The beginning of any business is always a fast and furious dash to get the first sales, right? Well, yes and no. To start with, getting your early adopters and getting your first customers is critical, but that shouldn’t be your only focus. The very first steps are crucial because they set the tone for everything that comes after. In addition, the market research you do initially will help you make better decisions as you move forward. Here’s how to make your business successful from the very beginning or top of the funnel, if you prefer.
Define Your Ideal Customer
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What do they like?
- What kind of problems do they have that you can solve?
- What are their time constraints, their priorities, and their budget?
- What do they like in a business relationship?
- How can you reach them?
These are the questions you need to answer to make your marketing plan successful. And before you start creating marketing content, you must know precisely who you’re marketing to. Otherwise, your content will be scattered and unfocused. You’ll just be wasting time and money.
The kind of market research you do at the beginning of a business will make all the difference in the long run. It’s cheap and easy to do, giving you a massive advantage over your competitors.
Define Your Brand
- What kind of personality does your business have?
- What does your brand stand for?
- Who do you want to be as a brand?
The answers to these questions will help you create the tone of your marketing message. They will also help you decide how to present yourself on social media, describe yourself when doing interviews with the news, and talk about yourself when you’re on a conference call with investors.
The more consistent you are in your presentation, the more trustworthy you’ll be. Your customers will know what to expect from your business, and they’ll be able to identify you as an expert in your field. That’s what branding is all about.
Define Your Unique Selling Proposition
- What is your USP or unique selling proposition?
- What’s different about your business?
- What problems are you solving that nobody else can solve?
- What sets you apart in your industry?
- What will make you the one that people choose to do business with?
You should be able to answer these questions in a single sentence. Furthermore, that sentence should be so compelling that it makes people want to do business with you. When you have this, you’ll be able to use it in your marketing content. That way, every time customers hear about your business, they will have a clear picture of what your company does and why they should buy from you.
Define Your Brand Story
- What’s your brand story?
- How did you get started?
- Who are you as a person?
- Why did you start your business?
- What kind of business are you running and why?
This is part of the story you’ll be telling on social media and when you’re doing interviews with the press.
Defining your story will help you see where your business is headed. It will also give you a sense of direction. You’ll know what you stand for, your values, and what kind of business you want to run.
Define Your Marketing Goals
- What will success look like for your business?
- How much revenue do you want to bring in per month?
- What sort of profit margin do you want to see?
- How many customers do you want to have?
- What kind of growth do you want to see in the long run?
These are the kinds of things you should be thinking about when you set your marketing goals. Of course, you can constantly adjust them as your business evolves, but you need to know where you will stay on track. The more info you have about your marketing goals, the better you’ll be able to reach them.
Define Your Audience
- Who is your audience?
- What’s the age group?
- What’s the gender breakdown?
- What are their interests, their jobs, and their hobbies?
- What magazines do they read on the regular?
- Are there any blogs or podcasts that they regularly follow?
- What conferences do they attend?
- What media sources do they trust?
Once again, the more you know about who your customers are, the better you’ll be able to reach them. You don’t have to get this info from your customers. You can use social media to find out what your competitors’ customers like. You can also pay for market research if you feel like your business isn’t getting enough traffic. These people are most likely to become your customers, so it’s worth getting to know them as best as possible.
Define Your Pain Points
- What problems do your customers have?
- Why do they need your help?
- What are their most pressing concerns?
- What’s the one thing that keeps them up at night?
You can’t sell something to people if they don’t know they need it. So, the first step is to identify your customers’ pain points and help them solve those problems. People want solutions to their problems. That’s why they resort to the internet in the first place. They want answers – and you need to give them those answers before trying to get them to buy anything.
Define Your Marketing Channels
- What are your marketing channels?
- Which ones do you want to focus on?
- Which ones give you the best results?
- How are you going to reach your audience?
There are a lot of options when it comes to marketing channels. You can try SEO, social media, email marketing, advertising, affiliate programs, and much more. First, however, you must choose the ones that make the most sense for your business. The best way to do that is to look at what’s worked for other companies in your industry. This is also a great way to save time and money.
Define Your Key Performance Indicators
- What are your key performance indicators?
- Which ones are you going to focus on?
- How will you measure your business’s success?
The point of defining your KPIs is so that you can monitor them regularly. You want to know when your business is doing well and when it’s not doing well. And you want to know what it would be best if you did to improve the business.
You should also set goals for each KPI. For example, you may want to increase your conversion rate or get more people to subscribe to your blog.
If you’re an entrepreneur, hiring a team of at least two inbound marketing and sales professionals is a smart way to ensure that your startup has the right talent in place to survive and grow. However, these top-of-funnel strategies can help you get there if you’re not quite there yet.