Step 4 – Getting Customers – Advertising (Marketing)

Business Planning Start-Up Guide

In the Star-Up Phase, you’ll implement what’s in this step, so plan it for real.  Also, this may be the MOST IMPORTANT step you’ll work through.  Gone are the days where you can simply put a sign out front or setup a web site and wait for customers.  You will have to hustle and scratch and paw your way to profitability; and you’ll use your brand and advertising to achieve this.

posters-pasted-on-posters_640Advertising Plan

Your ability to drum up new customers will make or break your business.  This is especially true during your first quarter and into your first year.  What we’ll outline here will be adjusted to your circumstances, as you better understand you customer.  The decisions you make will be critically important.  You’ll test and refine your techniques until you find what works for your business.

Online

If you are online, you’ll probably use Facebook and Google first.  Later you may expand you marketing with Bing, Yahoo, and affiliate marketing.  If you are a digital information marketer, you may want to consider affiliate marketing in the first round (it’s worth checking into).

Don’t just jump in with two feet.  Get a good book or take a training course that will tell you how this works.  If you don’t, I can assure you one thing:  You’ll waste your money and will be scared to use online advertising for awhile.  I’ve take Amy Porterfield’s, Facebook Marketing Profit Lab.  It cost $400 and was quite thorough.

I also recommend the Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords: How to Access 1 Billion People in 10 Minutes by Perry Marshall, MIke Rhodes, and Bryan Toodd, Entrepreneur Press (2014) for about $18 at Amazon.  I also suggest their companion book, Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising: How to Access 1 Billion Potential Customers in 10 Minutes by by Perry Marshall, Keith Krance, and Thomas Meloche, Entrepreneur Press (2015) for about $18 at Amazon.

Offline

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Off-line advertising.

You’ll use offline advertising if your research told you that your customers don’t first look online for your product or service.  I’m not sure what that would be, but it would likely be a specialty or a very local product or service niche.  Consider trade shows, local home and garden shows, newspapers, trade magazines, radio, and television.

I’ve done some radio and newspaper advertising and have gotten good response.  The cost per acquisition is usually less online.  Or at least, that has been my experience.  I cannot suggest a book on this subject, but I did an Amazon search for “offline advertising” and got some decent looking resources.

Direct to Customer

Some products or service marketing works best face-to-face.  Many multi-level marketing companies use this model a lot.  Avon (cosmetics) Scentsy (candle and gifts) are two good examples of relationship marketing.  I also know of a regional pesticide company that goes door to door; and most people have heard of AMWAY/Quixtar.

My brother has had success in the direct to customer. He sells specialty elk meat to resort areas and at farmer’s market within one state of Idaho.  The relationship marketing worked because he was face-to-face with the executive chefs and the local area customers (who like to buy local).

How Much?

We haven’t discussed the cost to advertise yet or your budget.  Start thinking now about this now.  In Phase III, you’ll have to come up with a budget.  Cost per click will first run you about $4 to $10 per click, depending on your industry.  On Facebook you can bring that down as you get a following (Likes).  If you do this wrong or do not set stop limits, you’ll blow through a lot of cash.  ad-special-offerSo, get a good book or at least read up on it on Facebook and Google.  Set a budget and don’t go over it.

On Google and Facebook, you can buy PPC (pay per click) or impressions.  You’ll probably want PPC but there are strategies for each.

Whatever you do, know what it is you are seeking.  If you sell on Amazon, they (my opinion) rank you on sales volume and star-ratings.  You’ll need at least 50 stars to really get traffic and traffic – which turns out to be a catch 22.  You can’t sell without but can see because you don’t have it.

Some Amazon sellers use various techniques to generate ratings and sales.  Among them are selling for cost or less, by using squeeze-page advertising and sending buyers to their Amazon page with a discount code.  Once Amazon start ranking them near the top, the stop the “sales” and sell for profit.

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