When it comes to marketing your small business, there’s plenty of great advice out there and I’ve compiled a list of 9 tips. Last night I attended the MaRS Discovery District Entrepreneur 101 series focused on marketing communications with Mark Evans. In the time span of an hour, Mark was able to address the key factors that all entrepreneurs and small business owners should be aware of when starting and looking to improve their marketing strategy.
The following are some fundamentals that I took from his lecture, highlighting key objectives that often go overlooked:
The Core Message
It is the bottom line of what your company does. In this message, always answer the questions of “Who are you” and “what problem do you need to solve”? You should be able to get this explanation down in 30 seconds. If it takes you longer or if you leave too many lose ends, you will lose your audience.
The Mom Test
Best phrase I’ve come across so far in regards to core messaging. If your mom cannot understand what you do (in 30 seconds or less) your customer won’t either.
Using Social Media
As useful as it is, social media will not solve all of your problems. However, if you leverage it properly it can be very powerful. Remember, “whatever you do, do it as well as you can.” If you cannot wrap your head around a Facebook fan page, avoid it at all costs. It’s better to have never touched it then to leave it unattended.
Marketing and Branding Needs Creativity
A great example Mark brought in was from a company called Will it Blend. The company’s YouTube commercial is engaging and humorous, not only drawing people into the commercial, but also to their site.
Limit Your Services to Start
Do not come out with 10 services at once. Start with two. Once you have your audience’s attention, go into more detail about the other ways you can help their business.
Your Website is the Workhorse
Your website does the most work. The three core components you must have on your site are:
Keep it simple and to the point. Integrate clear calls-to-action.
2. About Us
Don’t ignore this section. Use it to tell people why you do what you do.
3. Contact Us
Personalize it. Avoid using only [email protected] addresses. People want to talk to a person, not just an email address.
A few points to keep in mind:
Have Coffee With Someone
The person you originally have coffee with is not usually going to be your future customer. Your customer will be someone referred to you from that initial contact. This comes back to the core message: if your message is less than 30 seconds and easy for others to understand, they are more inclined to pass on your information
Business Cards Are Still Being Used
People like them because they’re tangible. Although some have adopted the digital v-card, not everyone is there so do not throw those cards away just yet.
Many of these points may seem self-evident; however, many of them go over looked as people are too busy trying to keep up with the emerging trends and changes in digital marketing. As a successful entrepreneur himself, Mark provided the fundamentals needed to kick start any small business marketing strategy. “Success is measured in inches at a time, not miles” – Mark Evans
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