You don’t need to be a marketing guru or hire a top marketing agency to find success as a young entrepreneur. Right now, you already have all the tools you need to market your new small business like a pro!
For those who may not know, marketing is, “…the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (American Marketing Association)
In other words, it’s a lot of things all at once, with the result being that people know of your brand, are interested in learning more about it, and, once they do, want to buy it.
You’re exposed to marketing all the time. Think about the shoes you buy, the clothes you like to wear, the movies you see, and even the fast-food chains you prefer. Every time you give your money to a company (or your parents do it on your behalf), you are responding to marketing, whether you know it or not.
How can a bright young entrepreneur such as yourself get started in the world of marketing? Here are 9 easy tips!
1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
When you listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos, what ads are thrown your way? Do the ads ever seem like they were made just for you?
Advertisers, and the marketing agencies hired by companies to do their advertising for them, spend an enormous amount of money on something called marketing research. This research helps them position their ads in the best possible way to attract the attention of their most likely customers. You can either waste your time and energy jumping into the haystack to search for that needle, or you can invest in a giant magnet to help you zero in on it for quicker results.
As a young entrepreneur with a small business, your first job in marketing is to consider your “perfect” customer. How old are they? What do they do all day? What’s their favorite movie? Do they have kids? Are they a kid? When you know who your customer is, and what their habits and preferences are, you’ll know how to find them and market directly to them.
2. LEARN A LITTLE SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In normal people’s terms, this means your website and all related content contain keywords and phrases that are likely to be used by your target customers on search engines. There’s a whole science to this, but what it boils down to is organically inserting the most likely search words and phrases into your content as possible without being super obvious about it. This way, when your customers ask Google for, say, “Local handmade candles,” your business website will pop up as close to the top as possible.
Time to put it to good use! Create separate accounts for your business across the social media most likely to be used by your target demographics. (And yes, that means if you’re targeting Gen Xers for your babysitting business, you’ll need to get on Facebook.) Get on there, create regular posts that talk about your business and how great it is, use social media for promotions and special deals, and be responsive to your customers!
4. KNOW YOUR BRAND
Branding is a hot topic right now. Your company’s brand will be the first thing your potential customers hear about you. It’s the driving force behind maintaining quality customer relationships. Customers want to know who you are, what you’re selling, and – this part is the most important – how your product can make their lives better. Don’t be just any babysitter – be the sitter that every kid on your street begs for! The one who brings over the best books, has the best games, and leaves the parents feeling like their children are in safe, fun hands. That’s your brand. Highlight what makes your company unique and special when you create your marketing.
5. BE AUTHENTIC
People don’t like to feel as if they are being sold a product. They want personal relationships. This is where being authentic comes in.
When you market your small business, insert some of your awesome personality into it. Be specific to your field. If you’re starting a recycling program in your town, create a video on why you’re doing this and what it means to you for your program to succeed. Show your customers who you are so they know they can trust you. You are what makes your business special. Now’s your time to shine!
(Just remember to stay away from controversial topics like religion or politics and avoid using offensive language or too much slang.)
6. GET A HYPE SQUAD
“Word-of-mouth” advertising is basically free advertising. It’s when your customers are so delighted with your product or service that they tell others about it. They might post to their local Facebook group (see? This is why you need a FB page.) or tweet about it. Viral marketing is a form of word-of-mouth advertising. And marketing your business is one time you want to go viral! Consider setting up campaigns for your business that include discounts for clients who refer you to their friends. Or partner up with your fellow young entrepreneurs by referring one another to existing clients. You can even get your own brand ambassadors!
7. BE ENTERTAINING
Tell a story. Make a joke. Create a spectacle (within the law and without causing damage). Whatever it is, customers are more likely to pay attention when they’re entertained. Why do you think the Super Bowl ads are so popular? They’re not just 30-seconds of a droll voice telling you to buy product ABC. They’re 30-seconds of a story that makes you laugh, cry, feel good, or want to act. They’re clever, witty, and often surprising. Customers remember that.
Marketing your business shouldn’t take up all your time as a young entrepreneur. But it is important. Doing it right will yield positive results beyond your wildest dreams!
The Kantner Foundation offers college scholarships to young Florida entrepreneurs. Ready to learn more? Click here to see if you are eligible!