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Many entrepreneurs in today's digital and virtual world overlook the importance of marketing their products and services digitally and rely on word of mouth to sustain and grow their businesses. While there is nothing wrong with the word-of-mouth marketing tool, entrepreneurs who are serious about growing their businesses need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a marketing strategy that will help them attract more customers and increase sales.

In order to develop a business marketing strategy, an entrepreneur must assess their marketing strategy, size up their competitors in order to obtain a competitive advantage, explore complimentary online marketing tools, and determine their return on investment for their marketing activities.

Marketing strategy - Develop a marketing plan that aligns with your business objectives. For example, if your plan includes a social media plan or campaign - depending on the depth and frequency of your planned activities, you can decide to appoint a social media manager (this can be procuring the services of an expert on a monthly retainer) or to manage activities yourself in alignment with the business's broader marketing activities.

Competitive advantage - It is important to know and understand your competitors, determine your unique selling point, and what you can deliver to satisfy your customer need. If you are an employer, your staff should align to the unique selling point in order to satisfy your customers and reach your marketing objectives. Study your competition and align your marketing strategy in such a way as to obtain an advantage and set superior standards for the benefit of your business and customers.

Free online marketing tools - There are many online tools that businesses can use to learn more and or market their businesses, often at no cost. Google provides free online Digital Skills courses, offering currently 160 certified courses. These can be done in your own time and at your own pace.

Return on investment - In addition to the marketing activities that will be implemented, it is important to use the right tools to accurately measure and determine the return on investment. This will help your business to determine whether its marketing activities have helped to deliver on its strategy. Digital analytics and insights will assist in this regard.

The importance of fully understanding your competitors, customers, market, and business/industry landscape in which you operate and matching that with an adequate marketing plan that will help your business to reach its objectives, cannot be overemphasized.


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