Regardless of your product or market, the one thing all businesses need is to be marketed. In my opinion, marketing is the number one area of expertise required to run a successful business. But what if you’re not an expert? What should you do to get customers through your door?
The following 5 steps take you through a simple example of marketing a new running shop. Although by no means exhaustive, it will help you get started or at least give you some marketing inspiration!
Step 1: Define Your Audience
Quickly write a profile of your audience. For example:
Men, women, and children who enjoy running as a sport. Aged between 15 to 80, they typically live within 20 miles of the shop and are either new to the sport or have been running for many years.
Next, describe the value you will be offering them i.e. why they would buy from you.
We offer equipment and apparel which will help them improve their running performance. We are different from other running shops because we offer advice and customized training plans whether you are a beginner or an expert.
By writing both of these statements it sets your focus and gives you clarity on who your customers are and what they are looking for.
Step 2: Write a Basic Marketing Plan
marketing plan, but you need clarity on where you are going and how you plan to get there. At the very least, list some clear, simple objectives; I would recommend using the SMART framework.
Once you have listed your objectives, take each one and write some bullet points on how you plan to achieve them. Here’s an example:
Turnover at least £5k in the first month of trading.
- Tell friends and family and ask them to spread the word
- Put up posters and banners at the local gym, running clubs, doctors and baby groups
- Enter and sponsor a team in the next local half marathon
- Run a promotional campaign so that the first 10 customers get a free running bottle
- Give some local runners free sponsored apparel to wear when training in the local area
Step 3: Start spreading the word
Most start-ups (and established business too) grow based on word of mouth and referrals; so don’t be shy in telling people about your new business, tell family and friends and get them to tell others too. It’s also really important that you give your new customers a good experience because they too will spread the word!
Step 4: Get Online
I don’t think any business can survive without an online presence. Read our article on setting up your website if you need help. You have a choice at this point, your website can be for information only and/or where customers can make a purchase. I always recommend that you write a blog on your chosen topic, this will help attract natural traffic and help build your image as more than just a shop!
Step 5: Be Resilient and Get Creative
You need to be resilient in marketing and be prepared that not everything will bring the return you expected, so keep your audience in mind, think like they do and get creative with your marketing.
Here are some ideas which might help spark creativity which is relevant to you!
- Introduce a loyalty card
- Do a classic leaflet drop in local shops, amenities and even though people’s door!
- Run a promotion such as a buy one get one half price
- Stand a shop board up outside
- Sponsor a local event
- Use yourself and car as a billboard; get a t-shirt made up and wear it out and about
- Take on a challenge which gets you exposure in the local press
- Run a competition to win a month’s supply of your product
- Send a monthly email newsletter or hotmail.com
- Get yourself set up on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and start promoting your business
- Do a sponsored skydive for charity
- Advertise in a topical magazine
- Advertise on Google Adwords
Starting your own business is a great thing to do. Make sure there is a demand for your product and work hard on getting the word out there. You don’t need a huge budget, but keep investing in marketing as your business grows; it shouldn’t ever be dropped from your to-do list!