You want to let the world know about you, your business and your latest and greatest offer. If you can just help enough people – enough of the right people – learn a little more about what you do your business will be a success.

So how do you do that? By doing enough of the right kind of marketing, that’s how. But how much is enough, and what’s the right kind? Here’s how to tell.

 

What do you want from your marketing?

What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to make a sale today or do you want to find a lead that you will market to over time. Will you start with a small sale that will draw customers into the fold for more frequent or higher value sales down the road, or are you going for all the gusto up front.

Are you trying to develop new customers or build repeat business with the customers you already have?

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve you’ll have a better idea what kind of marketing you need to be focusing on. It will be clear to you whether you need to be focusing on content marketing with a blog and a newsletter, or whether you will be better off buying pay per click ads on Google, or running a local campaign on TV, radio or newspaper.

 

How much time and money are you going to invest in marketing?

If you only want to spend 15 minutes per week marketing your business you probably shouldn’t start a blog. If you don’t have any money to invest in advertising then there is no use considering Google AdWords or your local media.

Figure out how much time and money you can budget for marketing. Eliminate what’s not in your budget, and you have the best possible direction to go in. You can build from there.

 

Where are your marketing efforts providing the greatest return?

As you test your marketing efforts will quickly see which ones are most effective. Keep what’s working, eliminate what’s not working, and bring a new marketing strategy into the mix.

Test and repeat.

You should always be looking for new marketing strategies that can increase your business. At the same time you should be cutting strategies that are not working. Over time your marketing will grow stronger and stronger.

 

Where are your customers?

You need to ne wherever your customers are. That’s a pretty simple concept – one you can easily lose sight of in the midst of running your business day in and day out.

If your customers are reading blogs searching for advice then you need to be writing blog posts and giving advice or advertising on blogs in your niche or getting bloggers to endorse you.

If your customers are searching on eBay for the lowest price, and if you’re willing to sell for the lowest price, then you need to be on eBay.

If your customers are asking questions on forums you need to be answering questions on forums.

If your customers are checking the local yellow pages you need to be in the local yellow pages.

There is no point in being anywhere your customer is not. There is every point in being in the places where your customers already are.

 

Where else are your customers?

Okay, so the obvious places to find your customers seem, well, obvious. But where else are you going to find customers? Let’s say you sell custom motorcycle seats for example. Setting up a booth at a motorcycle rally or placing an ad on a popular biker forum might be a good start.

But can you drill down another level or two to find customers in places that might not be so obvious to your competition.

You could make a deal with your local motorcycle shop to cut them in on a percentage of the profit for every custom seat they help you sell. But why stop with your local shop. There are thousands of shops across the country. How many partners would you need to bring on board to make your business successful?

You could offer your existing customers a finder’s fee for referring a new customer to you.

 

 

 

 

What do your customers really want?

Say you’re a custom website developer who specializes in creating websites for golf courses. You may think that your ideal customer wants a fancy website with pictures of the course, the clubhouse and a map of all the holes. A blog would be nice to post the latest golf course news. And don’t forget about a map showing the location.

Ask the golf course operator and you may get a different answer. She may tell you that she wants to increase the number of golfers playing Monday through Thursday, but she has all the business she can handle on the weekends.

She may also tell you that she wants to highlight some of the golf gear available in the Pro Shop and possibly even set up an online store.

You need to discover what your customers really want. The first step is to simply ask.

 

Can you narrow your niche?

You can’t be all things to all people so don’t even try. You may think you are already in a niche business, but you should ask yourself if it is possible to narrow your niche even more.

By focusing your efforts you will automatically become more knowledgeable in your niche. Your customers will see you for the expert that you are.

You’ll get to know your customers better and t will become obvious what they are really looking for. You’ll be able to recommend solutions to them that make sense at the exact time they are most open to buy.

Of course you can go too far, and at a certain point the returns are diminishing because there simply are not enough customers in that area of the niche. But chances are you can narrow your niche and increase your business.

 

What problem do you solve?

You may be thinking that you don’t solve any problem at all. That you just sell these little gadgets to people. The problem in your customer’s eyes is that he wants one of those gadgets, and he doesn’t have one. You solve it by providing him one.

Maybe your business solves much more complex problems. The principle is the same. Position yourself as a problem solver.

 

What key benefits do you provide?

Focus your marketing on the benefits you provide to your customer, and not the features of the product or service you sell.

Benefits are what the customer gets out of using your product.

Back to the custom motorcycle seats. Your customer gets hours of comfortable riding and a cool looking bike they can show off to their friends.

If you are selling a course on pay per click advertising your customer gets more traffic to their website, better qualified traffic with an interest in what’s being offered, and more sales.

If you are selling accounting software for small businesses the customer gets analysis that will help make better business decisions.

Give benefits first, then back them up with features – and put your biggest benefits up front.

How much is a customer worth to you?

There is no black and white answer to this question. It’s different for every business and every situation. The product you sell may be a onetime sale with no hope for repeat business in the future.

Or you may have a service that you will provide over and over to the same customers. Or you may have different related products that you will sell to your customer base.

Some customers have “lifetime value,” and some don’t. Is it worth it to break even or offer a loss leader to get that relationship going, or do you need to make a profit and move on. Answer this question before you begin your marketing efforts.

 

These are your keys to marketing your business. Answer these questions and you will begin to see a clear picture of where you need to go to help new customers find you.