10 Things to do to Start Marketing Your Business
If you’ve just started your business in Malaysia, welcome to the world of business. You’ve just joined the estimated 1.2 million SMEs in Malaysia as reported by the Department of Statistics, Malaysia (DOSM).
The next few steps will help you bring your business to the next level but bear in mind that this WILL take some time. Sit down and put your thinking caps on to develop a strategy. The first step is to understand the market you’re in and the potential customers’ needs.
There are no two ways about it.
1 - Competitor Research & Understanding Your Customers
Let’s start with understanding your customers. The purpose of your marketing strategy is to discover how and what your customers are thinking, their buying behaviours, locations, their pain points, and trends.
As for your competitors, what you want to know is who are your direct and indirect competitors, what are their USPs (Unique Selling Propositions, are they targeting the same customers you are, and how can you make your business offerings better or more affordable or more attractive?
Find out what they’re doing behind the scenes or the ads they’re placing or the partners they are working with. Is it working?
You can conduct the research in various ways:
Asking your friends, family, business partners and acquaintances
Conduct offline and online surveys
Initiate face-to-face interviews with potential customers
Develop a focus group
Gather customer feedback from online channels like Linkedin and Facebook
Give out quick questionnaires
With the information about both your customers and competitors, you will be in a better position to identify underserved markets, find new business opportunities, dive into market trends, or increase levels of education.
2 - Create Your Customer Personas Based on the Profile of Your Target Market
Unless your products or services are suitable for the general market, you need to profile your target markets. Promoting your products and services to EVERYONE can be costly.
If you speak to professional business marketers, you’ll see that they would often gather information on your offerings and start grouping and segmenting your potential customers based on characteristics and behaviours. This is so that every marketing effort you make will be more effective.
So, how do we segmentize our target markets?
It is often based on
Where do they live, including cities, states, countries, and regions?
Where do they work and what is their likely lifestyle of occupation?
Gender, age, level of education, income, family profile
What kind of problem would your products and services solve for the target market?
What appeals to them when they are considering purchasing your product or using your services?
Will your brand stand out to them? After using your products or services, what will make them come back for more?
How does your target market find out about you and what kind of information are they looking for during the decision-making process?
Lifestyle and values will also affect how you market to your customers. What is important to them? What are their core values?
What are their likely hobbies and interests?
Are they married? Do they have children or pets?
3 - Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Let’s get honest about USPs - it is the very reason why your customers are buying from you and not your competitors. With the internet, customers are always either searching reviews on the internet, surfing through social media, or researching online.
If your customers become repeat customers, CONGRATULATIONS! You’re doing it right.
Bear in mind that from time to time, your customers will follow trends or offerings by other companies. So, you will need to continuously watch what your customers and competitors are doing.
You can start with asking yourself the following questions as a person, not as the owner of your business:
What do you personally love most about your products and services?
What special service or skill do you have that you think your customers like about you?
Why do you think your customers like you better than your competitors?
How do you think your customers benefited from using your products and services?
Let’s not forget that knowing your company’s weaknesses is also a crucial part of helping your business improve, create a better brand, and retain customers. Every business has weaknesses; you must be aware of them to come up with a strategy to overcome them.
4 - Pick Your Marketing Channels
When picking the right avenue to promote your business, you must first find out where your customers gather information. Most people are online but based on a 2019 finding, Malaysians are still a little behind when it comes to digital marketing.
It was found that SMEs in Malaysia have yet to aggressively and confidently advertise and promote their products and services online.
Most of them are still depending on the more traditional approach to promoting their businesses. The only explanation for this would be that about 80% of SMEs are still doing traditional business…and this statistic was pulled up from pre-pandemic days.
If most of your customers are offline and are not familiar with digital marketing or using digital tools, stick to that.
Networking with others actively and distributing your business cards whenever possible
Give out gift certificates or discount coupons
Giving out novelty gifts
Speak at big events to gain credibility and increase brand awareness
Conduct interviews with traditional print publications
Make cold calls to potential customers
Participate in trade shows
Revamp your product packaging
Hand or send out brochures or flyers to groups of potential customers
You can mix and match your marketing efforts with digital marketing. Many companies continue to do the same because they have customers on both ends of the spectrum.
