How to market a business?
How to market a business is a tough question in general terms, but there are some fundamentals one needs to take into account when answering the question. Many professionals that I meet have no idea what it is they’re marketing, or for whom, or even where, and these are actually the critical questions that need answers before you can even begin.
1) What is the product? Define it. What does it disrupt? Who does it help? What is the product’s core function? Avoid feature creep in answering this question. If your product can answer problems to many types of businesses, or people, then itemize them. Feature creep is probably the biggest issue, because many products can cross over, and with a tweak here and there could serve a whole new niche – wrong. Who exactly did you build it for, and why them? Where is your money going to be made now, not in the future?
2) Who are you, and/or who is the company? What are you about, what is your core mission? No one really cares how you built it, but why you built it. Why your product, and what is your story?
3) What is the “primary” target demographic of the product? I say primary because like feature creep, reach creep can be an issue as well. Define your target – where will you make your money now, not later?
4) Design for that demographic and own it. Become a niche, focus on your “why,” your reason for being in business. Avoid all creeps, and belong to the mission statement you’ve created that defines why you are who you are. Rarely does anyone pay for a product from a company it despises, unless it has to, and even then they are always shopping for your replacement.
5) Where and what is your demographic about? Where do they live, shop, eat, hangout, surf, what’s popular to them? Know them inside and out – chances are, you are your chosen demographic. Discover their favorite websites – often these sites are niche, and if your product is relatable to those sites, chances are that advertising there will benefit you the most. (Sidenote: dipsticks that tell you web ads do not work do not understand the power of a niche brand, nor it’s fans. A site’s fan can become your fan if you are the site’s demographic.)
6) Avoid traps like cliques. Web cliques are when one influencer tweets “I love this,” and 20 fans embrace your product. Now, everyone who despises anyone in that clique has been alienated, and if you think Twitter isn’t high school, think again. Use Twitter, but don’t become a fanboy in hopes of becoming the celebrity. Better to advertise via the influencer’s website than count on him or her to drive your audience – it’s short-lived and shortsighted.
Putting this all into practice
Now that you understand who you are, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you’ve discovered that you probably built or created a product for people like-minded to you, the marketing should begin to take shape. Your mission statement has created the image of the product, and your demographic has told you where to find it.
In reading this, these may sound like no brainer answers for how to market a business, but putting it into practice and avoiding the creeps I’ve mentioned will throw you curve balls – refer back to your mission, believe in why you’ve built what you’ve built, stand for what you stand for, and watch your marketing take off. Once you win your primary demographic, let the creeps in and expand your market share, but make money now, not later in marketing your business.