What is Marketing
Marketing helps you design your product offering and ideal clients as well as the message and mediums used to get in front of your ideal clients to help you then convert them into customers and grow your business.
Our marketing courses include training on all of these aspects of starting and growing your business.
Product Mix Development
Marketing is the process of defining the products and services that a business provides to its customers based on it’s understanding of the current market for its products and services. Defining products is one of the fundamental tasks for marketing managers and it’s a management role that is critical in the decision making process for a companies evolutionary strategy.
If the above paragraph seems a bit high brow it’s because we want to state how important marketing is in a business’s success. Marketing includes how you package the products that you sell, how you price them, and also the message that you want customers to hear and see about your products and services.
A simple bookkeeper may fruitlessly spend thousands of dollars promoting their services with the goal of earning $45 per hour, but if they spent time on their marketing strategy they would understand what a customer willing to pay this amount of money is looking for and promote that as their marketing message.
Once you’ve designed your product and service offering it’s a good time to come up with the message you want prospective customers to see.
For example if you operate a bookkeeping business from home you can promote that:
- You are a specialist in a medium sized accounting program like Netsuite or SAASU
- You are a specialist in the building industry
- You focus on payroll, superannuation etc
The Fixed Price Option
Another common message broadcast by many bookkeeping franchise groups is the concept of a fixed monthly fee for all your bookkeeping. This involves a bit more research into the size and circumstances of the bookkeepers customer, but removed the unknown cost risk associated with many services. Fixed price bookkeeping = zero risk for extra costs.
The Local Bookkeeper
Despite the growth in cloud accounting programs like Xero and SAASU, many businesses still want to find someone close to them – a local bookkeeper. If you want to promote your services to local businesses you’re message and medium will be local focussed.
Before the Internet the most common forms of media for advertising where:
- Direct Marketing – phone and post
- Print Media
With the exception of Direct Marketing most other options fitted into the mass media bag. You had to choose the publication, radio station or TV network that suited your target demographic and then just shout out for everyone to hear, then depending on the time of year, time of day and the correct allocation of mediums your results would vary and you’d need to try different mediums until you found the right mix.
Digital / Online Marketing Mediums
First there was email and websites – online brochures and a new way of reaching individual people. These methods are still the foundation for getting the right information to the right people and it’s common to see it in action via what the industry calls Squeeze Pages and AutoResponders. If you want to see an example of email marketing, we use it to promote our Microsoft Excel Courses.
Search Engine Marketing
20 years ago many small businesses focussed their “discovery” marketing in printed directory’s and guides. Yellow Pages was once a MASSIVE business because it was the chosen place to go and look for a product or service – and it was local (at least on a city-wide basis). Local newspapers were also a popular choice because they were even more local AND had a directory in the back of the paper where small business could promote their services regularly and cheaply.
The key word for this type of marketing is DISCOVERY because this medium of marketing involved being at the place where people go when they are LOOKING for the products or services your business provides. These days Search Engines like Google perform most of these functions, and to a far lesser extent Bing (Microsoft) and Yahoo.
Most people use keywords to find what they are looking for so Search Engine marketing is based around words – keywords, keyphrases and essentially content marketing. If search engine marketing is on your agenda there are essentially two ways to go about it:
- Content Marketing,
- Google Adwords
With search engine marketing you will spend much of your time initially discovering the keywords and phrases that are important for your business to be discovered. Then it will become your task to widen the number of keywords and improve your search engine ranking – that is become number one.
Social media takes the direct marketing approach even further by engaging with your customers directly or via online / digital communities. The systems used for this are Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google Plus. The reason everyone is talking about social media is because you get to ENGAGE with the most relevant demographics for your industry and receive recommendations (or Likes).
People will more often make a buying decision from friends and family who have experienced your businesses products and services so social media is becoming more and more important in all companies marketing medium choices.
Telemarketing is still often used to great effect when combined with a specialist offer that is new or relevant to the customer. The biggest obstacle in this approach is getting past the gatekeepers of the main decision makers. Social media tools are used a lot to find out the most appropriate person to speak with and you need to have a strategy after the call. These strategies include:
- A well crafted and focussed email message with a hook to make your prospect take action
- A simple yet professional brochure attachment, and
- A focussed landing page to entice your prospect to click
If you execute your telemarketing strategy successfully your prospect should then remain in your marketing sales funnel until they are ready to buy or at least sample your product.
You can send messages to prospects (once you know who they are) using traditional post – snail mail. With so much emphasis on digital marketing some companies are discovering tremendous success in getting results by sending letters in the mail. These tasks require the use of traditional office productivity software Word and Excel and the man hours to perform the printing, folding, inserting and mailing so be sure to factor these costs and the time involved as part of your cost for these services.
Australia Post is now a reasonably low cost alternative for businesses who want to get their message directly to customers in a specific area. For these tasks you’ll need a graphic designer and printer, then speak with Australia Post about their mailing options.
Business networking is the age old activity of going to an event – normally organised by a business chamber, council or specialty networking group – hearing someone speak and then meeting all of the other people at the event.
Networking can be the most effective way to get customers for professional service providers like accountants and bookkeepers, lawyers, real estate sales agents, graphic designers, photographers as well as trades people like builders, plumbers, electricians etc. A great feature of this marketing medium is that prospective customers get to know you and like you and if you do this well you’ll soon learn that the people you meet with will start introducing you to their other business contacts and friends – this is called Referral Marketing.
Marketing Course Outline
As part of this course you’ll work through and discover the most appropriate way to get to your ideal customer and as a result get many other customer in the process.
- 07 Marketing Action Plan
- 14 Networking and Referrals (in development)
- 08 Undertake Marketing Activities
Who is this course for?
This course is ideal for anyone wanting to start a consulting business, including virtual assistants, where they perform work using their knowledge, skills and experience.
Upon successful completion of this course you’ll receive a certificate and be registered as a Certified Australian Small Business.