Your business is like a flower. You got the looks. You smell fabulous. You offer fantastic nectar to passing bees. And you’re in the middle of a field of flowers just like you. The clincher is that you actually have different nectar than the other flowers. The problem lies in finding the right bees.

To solve that problem, you need to take a few straightforward steps to market yourself to the right audience. Now, it’s easy to say, “Marketing? Straightforward? Are you kidding? Marketing’s a behemoth.” We agree. Marketing does have an intimidating appearance (understatement). There are countless books written on the subject, and googling “marketing” will get you over three billion results (that’s billion with a b). The subject and definitions are so vague that everyone has a different solution.

Because of this, at first glance, marketing appears big enough to completely overwhelm. So, to get started, we’ll move a step back, take a breath, and go back to the basics. By uncovering the basics, we can peel away the accumulated fluff and uncover marketing in its simplest form. The marketing 101.

The four Ps of marketing

When you think of marketing, you probably think about promoting your product or service. This involves spreading the word about your business through advertising, social media, and word of mouth.

To be honest, promotion is only one small part of marketing. In fact, it’s the third P in the four Ps of marketing. The four Ps involve:

  • Product: what you sell
  • Price: what your product is worth
  • Promotion: how you tell people about your product
  • Place: where you sell and/or promote your product

Many people already know product, price, and place, which is why they associate marketing with promotion — a P that appears to be the size of a behemoth.

Conquering the marketing behemoth

We’ll be the first to admit — marketing seems huge. It seems so huge, in fact, that many people write articles, books, dissertations, and blogs about it. In the process, marketing has become about 3 billion search results larger than it really is. If you part the behemoth’s fur, you’ll find that you don’t need an armory to conquer the beast. You simply need a good working knowledge of two parts of Mother Nature: flowers and bees.

How to be a flower that attracts the right bees

To excel at marketing your business, it’s important to understand the following two points.

  • What kind of flower are you?
  • What kind of bee do you want to attract?

What kind of flower do you want to be?

Who are you right now, and who do you want to be? Your answer to this question should be both practical and aspirational. In other words, sit down with your team or a group of trusted friends. Talk about who you currently are as a business.

  • What do we offer?
  • How do we describe ourselves?
  • What makes us unique?
  • What problems do we solve for customers?

Next, take a step into the future to establish the aspirational element — take a step into the future. Ask your group:

  • Who do we want to be?
  • What do we want to accomplish?
  • How do we want to think of ourselves?
  • How do we want our customers to think about us?

Before you tell your audience who you are, you need to know exactly who you are and what you do. Know thyself. And once you know who you are, you can sleuth up some facts about your audience.

What kind of bee do you need to attract?

When you market yourself, you don’t want to attract everyone. In fact, “if you market to everyone, you market to no one.” This means it’s extremely important to get intentional about determining your target audience. People want to feel understood, and when you learn about your audience, you learn:

  • What they like and want
  • What they dislike and don’t want
  • What motivates them
  • Who they trust and distrust
  • What keeps them awake at night

When you know the answers to these questions, you can communicate to your target audience directly in their language of wants, likes, hopes, and fears. This shows your customer that you understand them and their problems — and that you genuinely believe that your product or service can help make their lives better.

Skip the silk — be a genuine you

People value authenticity. In advertising, businesses often get caught up with making the “big bucks” and forget about genuinely improving the lives of their customers. While there’s nothing wrong with making a profit (that’s what business is all about), check your “big buck” ambitions at the door, and look for a way to genuinely help.

Once you’ve answered all the questions surrounding marketing promotion, you should have a good idea of what kind of business and who your target audience is. This takes some research, but take time to work through each question carefully with your team.

Get this right, and you’ll market your business with such clarity and confidence, your audience won’t even glance at the competition.

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