How to Market your Business

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By Femi Olu

If there’s one key skill that anyone interested in running their own business should have, it is marketing. In today’s world it is no longer enough to have a good product or idea in order to be successful, you must know how to market your product or idea. Let me explain by sharing a story with you.

Several years ago, I was alone at home with nothing to do so I turned on the TV and after going through several stations, I settled on a German television show, DW, airing on a local station, AIT. DW was essentially a car show, just like BBC’s Top Gear, that compares car models made by different manufacturers to each other.

This particular episode, however, they were comparing two recently released car models by Mercedes Benz and BMW. The two models were of the same product category –they were both salon cars. Both cars were taken through a series of tests to determine which car model was better. They looked at how effective their brakes were, they compared their airbags, torque, acceleration time etc. all in an effort to arrive at an objective judgment of which of the two models was better.

After the tests were concluded and the results came in, the BMW model was far superior and better than the Mercedes Benz model but–and this is where I was amazed–the Mercedes Benz model was not only priced higher than the BMW model, it was also outselling the BMW model. Despite the fact that BMW had a superior product, it wasn’t selling as well as the Mercedes Benz model.

The reason behind this is that even though Mercedes Benz had an inferior product compared to BMW’s, Mercedes Benz had a superior marketing and because of this, the Mercedes Benz car model was selling better than the BMW model. Over the years, Mercedes Benz’s marketing has been able to convince people that their cars are the best luxury cars available in the car industry. As a result, Mercedes Benz cars are some of the best-selling luxury cars in the world, regardless of how good their cars actually are.

However, BMW has since improved their marketing and are now outselling Mercedes Benz. As at last year, BMW was the number one selling car in the luxury car market in the world. The top 10 selling luxury cars in the world are:

10. Audi A4 (3,824 units sold)

9. Cadillac SRX (3,912 units sold)

8. Acura RDX (4,023 units sold)

7. BMW 5-Series (4,484 units sold)

6. Infiniti G (4,730 units sold)

5. Mercedes-Benz E-Class (5,181 units sold)

4. Lexus ES (5,680 units sold)

3. Mercedes-Benz C-Class (7,639 units sold)

2. Lexus RX (8,647 units sold)

1. BMW 3-series (10, 597 units sold)

The aim of all businesses is to sell a product or service but no matter how good your products or services are, if your marketing is poor, you won’t sell anything. This is even truer in today’s social media world where people are constantly being bombarded with messaging and information. To stand out, you need to have a marketing strategy that cuts through all the noise people are bombarded with and drive the sales of your business.

The aim of marketing is to drive sales. Marketing isn’t meant to amuse people, it isn’t meant to entertain people or even to go viral. If anything at all is to go viral, it should be sales; marketing is meant to make the sales of a business go ‘viral’

I want to share with you the fundamental ingredients your marketing strategy should have if you want your business to be successful in today’s social media world. For a marketing strategy to make a business’ sales go ‘viral’ it must contain some fundamental ingredients.

I don’t care what your business is selling or producing, if your marketing strategy isn’t built on this foundation, your business will sink, period. In order to build a good marketing strategy for your business, its foundations must be made up of AIDA.

Let me explain what the acronym AIDA stands for:

A is for ATTENTION

The people who need and want what your business has to offer are busy. They are busy with work, busy with their life, busy with their relationship, busy with paying their bills, busy with how to make money, busy with their health, busy with things you can’t even begin to imagine or understand. They don’t know or even care that you exist, and they don’t want to be distracted by another unnecessary marketing message.

To reach them, to pull them out of their busyness, you must know how to grab and keep their attention. By the way, peoples’ attention span is getting shorter and shorter these days so you must know the right way to quickly grab their attention.

Most marketers, especially bloggers, tend to use pictures of half-naked women and misleading headlines to grab attention. You’ll see this a lot on Facebook and on other adverts on the internet. It works in the short term but it isn’t an effective method of keeping or attracting customers.

Your marketing should include an element for grabbing the attention of the right kind of people (the people who want what your business has to offer) and retaining it long enough to pass your message across to them.

I is for INTEREST

After you have gotten peoples’ attention, you’ll quickly lose it if you don’t keep them interested. If your marketing message doesn’t interest people, they’ll quickly move on to something else. You have roughly 3 seconds to interest people or they’ll quickly move on to another thing competing with you for their attention.

Therefore to prevent this from happening to you, your marketing strategy must interest people and you can do this by making them realize what they stand to gain if they pay attention or what they stand to lose if they don’t pay attention.

D is for DESIRE

This comes after interest. You must know how to sufficiently arouse peoples’ desire in what you’re offering to them once you have their full attention. By using the right words and images, you must steadily increase the desire of people to get what it is your business has to offer or sell.

Your marketing must make people salivate over your offer. Your marketing must create within your potential customer a strong feeling of wanting to have what your business has to offer or sell.

A is for ACTION

Lastly, your marketing strategy should move people to take positive action to grab your offer. It should include in very clear terms how they can obtain the benefits and advantages your business has to offer them.

They should be no confusion of how people can get what you want to offer them. What they must do to get your business’ service or products must be crystal clear to even the dumbest person. It should not be confusing and over-intelligent. It must be positively and absolutely clear what steps people should take to get your offer.

If you are already running your own business or you have plans of doing so in the near future, these are the 4 basic elements your marketing must be built on. Remember, the aim of marketing is to sell and not to entertain people or win awards.

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