The Importance of Marketing: 10 Reasons You Can’t Afford Not to Market Your Business

typesofmarketingstrategiesUpdated by Nick G. on February 26, 2014

It’s hard to overstate the importance of marketing. From hot new startups to local stores, every type of business can benefit from the increased sales and heightened brand awareness that a great marketing campaign can offer. Demystify the goals behind your marketing strategy with these 10 important benefits. Simply put, if you’re not marketing your business, you’re not making progress. No matter how great your product or service is, without any marketing efforts, you’re more likely to stand still and be ignored than to move forward and find customers or clients.

Marketing is a broad term, and one that both business owners and consumers are quick to confuse with other terms like advertising and public relations. Try to think of marketing itself as a big umbrella, with fields like direct sales, advertising, and public relations all tactics that make up different parts your marketing strategy. Some of the world’s most well-known and celebrated companies – from Coca-Cola to Apple – have succeeded using two surprisingly simple tactics: making great products and marketing them well.

In many of our courses, like Lean Marketing for Startups, we’ve covered some of the easiest, most affordable marketing tactics out there for small businesses and online startups. In others, we’ve covered specialized topics like affiliate marketing and Facebook advertising.

Marketing isn’t rocket science, but it isn’t necessarily straightforward either. Read on and you’ll discover 10 reasons to market your business, as well as helpful tips and educational courses to help you take action and start developing a marketing strategy today.

sale1.     You’ll make more sales

“No sales, no company.” – Mark Cuban

When people know your business exists, they’re much more likely to become your customers. If your marketing campaigns are doing their job properly, you’ll start to see an increase in sales shortly after you get started.

Depending on the type of product or service you sell and the type of marketing you are engaging in, you could start seeing sales after a few days – in some cases, even a few hours. Online advertising platforms like Google Adwords can start sending you traffic – and potentially customers – within minutes of starting your campaign.

By marketing your business online, you can easily keep track of which campaigns are generating sales and which aren’t. Our course, Conversion Optimization, shows you how to track your sales using online marketing platforms like Facebook Ads or Google Adwords and optimize your campaign for maximum sales.

communication2.     You’ll increase awareness

“More contact means more sharing of information, gossiping, exchanging, engaging – in short, more word of mouth.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Sometimes your best customers might see your advertisements hundreds of times before they buy anything. A lot of people see an ad or online recommendation and, instead of buying straight away, remember the brand name for future reference.

Raising awareness plants your business’s brand, its product, and its benefits in the mind of your target audience. By raising awareness through marketing, you’ll build a huge audience of potential customers who know who you are, know what you can offer, and know exactly where to find you.

Don’t feel bad if your marketing campaigns don’t drive increased sales right away, as raising awareness is often just as important. Our course, Startup Attention, is a great resource for developing your own attention-generating engine that powers your business’s marketing.

abacus3.     You’ll learn your metrics

“What gets measured, gets managed.” – Peter Drucker

Whether you’re marketing a bakery or an enterprise software company, knowing your metrics is the key to keeping your marketing campaigns profitable. If you can pinpoint exactly how much your average customer is worth, you know exactly how much you can afford to spend acquiring each new sale.

This makes it far easier for you to optimize your bids on marketing platforms like Adwords and Facebook. It also makes it easier for you to optimize your price and profit margin. Basic online conversion optimization tactics can be used to tweak your pricing and keep your product at the perfect profit margin.

Once you’ve calculated key performance indicators like your cost per acquisition (CPA), lifetime customer value (LCV), or average revenue per user (ARPU), you’ll find it far easier to launch other marketing campaigns and optimize them for profitability.

Launch campaigns, get as much data as possible, and trust your metrics. Once you’ve got the data, you’re in the power position to grow your business and increase sales.

shutterstock_1455187964.     You’ll make consumers trust you

“People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends and people they know and trust.” – Malorie Lucich, Facebook

Who do you trust more: your friend or a complete stranger? The more well known your company becomes, the more people will trust you. The more people trust you, the more likely they are to buy your products and services.

Building trust isn’t something that can be done overnight. Think of the companies that you trust. Generally, the companies we trust the most are the ones we’ve been exposed to – either through advertising or by doing business with them – for years.

The earlier you start marketing your business, the longer your target audience will have known you. Start early and build a relationship with your target market that forms an image of sturdiness, reliability, and honesty and people will respond by trusting your business to live up to its image.

There’s a reason people pay more for Coca-Cola or Pepsi than they do for a bottle of store brand cola. They’ve spent years forming a bond with the brand, and as a result they trust it more.

Learn more about building a trustworthy brand in Branding: How to Brand Yourself and Your Business.

shutterstock_1183479705.     You’ll build a social asset

“One way to sell a consumer something in the future is simply to get his or her permission in advance.” – Seth Godin

What could you do with a list of one million potential customers? As the expert direct marketers love to say, the money is in the list. By marketing your business now, you can build a powerful social asset that you can sell products to tomorrow.

