Whether this is your first foray into the recurring revenue business or the third one, one thing remains the same. You will need to have a marketing masterplan and strategy that will guide you through the jungle. Because one thing is for sure, with so many avenues and platforms and technologies, it’s so easy to get lost in the digital marketing jungle. You might be working on your marketing all day, but you will be going around in circles without the necessary plan.
Every marketing strategy depends on the business. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing a new business. So it’s important to sit down and map out a marketing strategy that contains tactics to reach your target customers.
Where do you start?
Start online? Build social media? Write a ton of content for the website blog? SEO?
Consider caution, my friends.
Before you do all that, check and double-check your foundation and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. At this point, you’re marketing to reach new audiences. Can your pipeline handle it? What happens when you get an inquiry? Or a complaint?
New businesses often make the mistake of marketing early without preparing the necessary support needed for a flourishing business. This is very important to make sure you can handle enough traffic without sacrificing your customers’ service and happiness. Prepare for hiring more employees or hiring virtual assistants who can help you run your business. Contracting your work can also be an idea that you can think about.
Having more work than you can complete and not extending the workload to staff and assistants can ruin your reputation as a service provider. It can also mean burnout for you and the people working with you.
If your backend is already in tiptop shape, it’s time to dip your toes in marketing.
The first step in getting yourself out there is to know yourself. Socrates, who was famous for this saying this quote, may not have marketing in mind when he said this, but it is a piece of excellent advice for businesses setting up their brand. Knowing yourself has got to come to a point where you can rattle your USP without blinking. We don’t want to sound jargony, but it is what it is, and you must learn this by heart.
What’s a USP anyhow? Your Unique Selling Proposition (or USP) is the unique reason your customers buy from you. This is what makes you different from your competitors. – it’s what makes your business stand out from the crowd. What makes you unique? What makes you different? It is important to define what you do differently and be able to convey that to potential customers. For your recurring revenue business, this shows your particular understanding of your market and your skills.
You may start developing your Unique Selling Proposition by answering these questions:
From here on, you can start mastering your brand. Your brand is more than just your logo, your color combination, or your tagline. This is the way you communicate your product to your audience. A great brand connects you emotionally with your target market and shows who you are, what you stand for, and what you can deliver.
We know this is not sexy at all. But if you ever were that kind of person that agonizes on every decision without data, knowing your market is the way to go. You already did your market research when you were finding your niche. So this is not something that should be new to you.
Before you can genuinely connect with your audience, you need first to know who your ideal customers are and where they spend the most time online. This is you collecting relevant information about your customers. Delve into their minds, buying patterns, and location. Your market research can help you forecast your sales, check into market trends, and, most importantly, note how your competition is doing.
Do a round-up of your target audience and research where they spend most of their time. Some marketers feel that by creating personas, they can better grasp their target customer and have an individual in mind when building a new campaign.
Learn how to profile or segment your markets. Imagine targeting everyone and everybody with a personalized marketing campaign. That’s like being the answer to everything but not nearly being the solution to everyone’s problems. Promoting your product or service to a general audience can also be costly and ineffective. Targeting potential customers in groups and looking for specific characteristics helps to focus your marketing efforts.
Take a cue from the segmentation options of Facebook ads. Generally, segmentation is based on factors such as location, demographics, behavior, or lifestyle.
When you’re just starting to market, traditional advertising can be hard to break into. Most businesses also don’t have enough budget for traditional marketing or chose not to because they’re costly, and returns are not easily trackable.
And since your business happens to be online, that’s an easy answer to your dilemma. There are two main avenues to grow here. One is thru content marketing, and another is through advertising. Advertising can potentially allow your business to scale quickly. Know that you need to optimize everything to get the right type of leads going through your sales funnels at the right price.
For this article, we will focus on content marketing. There are many platforms that you can use to market your business.
But with so many digital tools available, how do you know where to start? You can start with a business website, social media, blogging, newsletters, live videos, etc.
While there are many available, consider your target audience when you are determining which to use. The trick is to know which platforms are designed for your market. B2B providers will likely find LinkedIn is the best platform for finding new clients. Simultaneously, retailers who market to the public will be most successful by reaching out through sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, depending on the target demographic.
The more eyes you get for your business, the more possibilities of getting subscriptions. Create a content strategy that will lead your target audience to you. Avoid making this linear. For marketing online, it is best to think outside the box. For example, doing a Youtube Video can potentially bring people to your website, they end up on your blog, which gives so much value that they decide to follow you on social media. Weeks or months pass before they even begin to pay attention. Or you can suddenly break out with a meme.
And we come right back to goals. If this is the first piece you’ve read, you might want to circle back and read about setting your SMART Goals. Setting up your marketing goals will help you to define what you want to achieve for your business through your marketing activities. As we have mentioned in the first part of our series, your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. One thing that’s always been a misconception about goals is that they are an imaginary ideal. But they’re not.
Knowing your goals means you will have to take steps for your marketing activities. Now is the best time to set up your marketing budget. Allocate money for different parts of your marketing plan. Your marketing budget will need to include website development and maintenance, search engine optimization strategy, advertising budget, and other marketing needs.
There are so many options and technology online, so be careful how you spend your budget. Digital marketing, unfortunately, lends itself to a common human failing: “Shiny Object Syndrome.” We all tend to be distracted and enticed by the latest “shiny object” – and suddenly, we have to have it or use it – because it’s new and different. Nobody wants to miss out on the next big thing. Social media companies are always evolving into new platforms, and a lot of companies feel like they have to be part of it to remain relevant.
Because your business is new, you may need to allocate more funds initially. As a general rule, you should only spend between three to five percent of your actual or expected annual turnover for marketing. Find balance by letting the strategy lead the way rather than the tactics.
Marketing is not an end in itself. It is essential to regularly monitor and review your marketing activities to determine whether you are hitting the right targets. Too many businesses get easily get hung up on all the wrong metrics. The “bad” ones look fabulous but don’t actually show you how successfully, or unsuccessfully, your marketing campaign is running. You need to focus on the metrics that do matter if you want to correctly track your ROI (return of investment). Review and measure your marketing plan every three months to ensure your activities are supporting your strategy.
This article is part of a series of articles for entrepreneurs wanting to start a recurring revenue business. Check the links below to check the series!