If you’re looking for a complete guide on marketing 101 and how you can use these marketing strategies for your business, then you’re in luck!
Because today, we’re excited to give you an introduction to the wonderful world of marketing.
- The marketing mix is the bedrock foundation of all marketing efforts; each should be considered as you create your marketing 101 strategy.
- Digital marketing is the new traditional marketing, especially for small businesses.
- Sometimes your marketing strategy doesn’t work, and that’s okay, you reevaluate, readjust, and do it again until something does work!
What Is Marketing 101? The Marketing Mix
Before we get into more marketing specifics, like types of marketing strategies, let’s check in with the basics.
If you’re like us, you probably thought that marketing is just the advertising part, like the copywriting, the graphics, the campaigns.
You probably have a vision of Don Draper pitching an idea to a room full of suits sitting around a table.
Honestly, the Kodak Carousel pitch lives in our mind rent-free, but let’s get back on topic!
The advertising part is one of the last pieces of the puzzle, in actuality.
Let’s look at the foundation of marketing a physical product, which uses the 4 Ps:
You probably started thinking about your product before you filled out forms to make your business official.
Your product is whatever product, item, or service you’re providing.
This would include any enhancements to existing products, like version updates in apps or improvements in product design.
Your branding falls under this category too, because it includes things like packaging and labels.
This refers to where folks buy or interact with your product.
Do you have a store? What are your online channels?
Do you need to be in specific places in person or online to reach the right people?
This one’s pretty self-explanatory.
What is the value of your product or service?
Do you have established price points? What discounts can you give? Are your customers sensitive to changes in pricing?
This is what most people think of when they think marketing.
This is getting the message out to your audience.
Is there seasonality to your business? When is the best time to promote?
What do your competitors’ promotions look like?
Three more Ps were added in 2017 by Dave Chaffey, and they address the increasing prevalence of service and experience-based marketing:
Your initial thought may be that this refers to who you’ll be targeting.
But this foundational principle actually applies to people in the business, which means anyone who interacts with customers in any way.
This includes your company culture, which you can weave into every facet of your marketing efforts.
This is how your product, service, or experience is delivered to your customer.
And it’s an important piece of the puzzle.
This includes response times to comments, emails, and calls. As well as how your team handles any customer conflicts, complaints, or issues.
This refers to the sensorial experience of your audience when they interact with your brand or product.
It includes packaging, physical space, of course, and in-store displays, but also includes smells associated with your brand.
Remember walking past Abercrombie and Fitch on a Friday night with your friends? We bet you can smell it right now.
And it also includes things like user stories and recommendations from others.
Good or bad, physical evidence affects your customer’s opinion of the product, service, or experience, and can either encourage or prevent a repeat purchase.
The marketing mix is the bedrock foundation of all marketing efforts.
Whether you’re conscious of it or not, each should be considered as you create your marketing 101 strategy.
Are These 7 Ps Even Relevant In Marketing 101?
We’re so glad you asked.
We wanted to cover the 7 Ps first because these all work together to decide whether your promotion phase will be successful or not.
We’ve found that many small businesses focus so much attention on what’s not working in promotion…
…that they forget that there are other categories that could be holding the ads back.
That’s why this foundational piece is so important in marketing 101.
Sometimes you’ll have to look candidly at your product, or offer, or price and say, “this needs to be improved so my ads can perform better.”
So now that you understand the foundation of marketing 101, let’s talk about marketing strategies.
Marketing 101: Steps On How To Develop A Marketing Strategy
Step 1: Developing a Marketing Strategy
In marketing 101, you need a good strategy to be able to:
- figure out your messaging,
- choose where you’ll promote your products, services, or experiences, and
- identify the right audience for you.
When developing your strategy, you’ll ask yourself a few questions such as:
- Who is your target market?
- What do you want that audience to do?
- How will you get them to take that action?
2. Researching Your Target Market
If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably have a good idea of who buys from you.
Or maybe you don’t and you’ve just gotten lucky so far. Or, you know you’re close to the right audience but just can’t quite nail it.
Or maybe you’re a new business and you really have no idea where to start. Let’s get into how to research your target market.
3. Create a Buyer Persona
It’s okay (and perfectly normal) if your buyer persona changes over time, or isn’t quite right to start off with.
The goal here isn’t to create the perfect buyer persona on the first go, but just to help you get started with identifying your target market.
You’ll answer the basic questions such as:
- Who are they?
- What are they in need of?
- Where do they hang out in person and online?
- When do they need to make this decision?
- Why are they looking for my product, service, or experience?
But don’t stop there, because that’s not enough information to go on.
These customer personas will be used to help you target your promotions to the right people and craft a marketing mix that’s perfect for them.
