From: forbes.com

Having a quality product or a stellar service means nothing if you don’t employ the right strategy to promote that product or service. You need to be able to get the word out and get it out fast. Determine what makes your company better than the competition and then let you customers know. Having a sound marketing strategy is a great way to get your new business off the ground, and the following 6 tips, backed up by some of the most successful CEOs, will provide a great start for any company that is looking to grow their customer base.

1. Cater to your audience.

When launching a product, you want to know exactly who will be buying it and how to reach that market. You will use very different marketing strategies for 12-16 year old girls than you would for 35-50 year old men. That should be obvious.

But you need to know more than the kinds of ads that will appeal to these groups. You also need to know the best channels to use to get your ads or content to the group you are trying to target. People under 21 are more likely to be hooked by Snapchat advertising, while it is unlikely that people over 30 even know what Snapchat is.

When talking about advertising through Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg says that Advertising works most effectively when it’s in line with what people are already trying to do. And people are trying to communicate in a certain way on Facebook – they share information with their friends, they learn about what their friends are doing – so there’s really a whole new opportunity for a new type of advertising model within that.

In other words, you can be much more successful by tailoring your advertising to what users are already trying to do on specific sites. Know where you will find your target audience, what they will be using that platform for, and tailor your strategy to that.

2. Know your product and vision.

You cannot convince other people to use your product if you do not know the ins and outs of it yourself. Know everything possible about your what you are trying to sell, even its shortcomings and weaknesses.

You will inevitably get questions, and you will inevitably get complaints. The worst thing your marketing team can do is to be caught unprepared without appropriate responses. The first step of training anyone on your marketing team should be to familiarize them with the product they will be promoting. Equip them to answer the questions that are bound to come, especially for the hard questions.

Furthermore, you should also have a shared vision or mission for your company. Jack Ma, founder of ecommerce giant Alibaba, maintains that Alibaba is an ecosystem that helps small business to grow. His company has a larger goal beyond just making money or growing a lot, and that goal is the help small businesses grow. Setting up a similar goal or mission for your company can help keep you and your team in focus.

3. Invest in your team.

Taso Du Val, CEO and cofounder of the successful talent network Toptal, emphasizes the importance of investing in smart, motivated people, regardless of the specific job. According to Du Val, Your people determine your product.” In other words, a great product cannot be created without great people behind it. Also, it cannot be discovered without great people to promote it.

Put time and effort into creating a well-balanced marketing team of smart, motivated people. You want to choose employees who are proactive in their work, not just reactive. Make sure the people working with you are always thinking one step ahead by looking towards the future of your product.

4. Don’t forget about pricing.

Pricing is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal, but many people let it go by the wayside in terms of marketing strategy. Before you determine pricing, decide what message you want to set by pricing your product at a certain level.

Having a higher price means that you will probably sell fewer units, but a high price can also give the impression of a premium product. Low prices can allow you to break into or dominate a particular market and undercut the competition, but low prices can also lead to low profitability in the short term.

Tesla’s Elon Musk has said that Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.Pricing can be one of the biggest ways to influence this perception.

Decide what feel you want your brand to have and adjust your price accordingly.

5. Handle complaints kindly.

Stop thinking about complaints as “something to deal with.” Instead, think about every customer complaint as a unique opportunity. Never allow your customer to leave dissatisfied. You have the chance to change their mind about this specific experience and your product as a whole, and you should take advantage of that.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning,” says Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. If you think of every customer complaint as an opportunity to improve, you will be able to handle those that come along much better.

Complaints should be handled quickly and positively. One bad experience can taint your brand forever, and you do not want a bad experience to get out of hand through word of mouth.

By dealing with a complaint well, you can actually gain a very loyal customer. A positive interaction and an apology can go a long way to refresh trust in your brand. That experience will give the customer confidence to buy again, knowing that you are there to help if things do not go well the first time around.

6. High quality content reigns supreme.

Content is one of the most important ways to get your company noticed these days. Whether it’s by maintaining a blog, an instagram account, or using videos, using content to market your product can be extremely helpful.

However, everyone is starting to get on the content marketing train, and customers are bombarded with ads and content more than ever before. Therefore, you need to make sure your content stands out by maintaining a high bar of quality.

According to Apple’s Steve Jobs,Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”

Creating content is the way to curate your brand and make sure your audience is learning what you want them to know. Bad content can be even worse for your brand than no content at all. Chances are, if someone reads a boring blog post from you once, they won’t be likely to click on your links again. Likewise, if your Instagram photos are lackluster, you can expect a speedy ‘unfollow’.

These six tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a great marketing strategy. However, they are a great place to start for new companies. Do not get overwhelmed, and when in doubt, there are plenty of experts you can talk to for advice or hire on a consulting basis.

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