Marketing is one of those areas that tends to lead to a lot of confusion and frustration for those wishing to set up their own business. It can also be quite expensive so a lot of work from home people tend to just ignore it. The fact is the basics of marketing is something that all business owners should try to learn because a little information in this area can make a huge difference.
The term ‘Marketing’ actually includes a vast amount of information, but put very simply it is about communicating with your current and potential customers. It includes things like your business name, logo, brand, adverts, emails, posters, business cards, online presence such as a Facebook Page etc etc. In other words it is any form of communication that your business creates. Every status update on your Facebook Page or Twitter account is a form of marketing, as is every image you post. Quite frankly it is impossible to run a business without marketing, and if you are not aware of the message you are putting out then you could be doing more harm than good.
For example, if your customer needs a simple solution to a problem are they likely to read a 10 page document detailing all the technical specifications of it? This would be considered as a mis-match by most. Therefore an understanding of your customer needs and values is central to marketing, because this is what you want to base your marketing activities on.
So how do you avoid a mis-match?
People new to any kind of business frequently make the assumption that they want to reach as many people as possible with their promotional message. They believe having as many people as possible seeing their advert will mean that they are more likely to hit on a match between product and customer. Actually the reverse is true, the more you know about your target audience the more closely you can match your communications with their needs. So, as outlined in Who is Your Customer? one of the first steps in marketing is to know who your target audience is. Who are the people most likely to actually be interested in buying your product or service?
Once you have figured out who your target audience is, marketing actually becomes a lot easier.
Using the needs and habits of potential and current customers as a guide, your marketing campaigns can be developed in such a way to make sure the right people are attracted to your business. For example, imagine you are wanting to sell more of a particular type of make-up. This make-up is bright and colourful, is the current trend, and the selling price is in the lower range – from your research you decide this range would be most suitable for teenagers. Knowing this means you can create advertising images that include pictures of young trendy people, you can use language that teenagers would relate to, and you can make sure you have a presence on a social media site used mostly by teenagers. If you didn’t know this, and instead you used images that suggested the make up was being used by older people, and was in the higher price bracket, the chances of you making many sales on a teenager specific social media site would be limited.
As well as having knowledge of your customers needs and habits it is important to have an understanding of your competitors. Within the MLM arena specifically this is vital, because each business owner who works with a particular customer has access to, and sells exactly the same items. In most traditional businesses this is not the case, and so they can take steps to stand out from the crowd. Traditional businesses can therefore ensure they offer something different to the other businesses in the area etc. MLM business owners can’t do this usually. The products, prices and often the marketing materials provided are all identical, so how can you distinguish yourself from the other people who are also working with the same company as you are? Why should the customers come to you instead of the other people who can provide the same thing?
In the next post I will provide some ways you can create a Unique Selling Point even when you work with the same company as hundreds of thousands of other people…
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