Question: I have just taken the plunge and started a new business. My question is how do I create customer awareness for my products and services?

Answer: Hopefully you have done your homework and those products and services you offer are in demand. Any successful marketing strategy should address the following key elements:

  • Research – Customers buy products and services that make life easier or fulfill basic needs. These wants and needs may differ depending on lifestyle, age or demographics. The more you understand what motivates your customer and their needs, the better chance you have of finding ways to reach them.
  • Advertise – We live in a digital age. Millennials respond primarily to social media. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TicTok are popular with the younger set. Baby Boomers on the other hand rely heavily on print media. Bottom line, there is no one-size-fits all way to reach everyone. Taylor your message to your target audience.
  • Specialize – Trying to be all things to all people is a sure-fire way to fail. We live in an age of specialists. Better to be recognized as the go-to person for a particular product or service. People will pay more if they perceive the value in what you offer.
  • Competition – Research your competition. Check out their websites to determine what they have to offer and the means they use to reach out to their customers.
  • Differentiate – Look for ways to distinguish what you have to offer from those of your competitors. Answer the question what makes your product or service so special that someone will choose you over your competition?
  • Create a Budget – It is critical that you create a formal, written marketing plan. You will need a budget for each of your marketing activities. Your plan should include the specific audience you are targeting, based on the traits of your target customer. SCORE offers an excellent Marketing Plan guide that can be accessed at https://www.score.org/resource/marketing-plan-guide
  • Ask for advice – Your local SCORE business counselor is a valuable resource to help you develop a viable marketing plan. It’s also a good idea to join the local chamber of commerce and a trade organization. Both allow you to network with similar or like business owners who deal with some of the same problems.

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Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE Naples. Business counseling on this and other business matters is available, without charge, from the Naples Chapter of SCORE. Call (239) 430-0081 or visit https://naples.score.org/mentors .The SCORE business office is located at 900 Goodlette Road North, in the Fifth Third branch bank building.