It’s a really simple question with an even simpler answer.
Q: When should my business start marketing itself?
It really isn’t possible to market your business “too soon.” If you’re lucky enough to be in the early stages of business development – before your business has launched – you’re just in time to market. If your business already exists? Implementing a strategic marketing plan should be one of your first priorities.
Marketing is the engine that drives your business. Without it, your customer pool could dry up and you’ll be reliant on factors outside of your control to bring in new sales. Taking charge of your marketing efforts means taking charge of the future of your business. Why not start sooner rather than later?
It’s critical to note that there are definitive stages to a marketing campaign. Of course, if your business hasn’t launched yet and you’re not actually ready to close sales, you should have a “Coming Soon!” sign out and a landing page on your website that updates visitors. That’s not really marketing, although it’s necessary. Marketing – the process of implementing a targeted strategy aimed at generating business – should begin the second you’re able to close a transaction, if not just before.
When deciding to begin a marketing campaign, consider when your customers make purchasing decisions. Entering their consciousness as early as possible during that process (i.e. when they’re researching technical solutions to their problem, but not yet narrowing down a branded product to buy) is your best shot at continuing a relationship as they make their way down the purchasing funnel.
Likewise, it’s important not to think of marketing as a one-time effort. Smart businesses market continually, building trust with consumers even between purchases. There’s a difference in “marketing” and “branding,” and the two terms work best in tandem. While marketing is the actual act of delivering a targeted message to an audience, branding is the process of building a relationship between the consumer and the business, led by the business itself.
Marketing isn’t something that just happens.
It’s something your business should be thinking about all the time, not just when sales are slow.
Does you need help figuring out how marketing fits into your small business plan? We’ve got your back. Creating workable marketing strategies for SMBs is what we do best. We know your customer and we understand your needs. It’s just what we do.