If you’re like me, you probably started a business without any actual business knowledge. Maybe you felt called or inspired to do it, maybe you always really wanted to, or maybe you feel passionately about sharing your amazing product, service or knowlege with the world.
That’s really all you need to get started! A big desire and lots of tenacity. But eventually you’ll need some actual marketing know-how in order to get customers coming your way.
There are oodles of marketing books, podcasts, courses and more out there, but in the interest of keeping things super simple, I’m gonna break it down for a beginner here. This is everything I wish I had known about marketing right from the get-go of starting a business!
What (the heck) is marketing?
First of all, marketing just means “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service”. In other words, letting people know about your product and getting them to buy it.
It involves every thing from building an email list of potential clients, putting your business out there on social media, running advertising campaigns, collaborating with other businesses, and so much more.
But don’t let all that overwhelm you. I’m going to teach you a tool that will help you understand exactly what marketing steps you need to take and why.
Your customer’s journey
The best way to understand how to market to your potential customer is to envision the journey they’ll take on their way to purchasing your product or service.
Think, for a second, about the last time you purchased something. It’s very unlikely that you just googled a product, clicked on the first result and purchased from them. Marketing, in a lot of ways, is like dating.
The customer journey is also often referred to as a “funnel” in the marketing world. I’ll explain why in just a second!
The first thing that happens to a potential customer is that he or she becomes aware of your brand. They might see one of your ads on social media, or maybe a friend will recommend your business to them.
This is the very first touchpoint with your business and it rarely ends in a sale, or even in converting them to a fan. Often people have to be exposed to your brand 3-4 times before they’re actually interested enough to follow you on social media or sign up for your email list.
These people are called cold leads. They enter your marketing funnel at the top and are the largest group of potential clients (hence the larger opening at the top of a funnel). As they move through the funnel, this group shrinks until you’re left with a handful of clients who are actually purchasing your product. But first, they become…
Warm leads are those people who know your business and are interested in what you do or offer. They’re your Instagram fans or your TikTok followers. They might be on your email list and they want to be kept up to date on new products and offers.
These people are fans, but they haven’t yet bought anything. They might have a hangup about the price or a question about the quality. Or maybe they’re just not quite convinced that your service is exactly what they need right now. They’re your middle-of-the-funnel people and need an impetus to cross over into the next phase…
This is where we want everyone to end up eventually because these are your customers and raving fans! Hot leads are the people that buy whatever you put out, they send your offers to their friends and talk about how great your brand is on their own social media.
These people are squeezed out of the other (tiny) side of your funnel after making their way all the way through. It’s a bit of a journey and the more you understand how your clients move through it, the better you’ll be able to help them along their way.
Once you’re aware of this concept of a customer journey, you’ll start recognizing it everywhere. Pay attention to how you move through other brands’ funnels and start brainstorming how to get your own cold leads to become diehard fans. Marketing is actually pretty fun, when you think about it this way!