After years of dreaming, brainstorming, and researching, you’ve finally done the incredible—you’ve started your own business. While this is an amazing achievement, a great business idea alone isn’t enough to succeed.

For entrepreneurs to grow a viable business, they need to have a solid understanding of marketing. However, what if you didn’t go to business school and aren’t familiar with the marketing basics?

Luckily, it’s still possible to have a solid grasp of marketing, even without an MBA. With a bit of legwork, entrepreneurs can teach themselves the key principles of marketing education.

If you’re ready to improve your business with marketing, keep reading to find 12 key marketing basics that you can use to generate leads, attract new clients, and increase your sales.

1. Understand Your Audience

Before you can start any sort of marketing strategy, you need to know who your target audience is. Also known as demographics, you can think of these people as your ideal customer.

There is a certain type of person most likely to be drawn to your product or service, so you want your marketing efforts to appeal to your target demographic.

You can work out your ideal audience by analyzing the ages, buying habits, and locations of your current customers. You can also conduct market research to help create a buyer persona—an example of what your dream customer would look like.

Demographics can include just about anything, including marital status, hobbies, backgrounds, travel preferences, or exact location.

You may think it’s easier to ‘cast a wide net’ and appeal to everyone, but this strategy is best avoided. It will result in wasting your marketing budget trying to promote your product to customers who aren’t interested, so take the time to understand your demographics before doing anything else.

2. Build a Killer Website

Your digital marketing efforts should always revolve around your website. Every business and entrepreneur can benefit from a website—it helps build credibility, gives your business a ‘home’ online, and allows potential clients to find out everything they might want to know about your business.

If you don’t already have a website, creating one should be one of your first tasks. You’ll want it to look professional, so purchase your own domain name–this should be as close as possible to the actual name of your business.

Then, you can either build the site yourself, using drop and drag templates from a webpage builder like WordPress or hire a web designer to get the job done for you. Be sure to make it easy for potential customers to contact you through the website, via a clear contact us page.

An about page is also helpful to help readers learn more about you and, hopefully, part of your story will resonate with them.

3. Make the Most of SEO

One of our biggest marketing tips is to focus on SEO. Your website and blog won’t be noticed if your website isn’t SEO optimized.

If it’s all new to you, know that SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s a series of online best practices that you can use to ensure your website ranks as highly as possible on search engines like Google.

We’d recommend reading more on SEO, as it can be complex. However, a few top tips include designing your site in a clear, easy to navigate fashion, with proper linking, headers, and well-written content.

You’ll also want to pay attention to keyword research, as this helps you find terms that users are searching for—you can use them in your content as signals to Google that your website and blog are relevant.

4. Your Brand Is Everything

Branding is one of the key marketing principles. You want your brand to become iconic—think the Nike swoosh.

When someone sees your brand logo, it should be immediately clear to them that it represents your company.

If you don’t have one yet, you can build a brand by considering your brand’s personality, creating a slogan and logo, and then using your logo across all aspects of your business.

For branding to be successful, it needs to be consistent. Use it on your website, stationery, social media, and advertising, but be sure never to alter the formatting or color palette.

5. Master Social Media

To find success with online marketing, you need to be everywhere your audience is. For most businesses, this means you need to master social media.

Photo-sharing monolith Instagram has over one billion monthly users, so if your business has a younger audience, you absolutely need an Instagram presence. Other key platforms include Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter.

If a potential customer finds you online, they may be likely to look for you on social media. If they don’t find you, they may think your business isn’t credible or that you don’t take it seriously.

For social media, you should curate active social media pages for your business, sharing original content, ideas, and interacting with followers. Just as important are the advertising options social media can bring.

You can set up ad campaigns on social media, setting your own budget and selecting your exact demographic to see the ads. This can be a useful way to introduce your brand to a new audience—one that’s likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

To help get noticed by your customers, include your social media handles on your website, invoices, and collateral.

6. Convert Leads to Sales With Email Marketing

If you’re not yet familiar with email marketing, it’s time to learn—this can be one of your best resources for converting email subscribers into paying customers.

You should constantly be working on building up an email list, via your website, social media, and previous customers. Then, when you’re ready to run a new email campaign, you have a list of subscribers to market to.

