Entrepreneurs have so much energy that it can sometimes be difficult for them to figure out the best ways to connect with people through marketing. They might have 12 ideas in their head at any given time and plans for how to implement each one. And of course, they’re often itching to share all of this with potential clients and customers.
However, despite these good intentions, marketing strategy for entrepreneurs needs to be smooth and specific. It needs to have just enough panache to catch someone’s eye without being overly desperate.
If that weren’t enough, it also needs to take advantage of the communication tools that will deliver the message in just the right way. Joseph Ashford is a London-based entrepreneur and the founder and owner of K4 Global, a consulting firm for businesses and individuals. He knows just how difficult it can be for entrepreneurs to nail down an approach and implement it over the course of the year. To cut back on the indecision, here are his tips for navigating and mapping out your marketing goals for 2021.
Keep Up with Content
Content is still king right now with no signs of that changing any time soon. This general term can apply to anything from videos to blog articles to social media posts, but the idea is the same regardless of the medium an entrepreneur might choose: You are not trying to sell as much as you are educating and, ideally, speaking to your audience.
Entrepreneurs have to choose a unique selling point and work towards getting their demographic to understand and retain it. So, if you were marketing an automated car wash, you might highlight how the water streams are designed to clean the entire car while your competitors are constantly missing the trickier spots.
Keeping content fresh is by no means an easy task in 2021, but it’s one that you shouldn’t ignore. Whether you’re asking questions that spark open-ended discussions about current events or just giving people the savings they need to live a better life, entrepreneurs need to focus on what will resonate with an audience.
Formulate Your Strategy
Strategic marketing is all about thinking ahead of the game, both in the short and long term. So maybe you choose to scale your business in 2021, offering more goods or services to customers. In this case, you’d be implementing a horizontal strategy that can improve access to new markets and further differentiate your business from that of your competitors.
Or you might choose to focus on your production trail by putting yourself in control of the distribution. This is an example of vertical integration, one that can decrease costs, simplify the supply chain and give you more flexibility.
Regardless of what type of strategic marketing you choose, you’re showcasing how it helps the customer. Are you passing the savings along to the customer? Reducing inefficiencies with shipping and ordering? Giving your customers more options to get what they need?
When you make operational decisions in 2021, you should keep in mind how you can best tie these changes to your marketing communications.
One Eye on the Horizon
In business, you can’t always look ahead or behind, lest you forget what’s right in front of you. However, for 2021, you should be keeping your eye out for what’s next. Whether it’s a new social platform or a local event, the marketing trend for this year will be to keep up with the changing cultural zeitgeist. This is a continuing trend, and one that’s been the downfall of many companies.
Joseph Ashford has always known that innovation is the key to success, but the rate at which companies are expected to innovate has never been more demanding than today. With technology changing so quickly, it’s virtually impossible to shift at the same pace. However, those who can at least assess and evaluate integration will stand a better chance at impressing their audience.
Whereas traditional outbound marketing relied on reaching out to the masses and waiting for a response, inbound marketing is taking us closer to the ideal ratio: 1 to 1. Customers want to relate to companies on a personal level today. So instead of offering a two-for-one ice cream deal for a couple, you might offer a half-off deal for one ice cream to a single person.
Inbound marketing relies on specific content that takes into account the person behind the advertising. It also raises questions of privacy, but people are usually happy to part with important information if they think it will be used to their advantage and not the company’s. While many businesses are still light years away from doing this, fortune favours those who can strive towards this goal.
At K4 Global, Joseph Ashford has done much to increase transparency with his clients, giving them the information they need to understand his services (and where their money is really going). This is the Information Age, one in which people are paying attention to the details behind whom they choose to do business with. He’s speaking to his customers and not at them, taking his cues from them instead of working towards his own agenda.
Look to Niche Markets
Piggybacking off of inbound marketing, niche markets can be a great way to find new audiences and speak to their individuality. No one wants to own the same cookie-cutter things or have the same experiences all of the time. They’re looking for specific products and services that recognize who they are as a person.
Entrepreneurs should look at how they can customize their business by listening to feedback and trying to understand what’s motivating it. This is not a matter of simply giving in to every whim but discovering the more nuanced patterns that influence customer behaviour.
At K4, Joseph Ashford is highly attuned to finding the truths that are often buried beneath many layers of misunderstanding and misconceptions. It’s a delicate art that balances everything from listening to observational skills to drive to the heart of the matter.
You can see even the biggest companies starting to go after niche markets. Some 25 years ago, the vegan population was largely relegated to the sides menu at most restaurants. In some cases, they might not have any options at all! Today, big-name companies like Burger King are offering plant-based meat substitutes to lure in a whole new crowd.
Working in the New Landscape
If you’ve been relying on complicated packages when it comes to marketing your services, you might want to take a step back from this approach. The gig economy is on its way up for a reason. People only want to pay for the services they’re receiving, and they’re hesitant to make major commitments.
This is especially true when 2020 has taken uncertainty to a whole new level for many people. So, if you’re struggling with expansion, consider how you can market on a gig basis only. So, instead of asking people to commit to a month of services, they can sign up for a day just to get a sense of what you can do for them.
This new landscape has undoubtedly introduced plenty of questions about how and what to bill for, but entrepreneurs should keep this avenue open in 2021. It’s a great way to explore new ways to structure a company and land on a business model that works for you.
Going the Extra Mile
Joseph Ashford at K4 Global understands the pressure that entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. These trends may be challenging for entrepreneurs, but they’re also the best way to gain the traction and momentum needed to succeed. It’s not just the execution that’s important, but the planning that comes before it.