How to promote my company - The 2 first principles you shouldn‘t ignore - Andre looking weirdly over his glasses and showing two fingers

How can I promote my small business – The 2 first principles you should never ignore

Getting your company out there is probably the most common problem faced by startups and small businesses. Even after years in the market, I keep asking myself that question and looking for sensible options.

Getting your company known is a cyclical process. It consists of the following steps: market analysis, setting marketing goals, planning and defining the marketing mix, implementing the measures and monitoring success.

The success of the measures depends above all on the ability to learn from the results and to design the marketing tools.

So you don’t have to be an expert to be successful. You have to continually improve. The following article is about what you should pay attention to in this marketing process and what you should avoid.

Marketing vs Sales

The main difference between marketing and sales is the way you approach customers. In marketing, many (mostly unknown) potential customers are addressed. A sales representative on the other hand is in direct contact with a single known prospect.

There are, of course, deeper definitions and distinctions, but for this article, that’s the key distinction we need.

So in that sense, I’m only referring to “promoting the company” in terms of marketing. The purpose, of course, is the eventual sale to the individual customer. But this is purely about the marketing part.

Imagine the sale of your product or service as a chain of several process steps. In the beginning there is „becoming known“, then comes „qualification of potential customers“ and finally „the sale“. All are independent stages that are based on the marketing funnel.

Marketing funnel
Marketing funnel

First principle: “Success depends on time and money”

That brings us to the first basic principle of marketing success. You can also see it as the basic rule of all success at the same time.

There is an inner connection between speed, costs and success.

Success vs. Costs vs. Speed First Principle visualised in triangle
Success vs. Costs vs. Speed

This relationship looks like this:

You can choose two of the properties and have to live with the third!

So you have the choice between

  1. Fast and successful, then you have to live with high costs!
  2. Successful and cheap, then it will take a very long time! or
  3. Fast and cheap, then you will not have lasting success!

You can believe what you want, now. That doesn’t change the fact that these three choices and their consequences exist. 🤓😩 So we can state:

Success usually depends on the investment of time and money. There is no shortcut!

Objective “Make the company known”

At its core, „getting more widely known“ is always an operational problem. Because it is something that you have to do every day. So, the best way to measure it is with goals and metrics that meet the S.M.A.R.T. rule.

Two of the most well-known and common objectives from this section are:

  • Increase brand awareness by “desired percentage” up to the “desired date”
  • Generate “desired number” of leads for sales by the “desired date”.

My personal favorite is the second goal because you “can’t buy anything” from the first and because it captures the whole marketing idea and carries it through to the end. Afterwards, the world of sales begins.

Eventually, you have to keep an eye on both. In the past, my experience has been that many people (including myself, unfortunately) rest on “raising awareness” and forget that it is necessary to sell.

In most cases, the original hope for increased sales is then reworded as “branding success”.

Metrics you should measure

Regardless of the channel and the medium, there are 2 important key figures in marketing.

  • Reach and
  • Frequency

Reach is the total number of people reached during a campaign. For example, for a local Facebook ad, the reach might be 30,000. More precisely, this means “30,000 people reached with at least one ad“.

Frequency measures the (average) number of ads we show to a person. So, if the same Facebook ad has a frequency of 2, this means that our target group has seen our ad 2 times on average.

The problem is: These two key indicators are connected to each other, namely via your budget.

Reach x Frequency = Budget

Normally, you cannot increase both, otherwise your budget will be exceeded!

A little tip: If you want to better assess your campaigns, you can compare them by dividing frequency by reach. Those will probably be very small numbers. However, the campaign with the highest value is likely to be your most successful.

Other characteristic indicators are often determined, which of course have their justification. In the field of social media, it is

  • clicks
  • comments
  • likes

and the like (😁 see what I did there?). With these, you can develop a feeling for whether your target group is moving through the funnel from the initial contact stage to interest. However, it is not a rule or even a law of nature that likes on a platform lead to purchases.

First principle “Frequency drives sales”

Most marketers who are new to marketing (and believe me, I know this from personal experience) follow the logic: “The higher my reach, the greater my potential sales success”.

THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS!

As a basic rule, you can state:

If you want sales, then increase the frequency!
If you want brand awareness, increase your reach!


Now, if you’re self-employed, have 0-3 employees and annual sales below €500,000, than (in my opinion) ignore the awareness idea, unless you’re swimming in money.

Small companies raise awareness through more customers!

So your focus and budget should go into contact frequency. Otherwise, you’ll become super famous, but your budget is gone before you can even think about selling.

You can find a good article on exactly this thought (that wasn‘t written by me) at Branding Strategy Insider.

Tools to promote a company

Please let me offer one final thought about the tools you need to be successful.

Now, I could go ahead and write:

“In the online area, you have blog/SEO and social media available. There is also traditional print media, flyers, posters and sponsoring…”

But what I see as real tools and kind of universal are the following things:

List of ideas

Create an idea list of things you want to try or that communicate something meaningful or valuable to your target audience. Regularly take an idea and exploit it.

I take 2-3 hours once a month and come up with new ideas for my topic. I then take one of these a week and create my content that way.

Marketing process

Build yourself a marketing process. In my experience, that has to be the top priority.

The great advantage of such a process is that it leads to sales in a repeatable and predictable manner.

I’ve explained the idea in more detail. In my article “New customer acquisition – you don’t need any tips. You need a system.” There, I will show you how you can set up such a system.

Experiments

The last tool is a small experiments list. Don’t just read online what anyone believes or doesn’t believe works well in marketing. Try it!

Have you ever handed out 5,000 flyers and tried to see if something happened? I’ve tried this more than once. In my first trade, it was not successful at all. In my second business, it actually led to reliable sales.

The same applies to all social media platforms, website, ads in all media and whatever else there is.

Just don’t do everything at once. I undertake one experiment per year, sometimes every six months.

These were my thoughts on „how to promote your company”. There is one small special case that I would like to address, namely “What do you do when no customers come?”. Behind the link, you will find my thoughts on this very specific case. There, I’ll go into more detail regarding the experiments I just mentioned, along with 15 areas in which you can implement them.

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