How to grow your business with marketing

What strategies are you using to grow your business? How are you reaching new customers and keeping up a rewarding relationship with existing clients? When was the last time you took a step back and refreshed your marketing strategy?

Marketing takes your business to the next level. If you have a solid foundation, quality products or services, and a strong team but are still struggling to see the return on effort you know your company deserves, you probably have a problem with your marketing strategy.

It’s not enough just to do marketing activities. Many professionals think of marketing in terms of Mad Men style ad campaigns, or maybe associate it with direct mailers, business cards, trade shows, or even a corporate website. However, if your marketing strategy isn’t integrated and up to date with current standards, it’s probably not working for you.

Here are five questions that can help you realign, refresh, and grow your business through effective marketing.

Who are your customers?

Start here. You have to know your customers to connect with them successfully.

If you’ve been operating for a while, you can use actual data to identify shared qualities in your most loyal and highly invested customers. If you’re just starting out, you can build a customer profile by studying competitor’s clients, brainstorming, and trial and error.

Where are they?

Once you’ve identified your customers–the people who offer the highest value return on investment–you use that profile to track down the places they spend time. Then you make sure you’re visible and accessible there.

If you’re a local business like a coffee shop, you would choose the right neighborhood and street-front based on your client profile. You might offer coupons or samples at community events or local shops.

Online, you can think of social media in similar terms. Your customers will spend more time on certain websites or apps, and on parts within those. Find a way to be present there, whether that’s to participate in the conversation, or using paid advertising to location- and interest-target people who share your ideal customer profile.

What do they want?

Marketing is more than simply being visible and accessible where your customers are. You want to appeal to them, to make an impression, and to build trust, authority, and loyalty.

You become a trusted, appreciated, memorable brand by meeting your customers’ needs. You need to do this at every level. Your service or product needs to please customers, and your other interactions, such as social media posts or paid advertising, also have to meet a need.

Start every campaign by asking yourself what’s in it for your customer, not just what you want out of it.

What are you good at?

Great marketing is wholistic. It’s completely integrated throughout your business.

That means it’s not enough to simply figure out who your customers are, where they spend time, and what they want. You have to be able to deliver what they want. Identify what you and your business excel at. Look for a niche that you can be the best in. If your customers don’t want what you excel at, you may want to revisit who your ideal customers are.

Is it working?

Finally, good marketing should be iterative and results-based. Some types of marketing are easier to associate with direct results than others.

Marketing expert Stan Gershengoren recommends direct response marketing to see the clear results of advertising efforts and investment. His Gershengoren tutorial videos offer more detail on how to get started.

It’s important to revisit your marketing strategy and investments regularly and make changes when necessary. Customer preferences change, technology changes, and channels change. Change with it or you will face diminishing returns on effort.

Marketing is less about a clever ad campaign (though they have their place) and more about understanding and meeting your customers’ needs. Put your customer first, know them in detail, and then strategically meet them where they are and provide what they want.