The most effective ways to market your business digitally include:
Having a website that ranks well on search engines
Up-to-Date social media profiles that engage customers
Being on messaging apps to quickly keep in touch with or answer questions from your customers
Webinars and online LIVE events that give customers an insight into the humans behind the brand
Placement of online ads on search engines and websites, i.e. display ads, keyword-targeted ads, etc
Getting creative on social media and engaging more with your customers online
Create an affiliate program or a loyalty program to reward your customers for sharing your services or providing positive feedback about your company
Use email marketing to offer them special offers or let them know what’s been happening behind the scenes
Creating regular blogs to share news or information about your business or industry news
Hold contests or giveaways as an incentive for your customers to engage and remember you
5 - Get Your GMB Right
GMB stands for Google My Business and this is especially important for businesses with a physical store or retail outlet. People are searching for businesses that they want to visit all the time.
And when they find you on Google, Bing, or Yahoo, it sets an immediate first impression about your business. On top of that, GMB is integrated with Google Maps. So, if they’ve decided to visit your restaurant, hair salon, or fashion store, it makes it easier for them to find you.
6 - Get Yourself Into Medium or Quora
Let’s start with Medium.com. The platform focuses on curated content that revolves around specific topics. Anyone can create content on the platform but you would need a subscription to reap maximum benefits from the site.
It is also easy to reshare the stories to other Medium.com followers, especially if they already have a publication. However, do note that the editor(s) of the platform has the irrevocable right to either accept or reject the content.
Quora, on the other hand, is the resuscitated version of the old Yahoo! Answers…with a little bit of a twist. You can answer any questions on Quora and if the readers found your answers helpful, they will be able to find out more about you and your business through your profile or the links you provide.
7 - Get Active in Linkedin Groups
This is especially important if you’re in the B2B sphere. Not only is it a great platform to connect with others in the niche group or industry, but you can also promote your business to targeted audiences without coming off as pushy.
In a group, adding value to the conversation is absolutely the key to gaining brownie points with others. When you participate in votes, questions, or discussions, help others by adding value to their lives before dropping self-promotional links.
Because Linkedin is a platform that underscores connections, you can easily get the spotlight without tooting your own horn. In fact, it’s not encouraged.
8 - Leveraging the Power of Influencers
Many people make a living off of social media and pride themselves on being powerful social media influencers. Although I would take it with a pinch of salt, there are many success stories about how these social media influencers can drive traffic to your business within days or a week.
Think of social media influencers as amplifiers, mouthpieces, or advocates. They don’t have to sing praises about your products. In fact, what they just need to do is to tell others that they had a positive experience with you or have taken notice of your products or services.
It’s not free, of course…these social media influencers, especially the top-tier ones, can cost you quite a bit of money. The types of influencers you should consider are as follows.
Mega Influencers - 1 million or more followers
Macro Influencers - 500,000 to 1 million followers
Mid-tier Influencers - 50,000 to 500,000 followers
Micro Influencers - 10,000 to 50,000 followers
Nano Influencers - 1,000 to 10,000 followers
Pick and choose the kind of influencer you want to engage based on your budget and target audience.
9 - Videos are Powerful
Do people prefer reading on the internet or a book, or do they like to hit things up on Youtube or other video streaming platforms? I think you’ve got the answer to that one.
69% of people who responded to a survey revealed that they prefer videos over texts when learning about new products and services. This is not to say words are dead; they’re not. It’s, however, hard to deny that, for many people these days, watching a video is the easier route.
For your business, creating videos focused on promoting your business, products or services is great - it should be part of the game plan. But the more powerful videos on YouTube tend to be the tutorials and entertaining ones.
Once again, you see that adding value to the life of your customers should be the main focus.
10 - Email Marketing is NOT Dead
While it is true that people are flooded with email promos every day and their inboxes are filled with nothing but offers they are not interested in, emails remain to be one of the better ways to develop a relationship with your customers.
Let’s think about it for a minute: you probably spend a lot of time surfing the internet every day. How many websites do you remember? Do you bookmark it? How do peple find it again when, one day, they see something that reminds them of your products and services?
The trouble with email marketing is that it is hard to convince people to share their email addresses with you unless there’s something in it for them. The first thing you can do is to create something they like and give it away for free or in exchange for their email addresses. It could be a coupon, an ebook, the result of a survey they took online, etc.
The point about email marketing is that you need to use the drip-fed marketing method. Don’t try to push too hard because there is always the unsubscribe button.
Before You Go…
As a new business, cash is tight and you have to be careful about which marketing avenue you want to invest money, time, and effort in. INFT can help you with the cash flow problem if you’re a new company.
We offer a flexible and easy-to-qualify business term loan for SMEs in Malaysia. All you need to do is to sign up right here on our website and our customer service representatives will get right back to you ASAP.
To find out more, do not hesitate to call us at +6018-7928328 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, you can also sign up for our newsletter with the form below, or follow us on our social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram.