Growing your brand or startup is never easy, and you often need to do a lot of trial and error to get that perfect marketing formula that works for your business. Marketing is especially challenging for businesses that are just starting out as you don’t have access to the in-depth market research that corporations have.
Instead, it is best to start out promoting your business on a smaller scale – go local, or find your niche audience to capture your share of the market. While you don’t have the advantage of being in the business long enough to predict the market trends, conducting your own promotional research at this stage is less risky, and you can experiment with different methods.
Here are 5 tips to help you jumpstart your market research. Not only can these be done in a small-scale setting such as a launching startup, these can be made to fit micro and medium enterprises just as well. Refer back to these points when you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed with your business flow, and these are sure to help you get back on track!
Promotional products are always welcomed by a ready population of potential consumers. Promotional products may range from functional to decorative, although consumers tend to remember brands that gave out practical items instead. Generally, people love freebies, and these freebies help to ingrain your brand into the minds of consumers.
The benefits of promotional products should outweigh the costs of these giveaways. Not all promotional products are appropriate for your business, nor effective in getting your name out there. The best promotional items would be ones that are practical, functional, and appropriate for any audience: umbrellas, memo pads, and water bottles work great.
2.Online Content Marketing
In the age of digital marketing and virtual worlds, your online presence matters a lot when it comes to your branding. Companies are striving to make the next viral video, hashtag, and trend that they battle head to head with their competitors in social media. Online is also where brands grow their community as they engage with consumers.
Thankfully, social media isn’t costly. The most popular sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, allow users to make personal or business accounts for free, and Facebook has analytics so you can assess how your page is doing. Online content is increasingly important now, and making use of these platforms is no longer an option – it is a must for all brands!
Consistency is the key to creating proper branding plans. It doesn’t matter if you grab fame online, or continue to give out promotional items when your logo, color scheme, and theme change every week. Always be consistent with how you want to present your brand as consumers stay loyal to brands that have iconic themes.
Consistency in branding is what makes you immediately think of Coca-cola when you see a red soda can, even if the brand isn’t actually Coca-cola. Same goes for the golden arches of McDonald’s, and the hidden Mickeys for Disney. Consistent branding associates your business with a color, icon, or value that consumers are subliminally reminded by.
4.Target Audience vs. Actual Audience
There are times when the business needs to re-assess their target market based on their actual audience. This is especially true for most businesses geared towards kids, as kids do not have the buying power their parents do. In these cases, it is important to market not only to your target audience, but appeal to your actual audience as well.
This is why toy companies often show consumers their safety features and learning potential in their commercials even though children don’t truly understand them. These are for parents, the actual audience, to rest assured that their kids are playing with fun, safe, and educational toys. Many brands work the same way, and finding your audiences helps you to market efficiently.
5.Contests and Giveaways
Lastly, contests and giveaways are both liked and disliked by consumers. These are different from promotional giveaways as consumers will have to partake in a contest or competition to win a worthwhile prize, usually a free product or service from your business. These work well for small brands looking to increase their social media count.
However, these can go awry when the contest stipulations have loopholes. Study your market, look at the contests of other competitors, and do a private trial run before launching an online competition to avoid disputes. When done right, you’ll gain more followers, and put your brand out there in the minds of consumers!