As part of a special series we have partnered with The Six Day Business to help you start your brand. Read the Introduction and Part 1, 2 & 3 first. You’ll need a pen and paper to fill out this section. Each question has two parts – the description and the question that you need to answer.
DAY FOUR – MARKETING
Advertising is the price you pay for being unremarkable. – Jeff Bezos
Day Four is where you learn about marketing, and how it can make or break even the best businesses. We will explain in more detail about what a USP is, and how to craft your own.
Marketing is the process of educating consumers why they should choose your product or service over your competitors. It’s a simple definition, but crucial to the ongoing success of your business.
The goal of Day Four isn’t to create a complete marketing solution for your business. Instead it is to:
- Find out who else is in the market who does a similar thing (market research).
- Determine your Unique Selling Point (USP).
- Choose one online platform to display information about your business.
- Create content to explain your USP on your chosen platform.
This is our last day before we take your idea to market. We will build on ideas from previous days and refine further exactly what your business will be offering.4.1 – MARKET RESEARCH (INDUSTRY OVERVIEW)
Market research is finding gathering information about the market environment and what consumers want and need.
For every industry and product sector there are endless books and reports available. There is the danger of going down a rabbit hole with reading and research. Set yourself an hour or two to spend on this—you can always come back to it later and research in more depth.
Some of the questions you could answer:
4.2 – DETERMINING YOUR USP—WHY ARE YOU DIFFERENT?
Now we need to determine what makes you different—your USP. In Day One we quickly jotted down what you thought your USP is. Working through the previous three days should have given you more insight in to what makes you different.
Take a moment and review what you have written so far. Looking back at all three days will help you complete this stage. We want to communicate what makes you different in the market place, and why a customer would choose you over a competitor. Function, benefits and features are good starting points to find out what makes you different.
4.3 – WHERE SHOULD YOU COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS?
Next we need to decide how to package and present the features and benefits of your idea. In some cases great marketing can be more important than a great product.
Before you strive to have a Super Bowl Halftime slot, you might want to start with social media—it’s cheap and easy to get started. If used well social media can be ‘oxygen’ for any startup. It’s one of the best tools available for individuals and companies to put content in front of a wide audience. There are a few general things that can help you tremendously. In the market research section you would have seen your competitor’s online presence. What stood out? What would you like to replicate?
4.4 – CHOOSING A PLATFORM
After looking at accounts you like, it is time to choose one to post information about your business for potential customers. This is where you will direct potential customers in Day Five so that they can find out more about what you do.
There are a number of platforms out there where you can post content.
The most prolific accounts provide a steady stream of content, and have a recognisable style. You don’t need to post constantly but it’s a great opportunity to communicate what makes you different in a cost effective way.
This will be especially important if you decide to continue on with your idea when you are finished working through this book. If your customers expect you to deliver a consistent message online, then it is up to you to continue to do this. You may also decide that the best way to get customers is through referrals. If so, focus your attention there.
However you decide to take your idea to market, it is important to have some sort of online presence so that people can find out more about what you do.
4.5 – CREATING CONTENT
Now that you have chosen a platform to present yourself to the market you will need to choose what type of content you will need to create. Look back at Day Two—what elements did you create in Day Two that can be easily posted online?
There are a number of ways to demonstrate what you do:
- Posting images of your products/services.
- Sharing videos that introduce key parts of your business.
- Blogging about why you are different.
- Sharing other brand images to create the ‘look and feel’ of your business.
- Recording your music to share.
- Writing a brand manifesto.
Try to answer the question: “After I tell someone about my business, where can they find out more?”
You don’t have to stay with just one channel, but you want to put something somewhere for potential customers to visit after you have spoken to them.
4.6 – BARTERING
Bartering is exchanging goods or services without using money.
Bartering is incredibly useful in any early stage of a business. There are many services that you and your business can offer, in exchange for the services of others.
Most startups are not backed-up by limitless supplies of cash. Being smart about how you spend the money you have saved to start, and then initial cash flow, is crucial. You would be surprised how many services you can offer someone—both relevant to the business and otherwise.
Start by making a list of what you can offer a business or individual. For example:
- Make orders for “free”
- Make other items not in your offering
- Photoshop and retouch photos
- Build a website and upload products
- Introduce someone to somebody in my network
- Give out a “fidelity card” into your future business with freebies or discounts
- Hold a baking class for a small group
- Run errands and deliver groceries
- Offer to serve as a sales person at an event or pop-up
- Takeover a group activity or a chore for a preset time
- Do an activity I would do anyway for my business, but doing it for somebody else too
Now make a list of things that you might need and who you know that could help. For example:
- Promotion for my business- blogger, influential, another business etc.
- A customer database (relevant to me) from someone who targets the same clients, but not a competitor.
- Take photos of my business to post on social media channels.
- The name of a supplier or to help me with my manufacturing/development process.
- Somewhere to store my first manufacturing run.
- An introduction to somebody in their network.
- Entrance to an event.
- Give feedback and test my business.
Reach out to five of these people now and ask for what you want. Remember to explain what you can do for them.
AT THE END OF DAY FOUR
Day Four was about thinking, and then formulating how you present what you do. Now when someone asks “what does your business do” you’ll be able to answer concisely to explain who you are, what you do, and why you are different.
This will be key tomorrow so make sure that you can answer those questions fluently and with conviction.