Using electronic direct marketing, or EDMs, you can create a chain of email sales funnels, encouraging readers to check out your latest products or services.

7. Learn to Write Blogs That People Actually Want to Read

Starting a blog for your website is a fantastic marketing tool. It can drive traffic to your site, help your audience, and can establish your business as a thought leader in the industry.

Blogs are also great to share across your social media channels. However, you need to make sure that your blogs are something that people will want to read!

Tailor the tone and style of your blogs to match your intended audience. Also, use keyword research to find topics that are sure to match the intent of your readers.

Longer blogs, over 1,000 words, tend to be best for SEO. Make sure your blogs are also professional—edited, with clean copy and short paragraphs that are easy to read online.

8. Upselling Can Increase Profits

If you’ve ever bought a large soda instead of a small one at a fast-food restaurant, you’ve likely been the recipient of upselling. Upselling is simply asking customers or buyers if they’d like to upgrade their purchase to one of higher value.

Entrepreneurs can use upselling when creating sales packages. The highest-priced package should offer the most value for money, giving your customers the best possible experience.

In your marketing, be sure to highlight the reasons why the premium packages offer the most bang for the buck, subtly encouraging them to select the more expensive option.

9. Marketing Doesn’t Need to Cost a Fortune

Many new entrepreneurs can be nervous about approaching marketing, as they worry about the expense. However, one of the best-kept secrets of marketing is that it doesn’t need to cost a fortune.

With digital advertising, platforms like social media and Google let you pay per click, setting your own budget and only paying for ads that users click on. It’s also completely free to set up business social media accounts, so be sure to start growing your social media accounts as soon as you launch your business.

While traditional advertising, such as print or radio, does tend to be pricey, you can get creative with online advertising without a big budget. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to have a blog post or video that goes viral, it’s the ultimate boost of free advertising!

In the early days, we recommend setting a tight marketing budget and sticking to it, focusing on free and low-cost marketing techniques.

10. Use A/B Testing to Make the Right Decisions

Another principle of marketing education is A/B testing. Marketing and advertising isn’t always a surefire thing, so sometimes it can be hard for companies to know which ad will perform best.

This is why savvy marketers know that the key to success is often A/B testing. This is the process of creating two versions of something, such as an ad, website, or product packaging.

Then, split your sample audience so that half sees one version and half sees the other version. You can see which one performs best and know which ad or design to roll out on a wider scale.

In theory, it’s simple, but we know that marketing basics can be confusing for new entrepreneurs. It can be a good idea to learn more via online courses—check out Legendary Marketer and see more on their online marketing education.

11. Make the Most of Digital Advertising

If you need to build up a wider audience and increase your sales, one of the fastest ways to make new sales is with a digital advertising campaign.

Creating an online ad campaign takes only a few minutes and will run for whatever duration you set. It’s also easy to set your own budget and select the exact age, preferences, and location of users you’re hoping to attract.

It can be helpful to launch an online ad campaign whenever you’re ready to announce a new product or service. Or, it can also be good to time a campaign around a special event in your industry or a holiday.

Take some time to find the best online ad platform for your demographic, as you don’t want to invest any money in an ad campaign unless you have confidence that it will generate new leads.

12. Design Matters

Another huge element of marketing is design. Simply, an unappealing website, ad, or social media page isn’t going to appeal to potential customers.

Pay close attention to your design, taking care to select fonts, colors, and images that align with your brand and will attract the right customers.

Even if you’re not an expert in design, you can hire designers for low prices or online or use design templates from programs such as Canva. You can use it to create flyers, social media graphics, infographics, and ads for your business.

Improve Your Business With These Marketing Basics

If you want your entrepreneurial business to thrive, you need to have a solid understanding of these marketing basics. Take some time to learn more about the marketing principles mentioned above, as they can help take your business to the next level.

Although marketing can seem daunting, there are plenty of resources online or books that can help you learn more. Then, start thinking about how you can apply the marketing basics to your specific business by developing a tailored marketing plan.

Once you implement your plan, it may take some patience and trial and error, but after time, you’re sure to start seeing results! Get started today and make this the year that your business skyrockets.

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