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by Beth Jackson
on October 21, 2014

Marketing is one of the most important things you can do to make your business successful. In fact, we’d argue that no business is truly successful unless they do market themselves. The question is, what should you know about marketing before you get started? How do you start with Inbound Marketing or an SEO plan to help your business grow online? Today we’re going to talk about three steps you need to take before you start marketing your company on the Web!

Learn About Your Audience

The first and important step you need to take is to learn as much as you can about your online audience. The reason this is so important is because in order to properly market to a group of people, you need to know what kind of marketing works. For example, marketing your shoe company to people who only wear sandals isn’t a great idea. The best way to learn about your audience is to first define Buyer Personas.

Defining your Buyer Personas is a very important task and will help you through all the phases of marketing your business online. From creating specific types of content to where to place your business information online, all these items rely on knowing your target audience, or your Buyer Personas.

Who is your main buyer? What is his or her name? What do they like to do?
Example: Jane is a single Mom who is interested in helping her toddler learn the ABCs. She is tech savvy and works full time. She would like to find a solution that is easy to set up and use so her toddler can learn and play while she studies for her degree after work.
This is an example of a Buyer Persona that may fit a App company's target audience.
Who is your target audience?

A few ways to find your target audience is from looking through prior reports or historical data. The two most popular ways to determine your target audience is to use statistics from an analytics program like Google Analytics, and conducting polls and surveys to your existing customers. Analytics will get you data like which pages on your website are the most popular; while the data from polls and surveys will be helpful in determining what your audience (potential customers) care about.

Create Great Content

While creating great content is part of your marketing strategy (or at least it should be), you have to start off with at least some content before you start spending your money on marketing. Running an ad for your website or optimizing your website pages without products or content doesn’t make sense at all! You need to give your audience something to engage them or ask them to take action.

Likewise, if you’re going to start a blog for your website (and you should), you need to create a small amount of content in order to get started, and then you can establish a frequent posting schedule.

Know Your Budget

For small businesses, the budget is going to be the most important thing you need to pay attention to. Marketing costs can quickly get out of hand, so it is a great idea to have your budget in writing before you start any campaigns. You should also consider how much you want to increase your budget over time for marketing opportunities. Consider always putting a percentage of your earnings towards your marketing budget each month or year. That way as your revenue goes up, your marketing increases as well, but you’re always spending the same percentage so you don’t spend too much.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, marketing is very important, especially online marketing and SEO. Chances are your marketing will see its ups and downs. Start off with a great plan, target your Buyer Personas, create a budget and a baseline content strategy. The more prepared you are for your campaigns the better off you’ll be.

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