Most of the posts Steps to Starting a Small Business series focus upon the marketing of your small business. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, the focus on marketing as an essential part of starting a small business may come as a huge disappointment to you. If you were hoping to start a small business without spending a majority of your time and effort on marketing your business – um, well consider this your wake up call.
Creating a strategic marketing strategy is perhaps the most ESSENTIAL step in starting a small business. Creating a marketing strategy is different than chasing marketing tactics. A marketing strategy is essentially knowing what you’re selling and to whom you’d like to sell it. A marketing TACTIC is nothing more than a way in which you’re going to achieve your marketing strategy.
Your marketing strategy is knowing what you’re selling and to whom you’re selling it to. I know this sounds “simplistic” but it’s really surprising how often this most basic of business building steps is overlooked. (For an amusing illustration of a BIG company who really missed the mark on this one – read Cath Lawson’s Does Your Business Really Understand People? )
Which brings me to this essential point:
A blog can be a GREAT marketing “tactic” but it’s a LOUSY marketing strategy!
It’s why so many small businesses create websites that do absolutely nothing! A website, whether it’s a blog or any other style of website, must be a marketing tool which you put to use to achieve your marketing strategy.
When you know WHO you want to sell your products or services to, then you need to find a way to let the people you want to sell your products and services to know that you have what they want or need. That’s where a blog or website comes in!
In creating a blog or website that works, begin by finding a keyword combination people are actually USING to find products and services you offer.
This is frequently where the wheels fall off for most small business owners. If you don’t know WHO your target audience is, there’s no way of knowing WHAT WORDS they are using to find solutions on the internet.
Talk about trying to find a needle in the haystack – try finding keywords when you don’t have a target audience in mind!
That’s why choosing a target audience is an essential part of crafting your marketing strategy. When you have a target audience in mind, you can then set out to find the words those people are using to find information on the internet.
Now comes the “easy” part. This is where you create posts for your blog with your target audience in mind where you talk about the problems they’re having and how YOU offer the solutions they need.
Yes, marketing a small business is REALLY that “simple” – but if you’ve tried it you know that while it’s simple, it’s anything but “easy”.
If you’re struggling with the task of marketing your small business, it’s probably because you don’t have a marketing strategy in place. I know, I know – you didn’t start your [insert your business product or service] because you wanted to spend your time on “marketing”. However, marketing is an essential step to starting a small business.