner myself I have tried a number of ideas over the years and the two that I now concentrate on are;
- Online marketing – mainly through websites, blogging and social media
- Networking – with business networks and especially BNI
As mentioned, marketing is a contest for people’s attention and therefore the best way to ensure that you are listened to is to gain trust.
The online world is full of people trying to “sell stuff” and while that may be the ultimate aim, I have found that people like to get useful or interesting information too. This is a key reason that I do quite a bit of blogging, but unlike many people who blog I actually research and write my own posts. This ensures that the information is relevant and hopefully people find it useful. As a New Zealand mortgage broker I now get calls from all around the country and overseas too from people that have read one of my blog posts and need help in that particular area.
The ability to be seen on the internet is the hardest thing and takes time and/or money – often a bit of both.
On this website we have created a section called “Marketing Tools To Use” and this is where I post some of the useful tools that I have used and found work well from having your own blog, the use of social media for leads through to concepts like creating your own ebooks which can be used as give-away’s.
I also have created a few websites so that they can focus on a specific area;
North West Mortgages – this is our main mortgage broking business where we trade as The Mortgage Supply Company – Hobsonville
New Build Finance – as a mortgage broker the new builds are a niche that I really understand and enjoy
Stuart Wills Blog – this is my blog about business and life (this site) where I share ideas and concepts as well as business related and personal things
Mortgage Protection – I used to be an insurance broker and set this website up to clarify what mortgage protection insurance is and why going to the bank is not the best idea.
These websites have helped my business gaining me ongoing enquiry. The thing that I like with online marketing is that a post (like this one) will remain online for years and so you may get an enquiry in a few years time from something that you wrote today. The frustration is that the internet is so crowded and therefore sometimes the good stuff is hard to find. Getting your website and individual posts to rank well on the search engines is important and that takes a bit of time and effort.
I personally have used online training from JVZoo Academy which is a proven process for creating an online business, and while the course focuses on selling affiliate products the concepts can be applied to any business that wants an online presence.
This is extremely important today with so much business being done online, and even when business is not being done online there are a lot of people that will research online before making a decision to purchase a product or service.
Can you miss out on such a large part of the market?
An important marketing concept that I have always worked by is that people buy from people and therefore with any marketing and work that you do you need to always focus on building trust.
How To Gain Trust
The quickest way for people to trust you is by having someone they trust tell them they can trust you.
This is where business networking can be so valuable. With networking you can focus on having other people spread your message for you, and over time you will build a business that will require very little ongoing marketing.
I have been a member of Business Network International (BNI) for a few years now and some of the connections that I have made have been extremely valuable. Like any group of people there will be some that you may struggle with, but in general the people that are prepared to front up each week are serious about their business and therefore I can relate quite easily to them.
Sharing Marketing Concepts
While we say that Auckland or even New Zealand is a small marketplace, there is still plenty of business to go around – the good business people can and will succeed.
I suggest that we share our ideas with others, and while some of the better business people will pick up and run with the good ideas most people will not.
So please share your idea’s and share this post.
You can also join the Facebook Page I created: Small Business Ideas & Marketing.