10 Keys To Marketing Success

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1. Have a strategy and plan for success.
As a part of a comprehensive businsess plan, your marketing plan is essential. Make sure that you have the resources and tools you need for successful market planning. There are a variety of online tools for developing your marketing strategy, however you may find you will also be well served to have a marketing professional review that plan to help make it less generic and more specific to your individual needs. Use a marketing template to begin your planning but do not depend solely on templates.

2. Develop a brand, not just a logo. 
While a logo is the first thing people see, your brand is what they experience. Branding can capture your story and allow your clients to better know what your company is about. Branding is all about messaging. In the end, branding is about communication. Be sure to develop a brand and logo that is uniquely positioned to speak directly to what your client needs and what represents you best. (Resources for developing a brand. logo sites)

3. Be unique 
You will always have competition and you can’t afford to ignore it. However, spend more time considering and developing what makes you different, not how you’re going to compete. Spend time not only asking the what questions about your business, but the why’s. If you can answer the why, you will be one step closer to defining your unique selling proposition.

4. Focus on what people need
People may not know what they want, but if you focus on what they need, they will realize it.

5. Create a reasonable but realistic budget
Marketing is not free. It will either cost you in time, resources or both. Be sure to prioritize the things you can do most efficiently yourself with your particular skill set and be sure to hire the best people to do everything else. You may spend a little bit more in dollars to start with, but you will save time, energy and be on a faster track to success.

6. Commit to the long game
Once you have a sound strategy, commit to it. Set milestones and markers to review, but give time for an informed strategy to work. Respond to your market; do not react hastily. Chase the vision, not the bank account.

7. Find balance in the use of technology
Just because it exists, doesn’t mean you have to use it. There are many ideas and many good and beneficial uses of technology, websites and mobile-friendly communication is a must, but there are ways to scale the usage of these and tailor your use of them to fit your budget and your market. Do not overextend yourself or be afraid of technology. Get sound advice from professionals who can help you navigate through the myriad of options available in today’s world.

8. Take Your First Steps Intentionally
Market as you go. In the pursuit of a solid strategy, do not be afraid to begin marketing right away. Be sure to organize yourself in such a way that you can go to market in the quickest way possible.
  Step 1: Business name and brand development.
  Step 2: Buy a domain and put a temporary page in place on a reputable host. Establish e-mail accounts.
  Step 3: Order business cards.
  Step 4: Create a social media account with your business name
  Step 5: Branded email communication (ex. Constant Contact, Mail Chimp)
  Step 6: Design a brochure, hand-out or some small communication piece which lays the foundation for your website content and organization.
 Step 7: Build and deploy an initial web property, In most cases, these should be able to be completed in 3-5 weeks with the right products and resources.

9. Let analytics guide you, not enslave you
You must understand data in order to be an effective marketer, however, spending too much time on data and not enough time with people will produce poor results in marketing. You can automate reporting and analytics through social media with Google Analytics. You can also get user insights and understand more about how your website is performing through Google Insights. Each of them have free and paid versions available. Most people find sufficient information with the free versions.

10. Take calculated risks
Some business owners and entrepreneurs are very comfortable with taking risks, at times, too comfortable. Slowing down and calculating the risks is an important habit to form as you develop your marketing plan. Others may be more hesitant to take risks. You will not succeed if you do not step out and take risks that are appropriate for your budget and goals. For an aggressive start up, you may spend up to 10% of your working capital in the first year or two on marketing. For a slower start, you may be around 5%.