If you need to hire a marketing agency to promote your startup, how do you choose one? Pick an agency that has a good process for coming up with a marketing strategy.
How do marketing agencies come up with marketing strategies? If a marketing agency is good at what they do, they will create a viable strategy and then come up with tactics to execute that strategy. If a marketing agency isn’t good at what they do, then they will leap straight into tactics.
Well before deciding how to reach customers for your business, an excellent marketing agency will identify a profitable niche, define your ideal customers, and come up with the best ways to reach them.
Defining a Niche
Defining the niche is fairly easy. It’s identifying the industry and then finding the best subsection of it that you should serve. For instance, if you’re a web developer, then your niche might be specializing in websites for entrepreneurs. You could then narrow that down to building websites for home-based solopreneurs.
Finding Your Ideal Customer
Identifying your ideal customer is a little more complicated. While it only takes one strategy session to come up with a target persona and develop a customer persona based on age, occupation, income level, and so on, how do you know if it’s accurate?
One way to find out is to test out your theory. An example will make this clearer. Suppose, for instance, that your business has developed a new pre-workout supplement. Your laboratory experiments show that it works on anyone who uses it. Your online survey data suggest that everybody who exercises would love to buy it. Since you can’t sell it to everyone, you need to narrow down your niche and identify your ideal customer.
One way to find out is to get a booth at a health-and-fitness trade show. Buy Gildan wholesale t-shirts in bulk and customize it with a fitness-oriented slogan, then use these as promotional giveaways to attract people to your booth. Besides the giveaways, give away product samples. See what types of people show up at your booth. Find ways to do quick interview them and follow up with online surveys.
You Might be Surprised at the Results
For instance, you might have imagined that your ideal customer would be a professional bodybuilder who works out in a gym twice a day for four to six days a week because they need plenty of energy to keep up with their demanding workout schedule. You chose this avatar because you fit this profile.
But you might discover that your fellow bodybuilders are not at all interested because they have become jaded to the idea of a “miracle” supplement since they are exposed to so many promotional offers from leading fitness companies.
Meanwhile, seniors, in particular men, doing calisthenics in their basement for only twenty minutes, three times a week have a keen interest in your pre-workout supplement.
Your follow-up survey might show that the people you thought would benefit the most didn’t even bother to try it while senior men not only tried it but loved it and want more as soon as possible.
Choosing Marketing Tactics
Once you’ve got clear on your niche and your customer avatar, you’re in a position to start adding marketing tactics. If you had simply chosen tactics before developing a clear strategy based on who to market to and how to find them, your marketing would have floundered.
When deciding on your marketing tactics, there are three big questions to ask:
- Should you market online or offline?
Is it better to reach your target audience through digital marketing methods or old-school methods? For instance, is it better to invest in a website and drive traffic to it from Facebook ads or is it better to write informative articles for newspapers and magazines? Usually, the answer is a little of both. Create low-cost online and offline tactics and then see what happens. You might find that one works far better than the other or that a combination creates the best results.
- How many tactics should you add?
Choose a small, manageable number. Usually, this is five or less. If you add too many techniques you’ll spread your time, money, energy, creativity, and analysis too thin. In short, you’ll become overwhelmed.
- Who are your competitors?
You will not be marketing in a void. You must know who else is in your market and what they are doing to attract customers. And you will have competitors even if your product is utterly unique—because other companies may be selling something similar or trying to fulfill the same market need.
In conclusion, work with a marketing agency that develops a great strategy based on a clearly-defined niche and a realistic customer avatar.