Een nieuw bedrijf starten is een beetje als verliefd worden
Iedereen die ooit een bedrijf is gestart kent het gevoel: de passie, het enthousiasme en de opwinding die ontstaan bij het starten van een nieuw bedrijf. De website die live gaat, nieuwe klanten, een nieuw team, een nieuwe kantoorruimte. Alles voelt nieuw en zelfs de meest alledaagse zaken voelen speciaal aan. Het is een beetje als verliefd zijn, energie in overvloed, volledige focus en alleen maar mogelijkheden.
Hopelijk gaat het nieuwe ondernemers in de liefde beter af, want zakelijke werkelijkheid is helaas minder rooskleurig. Slechts 25% van de startups overleeft de eerste 2 jaar en minder dan 2% viert een 10-jarig jubileum. Hoe komt dat nou eigenlijk?
Well, there are numerous of reasons: lack of competitor analysis, poor market research, overspending, understaffing, and then there is poor marketing. How can you expect anyone to do business with you if they don’t know what you sell, where you are, or who you are?
From my experience investing in numerous start-ups and scale-ups, we have listed 7 steps to follow to market your business effectively and successfully.
1. Find your target market:
First of all, you must decide whom you will want to sell your products or services to. In an ideal world, your brand would suit everybody, and the world would be your target market. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Therefore, you must split your target market into different segments. Start by casting the net wide, and then focus on more specific groups of individuals.
For instance, if you sell sportswear you can ask yourself the following questions: will you target women, men, or both? Will your proposition be aimed at the low end of the market or the high end? Can you make your target audience even more specific, such as middle-aged women that are into yoga with an average annual income of 50k?
By choosing the best target market for your product or service, you can construct your brand and marketing to cater specifically to their needs. That being said, don’t be so specific that you alienate a large portion of people that could benefit from your offering. Try and find a middle ground.
2. Don’t cut corners, do your market research:
Just because you think your target audience will love what you offer them, doesn’t mean that they will. Do your market research! Market research is a way of finding out if people want or need your products or services in their lives. If they don’t, you might want to think twice.
3. Learn from those who know, analyze your competitors:
Before you even think of your new, innovative business idea, you will mostly likely already have competitors out there doing the same thing. No worries! An excellent and well thought out marketing strategy will help to fend off those competitors and yes, even beat them.
Analyze your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Furthermore, compare those competitors to your brand: what is their target market? How are they trying to reach their target audience? Find strength in the flaws of your competitors and learn from their mistakes.
4. Challenge yourself! Set a SMART budget:
One of the biggest reason’s startups fail is because they are unable to budget their plans and consequently, they run out of money. As a new business, your potential customers are often not familiar with you, where they can find you and what you can do for them. Building a client base takes time, persistence and money. Lots of money. Including a marketing budget in your business plan is essential. If you are currently in the early stages of writing a business plan and securing funding for your startup, make sure you make an accurate estimation of your marketing costs. Marketing does not have to be expensive, and overspending kills startups like a plague. However, when you have decided on your marketing budget… double it!
5. Save money, creating your own marketing channels:
We live in an age where we have a huge amount of control over the information that we create and distribute. New businesses can utilize a large variety of social media platforms to leverage their messages very quickly and cost-effectively. You can save a large amount of your marketing budget by setting up social media profiles and create your own organic content to publish across these channels.
6. Choose the right platforms:
While creating content, you have to choose the most appropriate formats to deliver your message and entice your target audience. In the business I have invested in, I’ve seen stellar results from distributing blogs, videos, informative guides (i.e. tutorials), newsletters and webinars. And, although we don’t think about it too often, email is still a great tool for communicating with your audience. Try and focus on just a few of these options when you start out. A concentrated marketing effort across a few channels and mediums is better than a diluted outpour of content. In other words: specialize, concentrate and dominate.
7. Test, test, test and measure your efforts:
Once you’ve kickstarted your marketing campaign, you need to measure how effective it has been. If you don’t, you won’t be able to calculate the ROI for the time and money spent. You can use Google Analytics to measure the amount of web traffic that you receive and where it comes from. Take a look at your conversion rates and measure engagement on social media. For email campaigns, evaluate open rates, clicks, bounces, and unsubscribes. And finally, alter your marketing content based on your findings.
To summarize: find your target market, do your market research, set a budget, analyze competitors, then decide how you want to reach your potential customers, how you want to communicate with them, and finally evaluate their responses. There you go, the cheapest relationship counseling from us to you. Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to celebrate your 10-year business anniversary. Maybe still a little bit in love.