Even the most successful business will still do marketing.  For a business starting up, building momentum or wanting to expand, marketing is a mission critical activity.

When starting up or early in the life of the business, funds for marketing can be low, even non-existent so what is the best way to spend your marketing dollars?

Regardless of the type and extent of the marketing you want to do, the first thing is knowing who your ideal customer is – everything else flows from there.  If you know who that is, you then know how to pitch your product or service in a way they will relate to it.

You need to ask yourself some basic but fundamental questions about the ideal client gender, age, their location, disposable income, marital status, do they have children and/or pets.  Some industry experts suggest drawing a picture to have that client in your mind’s eye.  Dot points are also good if you don’t trust your drawing skills.

With a mental picture of your client established this will then enable you to imagine what they would do to find your product/service and what they would use to find you, such as the type of media they use and what keywords.  This is the start of putting your pitch together.

A business also needs to know its competitors and what your point of difference is, never bag the opposition but your message needs to be clear on why your business should be chosen.

When you know your ideal client and who else would be competing for their business you have a much better chance of selecting the right words to get the client’s attention because you are now more likely to understand why they would want to use your services.

cashflow-budgetYou should also know what their motivation is, what are their pain points, what their problem is, conversely what would make them happy and then formulate the solution you have for them.

Your pitch should be short, sweet and to the point, no-one has time for waffle or reading “war and peace”.

Understanding this demographic will also help to select which media is the best for your pitch and with social media so prominent as a marketing tool, the right choice can even be done for a low cost or even no cost.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest are all well-known and used successfully as marketing tools.  Facebook is still probably more favoured by younger generations; LinkedIn for business services; Pinterest and Instagram if your business lends itself to posting images and infographics.  The possibilities are varied and wide.

As a small business owner social media may be a daunting prospect but there are tools to make things much easier such as Hootsuite, where you can post on up to three media sites for free and automate the whole process.  You can even time posts to be done while you are sleeping or on holidays.

Email campaigns are another option and there are great online tools for doing these and again, under a specified number of email addresses these can also be free.  Sites such as MailChimp will also provide you with statistics so you have a good gauge of the interest in your campaign.  Statistics such as email opened, email bounces, click through to your website and so on.  All valuable information.

With social media and email make sure you are not a stalker.  No-one likes to be bombarded with “stuff” and having to wade through an inbox where most emails are a nuisance just ruins your day.

Successful marketing will pay dividends and create cash flow which no business can do without.