Every business is started by someone who knows how to do something.
- How to do taxes.
- How to do digital marketing.
- Create an accounting app.
- How to arrange and manage a wedding.
- How to build websites.
But marketing know-how is usually not included. Most business owners are good at what they do, but that doesn’t mean they know how to market their business.
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
You can be really good at what you do – but if nobody knows that, it doesn’t matter. Your business won’t survive.
Most business owners don’t think of themselves as marketers. They are too busy creating and building their product. And when they turn to marketing, it’s basically copying what they see or hear, working for the others.
Table of contents
- Copycat Marketing
- Ostrich Marketing
- How should I market my business?
- Follow the 3-step marketing process.
- 1. Identify your ideal customer
- 2. Create a core marketing message. (Offer)
- 3. Figure out where your customers are.
This is the MOST widely practiced form of marketing. A new cafe opens up and decides they have to do some marketing. They see a competitor using Facebook ads, and they do the EXACT same thing.
Don’t believe me? I challenge you to pick a business category and take a quick look at their ads. (You can use Facebook Ads library to browse ads)
Chances are the ads by different businesses are so similar, that the owners themselves wouldn’t be able to differentiate their own ad if the brand name were removed.
The problem with copycat marketing is that it brings a lot of problems.
First, no two businesses should market the same way. What works for one business, usually doesn’t work for the other. Second, copying someone else’s ineffective marketing is a recipe for failure.
Copycat marketing simply tells your prospects that you are the same as any other business in the market.
In my years of working with businesses, I’ve come across business owners who simply have no idea what to do with marketing, so they do the worse thing possible – nothing!
They stick their heads into the sand and hope that things would magically become better.
Obviously, you know what’s going to happen, if you do that.
How should I market my business?
So back to the title of this post. You might have unintentionally become a ‘Copycat Marketer’ when you started your business.
You observe what the market does and then decided that creating a Facebook page and setting up a website, is the most logical thing to do.
But that alone, won’t bring you, customers.
You could spend all day tuning your website, SEO, and posting social media posts – and no customers will come knocking on your door.
Follow the 3-step marketing process.
I’ll simplify how to market your business into 3 steps.
- Identify your ideal customer.
- Create a core marketing message. (your offer)
- Figure out where your ideal customers are.
1. Identify your ideal customer
Every good marketing starts with you identifying your ideal customer. Simply posting content on a Facebook page without addressing a persona, is like shouting your business offers at the side of a street.
Most business owners are taught to target their ideal customers by demographics.
- Marital status
I think starting with demographics is good. But you can’t stop there. To find your ideal customer, you need to go into psychographics.
Imagine your ideal customer is just sitting across from you right now.
- What do they want?
- What is their burning pain. (Problem)
- How do they usually buy things?
- What is the best way to communicate with them?
Here’s an example:
I’m a video editing & marketing company. My ideal customer is a service business owner with more than 10 employees and has no internal creative team. They have been in business for over 5 years and have done very little marketing. Due to the rise of social media, they have started to feel the pressure to do marketing on social media.
The biggest problem my ideal customer face is that they don’t have a marketing strategy, so they post random stuff on their Facebook page. They found it difficult to use social media to grow their business.
Now, they desperately want to take their business to the next level. The best way to reach this ideal customer is through running business workshops and getting referrals from other businesses.
See how much clearer it is now? Having an ideal customer profile will help you make better marketing and advertising decisions.
2. Create a core marketing message. (Offer)
It’s easier than ever to start a business these days. To be fair, business is no more than solving a problem in the market and having the courage to charge for it.
The best marketing has nothing to do with advertising, marketing funnels, social media, or websites.
Before any of these things, you need to communicate why your business is different from other businesses.
Why? Because in the eyes of your customers, they see one business essentially the same as the other – a commodity.
- Car workshop X is the same as Car workshop Z
- All property agents are the same.
- All website development agencies do the same thing.
So when your customers cannot identify a specific way your business is different, they default to the only thing they can measure – price.
That’s why so many businesses compete by price! When there are no sales, they reduce their prices and run sales campaigns.
You already know this – competing by price is the lousiest marketing strategy. Remember: There is always someone who is willing to go out of business faster than you.
How to create a differentiation. (aka a Unique-selling proposition)
There are many ways to create a differentiation in your business. It’s also possible you already have a unique selling proposition (USP) and just need to communicate it to your customers.
Here are some ways to create differentiation:
- Make a guarantee so strong, that nobody in your industry can do.
- Make a product so unique, that your business become known for it.
- Become the only dominant player in a specific niche. (A nice bonus to niching down is that you can charge more for specializing.)
Here’s an good differentiation example I saw on Instagram:
Instead of positioning herself as just a regular tattoo artist (commodity), Tong Yee (@greens_tattoo) decided to specialize in pet tattoos!
Now, where do you think pet lovers would go IF they wanted to get a pet tattoo? Also, do you think Tong Yee would be able to charge a premium for her services – being the dominant player in the niche? You bet.
3. Figure out where your customers are.
How would you market to your customer – if you don’t know where they are? Every marketer says, “TikTok is the best place to market right now!!”.
Really? If I am your ideal customer, you’ll never find me there.
Stop listening to biased marketers who tell you things from their limited worldview. The guy who only does Facebook ads will tell you your business future lies in Facebook ads. The girl who has 2 million followers on TikTok, will tell you dancing on TikTok is the only way to reach your customers.
“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
Instead, revisit the ideal customer profile you’ve identified – then figure out where they usually hang out at. If you don’t know – ask them!
Ultimately, ask some of these questions:
- Where do your ideal audience spend time at?
- Where do they get their source of information? (TV used to be the best avenue for marketing, before social media.)
- Who do they follow?
- Which community do they belong to?
- What events do they go to?
If you identified that your ideal customer spend time reading business magazines, like The Edge – then by all means, run ad advertisements on the magazine.
Find your first customer.
If you are setting up a new business or becoming a freelancer, I want to invite you to attend a live event that I have just set up: How to Find Your First Customer.
You will learn the exact tactics I use to get customers, without having to spend on Facebook ads or dancing like 16-year old on TikTok.