Marketing your business goes beyond presenting a product or service to the public for purchase. Consumers today are not content to buy what you market just because you tell them to. They research on their own, on their own time, before making the purchase decision. Here are some tips to help you create and execute an effective marketing plan.

1. Research your market

Still to this day, I’m shocked at how many people/businesses skip this most important step.

Market research will provide the start-up phase of your business with relevant data that will help implement marketing strategies, such as market segmentation, positioning and product differentiation. You can hire someone to conduct surveys, questionnaires or interviews (primary research), or do it yourself. Additionally, you can make use of information previously researched by government agencies, trade associations or other businesses within your industry (secondary research). And one of the most effective ways to conduct market research, seriously old school – face to face and in person. Nothing beats truly hearing from a potential customer what they think of your service/product/business. Many people are too afraid to ask, and too afraid to truly listen. Don’t be that person. Good, through research is your marketing and publicity campaigns best friend.

2. Choose your product

Consider the four P’s of marketing before making a decision on what to sell: product, price, place and promotion. What problem will the product solve? Will its features benefit the consumer? A good marketing plan will help you identify goods or services the market will purchase, create publicity and set a fair price. Once you have chosen your price, your positioning will naturally follow in place, followed by marketing.

3. Test the merchandise

Before you purchase any merchandise in bulk, test the quality. And let a few strangers test it too. This is the spot you really want to expand past a circle of family and friends.  Selling substandard products or services will, at some point, always damage your brand image. Order a few samples and test them on a group that have experience and knowledge of the product and/or service. Test group and test times are essential to success.  Seek professional advice from veterans in the industry. Once the samples pass the integrity test, you can go forth unafraid.

4. Be ethical

Promote honesty, fairness and responsibility in your marketing to build trust and loyalty with your customers. For example, many people still buy diet pills despite the fact they are rarely effective. This business model may be sneaky but it’s not illegal, and it has proved to be profitable. For a business looking to improve its brand image or develop long-term relationships, this kind of unethical tactic can lead to failure. Customers who feel manipulated will quickly drop your brand. And these days, they may feel they are doing a public service by telling others to stay away from you. I’m not a big fan of tripwires, and when something says “download now or free” and then you have to watch a whole bunch of upsell videos to sample what you originally set out for, I’m done and no longer interested in anything the company has to sell.

5. Give warranties

Integrate warranties and guarantees into your product packaging as a marketing tool to reassure your customers of good quality, enhance your brand reputation, and give your brand a competitive edge. Give warranties even for short durations. Make sure the customer knows you have great faith in your product or service and expect them to be delighted too.

6. Care for your customers

Good customer service will strengthen your relationships and help retain the customers you obtained from your marketing. Satisfied and happy customers are more likely to return with their friends, driving referrals. In comparison, negative reviews may hinder sales and damage your reputation. Caring for your customers, and being accessible to them, is a huge benefit in this digital age.

7. Get feedback

In traditional brick-and-mortar stores, customer feedback is often immediate and straight to the point. Online businesses will require more effort and staffing to collect feedback. Positive feedback will give you the opportunity to expand and improve, whilst negative responses may require product or service re-evaluation. Negative feedback does not necessarily mean the product or service has been rejected by customers but can provide opportunities for improvement.

The failure of a product or service often has more to do with the way it’s marketed than its quality; an inferior product can outsell better quality alternatives if properly marketed. In short, the long-term benefits of investing in a good marketing and publicity plan based around these points will positively affect your bottom line by reducing business costs and increasing your profits.

Here’s wishing you glorious marketing success! If you need assistance, feel free to reach out, we’re here to help.

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