I get it. Marketing is not everyone’s cup of tea. When you first decided to start a business, it’s not what you imagined yourself doing. However, it is essential to your business’s success.
Here are five marketing skills that will take your business to the next level.
Know Your Marketing Strengths and Weaknesses
This is the single most important skill that all business owners should develop.
Notice that this article refers to skills at your disposal. It is not an article titled Marketing Skills that All Business Owners Need to Master.
While it would be great if you develop all the skills mentioned below, your time is more valuable than that. It’s not always in your business’s best interests for you to spend hours honing your marketing abilities. Instead, know your strengths and weaknesses. Once you know your weaknesses, you can then employee, hire or outsource to people who are strong in this area.
Does your strength for networking and speaking to people give you a good understanding of your ideal customer and their needs? Great! Use this when developing a marketing message. Do you find that you aren’t a very creative person and struggle to create a flyer or poster? That’s fine. Outsource this work to a graphic design company or another employee who has a knack for such things.
Provide Great Customer Service
I know this doesn’t seem like a “marketing skill” but trust me, it is.
Word of mouth referrals is a great way to get new clients or customers. Think about it. It costs your business very little (much cheaper than putting an ad in the local paper). You also need to spend less time building trust in your brand. A potential client is more likely to listen to a glowing recommendation from a friend then an online review from a stranger. They know and trust their friend. In turn, they’re going to feel that they can trust a brand that their friend recommends.
Providing great customer service is not that difficult to do either. It all comes down to your attitude and approach. Showing respect, interest in your client and a “can do” attitude can be the difference between a good review and a bad one. Show them your desire to help them with their problem.
Know your Ideal Customer
If you don’t have a good understanding of your prospective clients and what makes them tick, you can waste a lot of time with ineffective marketing campaigns.
Take the time to research. Understand who they are and what they are interested in. In particular, know what problems, pains or goals that they might have and how your products or services will help them. This information is can then be used as the foundation of all your marketing activities.
Once you know your ideal customer and how your products or services will solve their problems or help them reach their goals, you then need to communicate this to them.
It’s not enough to just describe your product or service. You also need to be able to show prospects how it is going to help them. This communication can be both written (the text on your website, flyers or emails or the words in your sales pitch) or visual (the underlying message your photos and graphics portrays to the prospect). As discussed in the first paragraph, if this is not your strength, you can delegate it to an employee or outsource it to a copywriter or graphic designer.
Know when to show your human side and know what is too much information
People like brands that they can relate to. Who are you more likely to trust:
- That big corporate international brand with hundreds of employees; or
- The local grocery store run by a family who has been in the area for years.
This is why sharing the human side of your business is powerful. It gives your customers a face (or faces) to associate with your brand. It can be done by featuring your employees on social media, sharing “behind the scenes” information, speaking in everyday language or sharing a joke on social media every Friday.
However, there is a limit to how much a business should share. What about announcing on Twitter that it’s an employee’s birthday? What about a photo of the boss’s kids? Where the line lies will depend on the type of business. For example, a public figure might find it acceptable to post a rant on Facebook about the latest political debate. However, for other businesses, this would be oversharing.
As a general rule, don’t share the mundane or negative things that happen in your personal life. Keep it professional and related to your business at all times.
These five skills are in no way an exhaustive list. Would you add anything else? If so, let us know in the comments below.