Marketing is the soul of any business and if it is not done deliberately and effectively, the business will not succeed. It is also one of the most difficult aspects of business. Anyone can produce any product or start a trade or services business, however, getting customers and consumers to buy the product or services is not very easy.
I have been involved in several product developments over the years. Everyone in the team and the entrepreneur is excited during the production process, however, when it is time to sell the products to consumers, and things don’t turn out as expected, this excitement dwindles and turns to discouragement.
To convince the consumers and customers to leave the products of your competitors to buy your own products takes much effort and experience.
To succeed in marketing, you need to know the tips I will be sharing with you in this article.
What is Marketing ?
There are many definitions of marketing. However, simply put, marketing involves all processes carried out by an entrepreneur to attract, keep and continuously satisfy customers or consumers to buy or use his products and services.
16 Marketing tips for entrepreneurial success
1. Marketing should not be left to chance – It should be deliberate. Entrepreneurs who have succeeded in marketing didn’t achieve it without a deliberate and concerted approach.
If you are not achieving the right sales and patronage, it is possible that you are not giving the right attention to effective marketing. As an entrepreneur, begin to give more time and resources to marketing and you will see more positive results in your business.
2. Marketing should be the responsibility of every member of your team, not just for the marketing department – It is good to have a marketing department, but every member of your business should see themselves and act as marketers and brand ambassadors of your products.
All members of your team should have adequate information about your products and services and the benefits your products and services can give to the consumers.
They should be loyal to your products and company and be willing to defend and speak good about your products at all times.
When you recruit new employees to your firm, ensure to carry out adequate on boarding and orientation for the new staff so that they can be abreast with the company’s products and services.
3. As an entrepreneur you should be the chief marketing officer and chief brand ambassador of your company and products – The best person to market your products is you the entrepreneur and CEO of your business. You should use your products, you should talk about it anywhere you go, your business card should be always with you always, your car can be branded to bear your company details.
Everything about you as an entrepreneur should speak about your business and everywhere you find yourself should be an opportunity to publise your business and products.
4. Carry out market survey and develop annual marketing plan for your business – A market survey for your product should be done before you start a business or develop the product. This should be part of your business plan.
Also, for existing businesses, each year a marketing plan should be mapped out for your products. Your annual marketing plan should contain your marketing goals, strategies and budget for the year for your business.
5. Use multiple means to advertise your products – For your business to succeed, you need as much customers as possible. Various kinds of customers are attracted to your business through various means of advertisement and if you don’t incorporate the various means of advertisement you will not be able to reach out to those customers.
Incorporate as much avenues of advertisement as possible. Use the word of mouth, flyers, bill boards, radios, television, social media etc
I must stress that you should never forget to publicise your business online. This is very important in our digital world. The internet gives you the opportunity to reach thousands of people beyond geographical boundaries. Creating a website for your business is one way to do this.
Through a website, you can showcase your goods and services to the world and people can buy from your online shop without physically meeting with them.
6. Provide communication and feedback avenues for your customers and consumers – Your customers should have a medium where they can express their satisfaction and complaints regarding your products and services. You can do this by providing them with an online forum for your product reviews or by having dedicated customer care phone lines or email address for your customers.
If you don’t provide your customers with a medium for ventilating their satisfaction and complaints about your products to you, you won’t get the right feedback regarding your products so as to make the necessary improvements. Also, if you don’t address your customers complaints, they may discourage other consumers from buying and using your products.
7. Keep contacts details of you customers – When you have the phone numbers and email addresses of your customers, you can notify them by sms or email about new products and services. Doing this will encourage return purchases from them.
You customer list should contain the names ( optional ) and contact details ( phone and email address) of your customers. This list should be updated always to include new customers that you get.
Some customers may be reluctant to give you their phone numbers or email address but if they know that you are actually using the information for the purpose of notifying them about your new products and services, they will release the information to you.
