Marketing is a subject that somehow seems to attract an undue amount of smoke and mirrors when practiced in the wild. Particularly in the context of small businesses, it’s an area that can be unnecessarily confusing to both beginners and those who’ve been around the block more than once.
As with many subjects in business and life, a little bit of common sense goes an awfully long way here. If you’re at the planning stage of a marketing campaign, rather than get bogged down in talk of multivariate funnel analysis and other arcane matters, concentrate instead on our five killer common sense questions to build your efforts around.
- Who Is The Target Market?
This is an incredibly simple and obvious question but you would be gobsmacked at the amount of businesses who are willing to pile in with a marketing budget before adequately answering it.
Before you spend so much as a dollar, make sure you are crystal clear about who you are trying to reach. Identify buyer personas if necessary, get super specific about the demographic pools you’re fishing in, and break out details such as where your targets typically work, rest and play.
- Where Will You Find Them?
Following on from the first point, once you’ve got a very clear idea of who you’re after, the next question is where are you going to find them? Are there particular websites or publications they favour? Are there offline events or conferences where you can find them en masse?
You need to generate simple lists of the most obvious places your target market gathers as quickly as possible and keep brainstorming from there.
- What Price Point Are They At?
No matter what niche you find yourself in, pricing is often a puzzle. You’ve probably got a reasonably accurate view of potential price points prior to pushing the marketing boat out, but it’s always best to double-check with your actual prospects before committing. Trying to sell Porsches to Toyota owners is always going to end in tears.
Ideally, you want a very clear idea of how price sensitive your target audience is – and how high they’re willing to go – before committing any marketing dollars.
- What Are Your Prospects’ Hopes And Fears? What Drives Them?
Knowing who and where your prospects are is one thing, but to drive actual action you’re going to have to get inside their heads. The more you know about your target market’s specific needs, worries, and desires generally, the more effective your marketing copy will be. Start tying these sorts of questions into your specific product, and you’ll quickly have the basics of an incredibly effective pitch.
- How Can You Go Above And Beyond?
By this stage, you should have an increasingly clear picture of your target market and, hopefully, a very solid idea of your basic pitch. Now is the time to start asking yourself – how can I go above and beyond for this particular segment of the market?
You can look at this in the context of your overall Unique Selling Point (USP), or on a campaign by campaign level. In either case, as you get increasingly specific about exactly who you’re trying to reach, keep striving to deliver extra value at every stage of your offer.
Any well-run marketing campaign is a process of constant learning, and you’ll soon get used to adjusting as you go in response to the constant stream of data your efforts deliver. Starting with the right questions is half the battle, however, and can save you from an awful lot of initial heartbreak as you kick things off.
Use the simple, common sense approach we’ve outlined above to steer your initial planning and you’ll be out of the gate substantially faster than the competition!