So, you’ll also want to include answers to each of these bullets as well:
- Gender identity – What is their gender identity?
- Personality – What are they like? What are they into?
- Family life – What is their relationship status? Are they parents?
- Job title – What is their job title?
- Job function – What is their role?
- Employer – Who do they work for?
- Location – Where do they live?
- Income – How much money do they make?
- Needs – What are their specific needs?
- Pain points – What frustrates them? What will lead them to your product?
- Challenges – What could be some reasons they won’t buy from you? In what ways might they be hesitant to make this purchase?
Some of this may not feel applicable to you though.
But creating a whole person to market to, instead of a nameless mass of people, will help you find that target market much more quickly and easily.
You’ll be able to better get your messaging figured out this way.
4. SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
It’s a self-evaluation tool for your business that will not only help you identify any weaknesses in your product or service…
…but will also help you identify the areas where your business stands out from the others.
It’s helpful to use a SWOT analysis along with the Customer Persona to figure out…
- what your customer needs, and
- how your business can (or can’t) help with that need.
Sometimes a SWOT analysis reveals a huge gap in your product, and that’s a good thing!
Use it to improve your offering, because this too will improve your campaign effectiveness.
Here’s a quick walk-through of how to do a SWOT Analysis.
1. Grab a piece of paper or open a new document on your computer, and make a 2×2 grid like this.
2. From top to bottom, left to right, label each box in this order: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, and Threats.
3. In the Strengths section, you’ll write out anything that your company does well.
Maybe your customer service is 5-star every time, or maybe you’re the only business that uses a certain material.
Include in this list the resources that you have. This could be access to tools, materials, people, etc.
4. In the Weaknesses section, you’ll write out anything that your company needs to improve upon.
Maybe you have trouble keeping the warehouse fully staffed, so you’re always backed up on order.
Or, you had a shipment delay due to COVID and didn’t handle the customer response well.
Be honest with yourself here. Include areas where you may be lacking resources.
5. In the Opportunity section, you’ll jot down possible positive changes in the market, tech trends, or developments that you can take advantage of.
Do you sell craft supplies for an obscure craft that’s gaining in popularity? List out how you can use current trends for the benefit of your business.
6. In the Threats section, you’ll put down anything that could result in negative changes or problems that may arise.
This can be anything from supply chain issues, to lockdown restrictions (if you’re a physical store), or a shortage of workers.
We like to spend a couple of days revisiting each SWOT Analysis that we complete.
And, we typically brainstorm with others so we can get fresh perspectives and hear experiences and feedback that we may not have heard or experienced.
Types Of Promotion: Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing
When you think of traditional marketing, you’re probably thinking of…
- television commercials and on-air product placements,
- magazine ads,
- billboards, and
When digital marketing took hold, it was a separate thing entirely.
You had traditional marketing separated from digital marketing in a lot of companies.
And they had different goals, different strategies, and different audiences.
But that was then.
Now it’s 2022 and there’s no distinction for most millennials and younger folks between “traditional” and digital marketing.
We’ve spent most of our lives online; our digital worlds ARE our traditional worlds.
Digital marketing is the new traditional marketing, especially for small businesses.
It’s much less expensive for you to reach your audience online than it is to send out mailers or buy that billboard.
In fact, here’s a fun story for you.
When LYFE Marketing was a new business over a decade ago, we wanted to get the word out in Atlanta and find clients we could help!
So, what did we do? We bought a billboard right next to the freeway that millions of people see every day.
And our phone was ringing off the hook! It was wild.
LYFE was shooing people away, there were mobs of interested small businesses. It was like Beatlemania all over again.
Not really. LYFE went to all the expense and hassle to put up a great billboard and guess what?
NO ONE called us. Not one person. Not. One.
But once we nailed our ads on Google and social media, things changed.
We share that story to illustrate a couple of points:
Sometimes your marketing strategy doesn’t work, and that’s okay.
You reevaluate, readjust, and do it again until something does work!
“Traditional” marketing is dead.
If you want to learn more about this topic- digital marketing vs traditional marketing, be sure to read this post next.
Within the promotion side of marketing, there are a ton of fun ways to get the word out. So let’s talk about promotion!
Marketing 101: Five Ways To Promote Your Business
1. Content Marketing
What is content marketing? It’s marketing to your audience using content.
Typically, this is a much softer sell. You’re giving free content in the form of advice or tutorials, resources and tools, or entertainment and connection.
Through that, you establish your expertise and become a trusted resource.
When your audience wants to buy or try what you sell or do, they’ll think of you first.
The majority of today’s marketing IS content marketing, so this is actually a big umbrella category.