8. Carry out periodic customers satisfaction surveys – Customers satisfaction surveys are ways by which you seek to know how your customers feel about your products and services. If helps you to know whether or not you are meeting their needs effectively.
You can do that by giving them a survey questionnaire to complete or send online surveys to them. There are several online survey platforms you can use. An example is the survey monkey.
9. Don’t produce or sell what you want, but what the customers or consumers want –This is what many startup entrepreneurs fail to understand. What really matter is not what you want but what your customers want and that should be your business focus. You are in business not for yourself but for your customers.
If you are going into trading, while starting out, don’t just go and buy large quantities of the goods you wish to sell. Instead buy small quantities of several related products so as to observe the goods that your customers like the most. After some period of observation, you can then buy more of such goods that your customers want.
10. As your business grows you should have a business development or marketing officer and a marketing team – The function of a business development officer is basically centred on effective marketing of company’s products and getting more business deals for the company.
The business development officer and the marketing team work together in developing and implementing effect marketing strategies for your business.
11. Develop a means of measuring your marketing progress – You should track how many customers that patronize your business by each means of advertisement. You can do this by finding out how your customers got to know about your business and products.
You should measure and track your percentage sales when you are implement a new means of advertisement. Tracking your marketing progress will help you to know your most effective marketing and advertising avenues. This will also help you to pay more attention to those marketing means that produce greater results.
12. Always appreciate your customers for their patronage – This is important. Thank your customers for buying from you. They could have as well bought from your competitors. Therefore, you should let them know that you are happy that they bought from you. This will encourage them to always buy from you. Saying, ” Thanks for your patronage ” to your customers does a lot of good to your business.
13. Give discounts to your customers – Find a way of encouraging your customers to buy more from you. Customers like discounts. Give price discounts, special offers and promotions from time to time.
You don’t lose when you give discounts. Instead you are sowing a seed for continuous patronage and increased sales.
14. Don’t argue with your customers – Listen to your customers and don’t argue with them. Hear them out first. Then explain your views to them in a good tone and language.
Argument doesn’t do you any good. It only makes you to lose your customers. Find a way of avoiding arguments when you don’t see eye to eye with your customers on a particular issue. Find a way of making them to see your view-point without raising your voice in argument.
15. Carry out product recall when necessary – No business is perfect and mistakes can happen. When you have failed to deliver on your promises to your customers, you need to apologize to them, recall the bad product and fix it for the customers or replace the bad product entirely.
Toyota has carried out product recalls several times involving thousands of cars they sold. This shows that they value their customers and this is one of the reasons they are among the best car makers and sellers in the world.
Several times I have seen small entrepreneurs that refuse to repair or replace a bad product returned by a customer. By doing this, they lose that customer and all other customers that the customer would have referred to them in the future.
Product recalls can be expensive to the entrepreneur but it is worth it in the long run. It builds customers confidence and loyalty to your company.
16. Always ensure your products are creating value – This is the last tip on the list but arguably the most important secret of marketing. People don’t buy your products because they like you, but because they feel that your products or services can give them the value and satisfaction they desire.
You can get someone to buy your product the first time, but what will determine if they would buy again from you or even refer others to you is if they derive the value or satisfaction they expected from your product.
Therefore, as an entrepreneur, always ask yourself, ” if I was to be in my prospective buyer’s shoes, would I buy the products I am selling? Also If I bought it the first time , would I be willing to buy it again”. This will always keep you focused on satisfying the needs of your customers and when you do this, you attract and keep customers because customers satisfaction is the bedrock of marketing.
As an entrepreneur try as much as possible to implement the tips outlined above in your business and you will watch your business grow more and more. There will be follow- up articles to this, because effective marketing is very vital to business success.
I have written a detailed guide on effective and strategic marketing in an e-book. The e-book contains everything you need to know about successful marketing. The Complete Marketing Guide – How to Market Any Product Like A Pro is one e-book about marketing that will give your business the needed growth and increase in revenue if you apply the information it contains. See how to get the e-book.
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