Whether you opt for an email list or a Facebook Page, giving your audience a way to connect with you gives you a powerful platform for selling products and asking your audience important questions.

No matter what your business sells, you can develop a powerful social asset to use for promotions and outreach in the future. Sell shoes? Send users to your Facebook using a creative ad campaign targeted at sports gurus. Sell auto parts? Advertise to local car gurus using Google Adwords and build a powerful promotional list.

Every great business has a social asset that it can marketing to, be in the form of an online database or an offline address book. Start building your social asset today and in a few years you could have a powerful list for promoting your products and increasing your sales.

To learn more, check out these email and social media marketing courses:

shutterstock_1330097936.     You’ll learn your marketplace

“Understand why and how your audience uses technology and then start trying to align your communications efforts.” – Brian Reich and Dan Solomon

When you first start your business, your target marketplace can look as vast as the ocean. Once you start marketing, you dive below the surface and instead of seeing a massive expanse of blue water, you start to see different communities, subcultures, and a huge network of different connections.

Marketing opens your eyes to the reality of your industry. Once you start your own campaigns, you begin to notice what your competitors are doing. This information helps you develop your own campaigns, learn more about your target audience, and get a better feel for your industry.

You also start to learn why customers chose you. By polling your customers, you can learn what drove them to your product. Using tools like Google Analytics, you’ll find out which keywords and websites are referring the most customers to you. Using a Facebook Page, you’ll discover what your customers love to comment on and share.

Don’t keep your head above the water forever. Once you start marketing, you’ll see your industry for what it is – a massive network of opportunities that are waiting for you to seize them.

target7.     You’ll discover what works

“Give them quality. That’s the best type of advertising.” – Milton Hershey

Have you ever seen an advertisement and wondered how anyone could possibly be persuaded by it? A lot of the best ads look and feel like the worst. By marketing your business, you quickly learn which types of advertisements and marketing tactics are effective, and which ones aren’t effective.

There are hundreds of marketing tactics you could use to find customers. From old-fashioned direct mail to search marketing, experimenting with different marketing methods helps you find the ones that work and focus on them.

Stay focused on acquiring data and test, test, test. Our course, Optimization & A/B Testing Statistics, will help you learn how to test different advertising campaigns and marketing methods until you discover the best tactics, headlines, and target audiences for your business.

business men8.     You’ll develop an ‘ideal customer’ profile

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Steve Jobs

There’s a customer waiting out there for every business. Great marketing makes it easy for them to find you. Over time, as you build a database with the information you’ve acquired from your marketing campaigns, it also becomes easier for you to find them.

Your ideal customer profile includes variables like age, income, location, hobbies and interests, and occupation. Once you’ve marketed to hundreds or thousands of customers, look at your data and search for patterns and characteristics that you could use to profile your ideal customer.

The more you can learn about the people you’re marketing to, the better. Use polls and surveys to learn more about what your customers are looking for and use their data to better target your marketing campaigns. Open Google Analytics and find the regions where your business achieves the highest conversion rate.

Don’t build products based on the feedback of your customers – that’s a recipe for failure. However, dig deep into the data you generate from your online marketing campaigns and spot trends and details that you can use to hone in on the type of people that matter the most to your business.

Our free course, Market Research Fast Track, breaks down the basics of identifying your ideal customer while you market your business.

testing9.     You’ll learn how to test and optimize

“In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” – David Ogilvy

Knowing how to test different headlines, images, and advertisements is one of the most important skills you can possess. A headline that sounds great in your mind might barely engage your audience, while another that sounds contrived and silly could be the perfect eye-catcher for generating leads and making sales.

If you can’t test and optimize, you’ll never know which headline is the winner and which is the loser. Some of the world’s biggest companies launch online marketing campaigns with hundreds of different images and headlines to be tested, all in order to find the one combination that produces the optimum return on investment.

A/B and multivariate testing sound complicated, but they’re surprisingly easy once you’ve mastered the basics. Our course, Optimization and A/B Testing Statistics, is a great resource for learning more about formulating marketing hypotheses and using real data to find out which are winners and which are losers.

These testing and optimization courses are also great resources for learning how to spot trends and performance indicators in your online marketing campaigns:

brand10.   You’ll build a powerful brand

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezo

Some marketers set out to sell more products. Others set out to build a brand that’s easy to remember. The smartest marketers set out to do both at the same time.

The ultimate goal of your marketing campaigns should be to have customers come to you. Big brands like Google and Facebook don’t need to remind people that they exist because their customers already know them and trust them enough to make them part of their daily lives.

Branding is what separates your business from your competitors. It’s what makes customer choose you instead of someone else. It’s your business’s style, reputation, and culture all rolled into one. Brands are essential, and without marketing your business you’ll struggle to develop a memorable, powerful brand.

Our course, Branding: How to Brand Yourself and Your Business, breaks down the process of developing, spreading, and protecting your business’s brand.

What’s your favorite marketing tactic?

From old-fashioned sales letters to search engine marketing campaigns, there are hundreds of ways to market your business. Which marketing tactics have you had the most success with in your business?