Does it work for small businesses? Yes!
Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, and it generates more than three times as many leads.
Although it takes some time and effort, of course.
But, it’s especially great if you don’t have a huge budget, and when you do have money to spend promoting, you get more bang for your buck.
Here’s how we like to teach our clients to maximize the content they produce:
a. Write a long blog post, article, essay, or video script (10 pages plus). Focus on the quality of content and the accuracy of your statements.
b. Take each section of that long article, and then pull out 5 or 6 quotes, stats, lists, or anything else that will be interesting or helpful for your audience.
c. Use these to create the following content:
- Short-form videos for TikTok, Reels, and Stories.
This can be either you talking to the camera or a combo of text and stock footage with music or a voiceover.
- Long-form videos for YouTube and other networks
- eBooks, checklists, or tutorials that you can give out as a freebie
You’ve done the majority of the work when you wrote out all of your content.
That seems like a TON of work, but you can outsource graphics creation and even video if that’s not something you have time for.
You don’t have to do it all by yourself.
Try content marketing today. It’s so easy, we’re actually doing it right now!
2. Email Marketing
What is email marketing? It’s using email to market to your audience.
If you haven’t started building an email list, you need to make that a top priority.
Many small businesses assume email marketing is dead because of how old email is.
But, it’s still outpacing social media networks, and is expected to continue growing and performing at this rate.
Does it work for small businesses? Yes!
For every $1 you spend on email, you can expect $42 back.
In fact, ⅓ of marketers say it’s the best tool for driving a good ROI (return on investment).
If you haven’t started with email yet, here are some of the best email marketing platforms.
But note that this list is in no way exhaustive, so shop around until you find something you like.
- Constant Contact
- Active Campaign
3. Social Media Marketing
What is social media marketing? Social media marketing is, you guessed it, using social media platforms to market to your audience.
Does it work for small businesses? Yes!
Social media is a great place to really focus on building those relationships with customers.
You’ll be sharing valuable content (aka content marketing), and interacting with users as they engage.
Your audience is ON social media and your potential reach is billions of people.
You have organic and paid options on social, so if you don’t have money, you can still make it work.
However, a small business advertising budget of even just $500 can do wonders for your business on social.
When you’re marketing on social media, don’t get lost in the fun stuff.
You still want to focus on getting people to take action and make purchases,
So be sure to…
- drive traffic back to your website,
- upload your product catalog to platforms that allow shopping in-app,
- use lead generation to collect email addresses for your email marketing,
…and be patient!
We recommend starting on one or two platforms, max, if you’re new, rather than diving into everything all at once.
It will be a LOT, and you don’t want to get so overwhelmed that you give up.
You can also consider hiring a social media management company like LYFE Marketing.
4. Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing refers to any marketing you do that involves being found and engaged with on search engines.
What search engine marketing REALLY is, though, is ensuring your content marketing can be found.
When we talk about search engine marketing, we’re referring to SEO or Search Engine Optimization.
This is the process of adding relevant keywords to your website in order for that page to show in search results.
Just like with social, there are organic and paid options in search engine marketing.
We refer to the paid options as PPC or pay per click.
Does search engine marketing work for small businesses? You guessed it right… yes!
We’re sure you know where to do search engine marketing; Google.
But did you know that Pinterest is also a search engine? It’s true!
Pinterest is a visual search engine and is a powerful marketing tool for your business. So, we recommend joining both platforms.
5. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing relies on the recommendations of celebrities, experts, or folks with a dedicated following to promote your products.
Does influencer marketing work for small businesses? The answer again, is yes, but with a caveat.
Influencer marketing can be ridiculously expensive, especially if you want a celebrity or an influencer with millions of followers.
And even then, we’ve seen influencer campaigns go bad quickly.
But, 89% of marketers say they get the same or better return using influencer marketing as with other marketing types.
What you want to focus on is micro-influencers. These are people who have between 1,000 to 1 million followers.
Typically, these influencers are much more affordable, and have more engaged audiences, returning better results for you.
You can find reputable influencer marketing platforms that will match you up to the right influencers and facilitate your relationship with them.
Final Takeaways On Marketing 101
So that’s it!
We hope this post helped you understand the fundamentals of marketing 101 a little bit better, and gave you some ideas for your own small business.
If you’re just getting started, it can honestly be overwhelming.
So whenever you’re feeling frustrated, take a step back and look at how far you’ve come.
Your goal is not perfection. It’s progress.
You’ll learn more as you go and your marketing efforts will get better over time.
Keep trying, keep learning, and stick with us at LYFE Marketing so we can help you along the way.
And if you’re looking for affordable digital marketing services, then look no further. Talk to us today!