Originally published on Inc.com.
You have customers. You’re making sales. And you’re ready to grow. So where do you start? If you’re like many, you start with the Internet. Okay.
First things first. Keywords. Good start.
Then someone tells you about a few other methods to market your business. Pay per click, advertising, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media.
You’re moving right along.
Next you learn you need to do more. Banner ads, newsletter advertising, write articles, participate in discussion forums, start a blog, update your newsletter, write a sales letter, write a better headline, automate your mailing list, do joint ventures… Ack!
This marketing stuff is hard.
Relax. It doesn’t have to be that way. Before you dive into the tactics and specifics of any marketing campaign, you must know exactly what you want to accomplish first with your efforts. This is where strategy comes in.
There are three major strategic results you want to achieve with your marketing:
Visibility is getting your company or product name out there. Your aim is to create the “I’ve seen/heard of you” effect.
One of the best ways to get visibility is simply to advertise (which sounds obvious, now that I say it). You can advertise in online or offline publications that are read by your target market — the people who will want to buy your company’s product. Social media advertising is also very hot and a great place to find your target audience.
Credibility exists in the minds of your customers and prospects. Other people give you or your business credibility; you don’t get to tell people you’re credible. (Well, you can tell them, but it’s a waste of time.)
Credibility can be achieved online by having endorsements or testimonials, rating or ranking systems, through mentions and quotes in magazines, newspapers or any other authoritative medium. Shares, likes and mentions in social media improve credibility instantly.
Any of these results in credibility in the mind of the prospect or customer, and when you have credibility, you have more trust. When you have trust, you will have more buyers.
3. One-to-One Connection
Personal, one-to-one connection used to be difficult. You had to sit down and write a note or personal letter (remember those?).
On the Internet, it’s much easier to produce personalized newsletters, emails and simple communication. Of course, this doesn’t replace the time honored thank you note, personal note or printed newsletter that arrives in someone’s mailbox at their home or office.
One-to-one connection builds and maintains relationships with your prospects so when they are ready to buy, they come to you.
Once you have these strategies in mind, only then should you decide on your tactics. Most companies use a combination of tactics for a very specific end result.
Visibility, credibility or one-to-one connection are your goals. Period. Once you know the end result you want to achieve, you can then begin to drill down into the specific tactics you can use to get loyal customers faster.
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