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Many "influencers" and self-proclaimed guru on the internet want you to believe that marketing is the solution to all of your business problems. Unfortunately, the marketing industry is full of underqualified media buyers who are after your money because their "guru" told them they could make $ 10,000 a month by selling you ads on an open source platform.
These platforms are built with the ability to hyper-target who sees your ads and when. It allows you to place ads in front of a demographic of people who, based on their psychographic data (the advertising platform), could be your ideal customer and the hope is that you get leads.
In theory, this sounds like a magic pill … a panacea for all of your business problems, but it's not quite how the world of marketing works. The majority of prospects who will buy your product don't do it when they first see it.
Use these three marketing basics to guide your marketing decisions and create marketing campaigns that will turn customers into lifelong fans.
1. Marketing is about finding and understanding a market in need
Many marketing agencies want you to believe that your ideal customers are always on the platform they are best on when buying ads. That "Facebook has billions of users, so your ideal customer is definitely there." While it may be, many people ignore ads on Facebook and fear for their data and privacy. For many people who could be your ideal customer, clicking on Facebook ads isn't even a risk they want to take.
To find a market in need, here's what you need to do:
Understand who the ideal customer is for your product or service
Understand where these people spend their time and how they spend their money
Understand how to present educational content to these people to help them understand why you are the best option for them.
Marketing is not advertising. Make sure you understand the market before spending your money on advertising, assuming that it is a silver bullet for your business. See where your competitors are advertising and how they are doing it. Investigate where your customers spend their time and what their spending habits are. Research how they make their purchasing decisions. Use this information to develop a real marketing strategy instead of guessing and wasting your precious capital on guesswork and loose principles.
Related: How to Create a Marketing Plan
2. Marketing is about communicating with your potential customers
Marketing, more than anything else, is a communication process. Communication is about understanding each other's point of view, not telling the other party why you are right. Many companies will assume that marketing is about telling their customers exactly why they should buy their product or service … and it is, but it is about more. It's about communicating with your customers to ask what they want. It's about learning how to better serve them.
Once you've found your market, start looking for ways to communicate with them. This is a one-way street; Offer a lead magnet, ask for direct feedback on that lead magnet, and ask them how they would ideally see their problems resolved. As a company, use both means of communication, tell them about your offer and ask for their contribution.
The more you can show your customers that you care who they are and how they would like to be treated (within reason), the more you will earn their trust and word of mouth. Use the communication channels you need to gain valuable insights and information about your customers.
See your customers as people with real needs and real struggles. You need empathy. They're not just potential dollar signs. They are people who deserve to be seen, heard and appreciated. When you understand and do this, you will stand out from the crowd of other companies vying for their attention and money.
Similar: 3 Things Marketers Can Learn From The Media
3. Marketing is an educational process
Many marketing agencies want you to believe that just showing the right offer to your potential customers will get you leads. This is true, but a huge waste of marketing money and effort if you are not in a hot market. As entrepreneurs, we often don't sell a revolutionary product. We are able to take an existing product or service and make it a little better.
This is at the heart of entrepreneurship, doing things better … but it can make it harder to find a hot market than those who have a really revolutionary product. Entrepreneurs and companies compete for the attention of their customers and clients. Only when you have their attention can you earn their trust.
Consumers buy from people and companies they know, like, and trust. Just like you, it's hard to trust the stranger on the street trying to sell you … anything, so why would you expect you to be any different? Surely you would trust the food truck with great branding and a welcoming face if you were hungry and left the bar, right? You have researched and positioned yourself in a hot market with a professional presence.
Would you buy the same food from a stranger on the street with no food truck or professional presence after leaving Chipotle? Unlikely. But if they gave you a little flyer about who they are, why they do what they do, how they source all of their locally sourced ingredients, and how they give something back to the community, you'd be curious to check it out next time ? Chipotle? If you are the right prospect, the answer is yes.
If you're in the wrong market or missing the timing, it's unlikely that your customers will want to buy from you right now. That said, you can still explain to them why you might be a better choice next time.
Use training courses to bring your ideal customers closer to making a purchase decision. Do not throw your offer against them every time the opportunity presents itself. Spend time training your prospects and once they learn why it is beneficial for them to make a new choice.
Marketing is something that requires research, time, and understanding. It takes patience, compassion, and empathy. And it's not about forcing or wanting your product into the hands of your customers. It's about understanding what they really need and giving it to them in a way that they admire and respect. Use these basics to guide your next marketing campaign and see what new doors it will open for your business.
Related: 3 Tips for Mastering Storytelling as a Small Business Owner