marketing how to for Christian entrepreneursA how-to guide to the basics of marketing

Christian entrepreneurs need to have a good foundational understanding of their marketing.  In this two part series, we are going to cover the basics.

Make sure you read our previous article on what marketing is.  We redefined marketing as offering the greatest products and making sure your ideal customers know about it.

 

Ideal customers

The first component in marketing is not your product or your business, it’s your customers.  In essence, the better you understand your ideal customer, the better you can talk to them.  Just think about the difference in the way you talk to your grandmother, mother, friends and spouse.  Different people relate to different words.  Plus, your relationship to those people identifies how you talk to them.

When it comes to customers, you want to help them.  To help them you must understand them.  What do they like?  What kind of house do they live in?  What kind of cars do they drive?  If you can understand where they shop, what they read, what music they listen to that can all become part of your communication with them.

If you want to know where to start, check out our article on a free tool to help you understand your ideal customer.

Once you understand your customer better, make an avatar.  In other words, I want you to create a picture of that person so well in your head, it is as if they are a real person.  If you have someone who is exactly the right fit, use that person and interview them.  (Of course, offer them some incentive or bonus for their participation.)

Create a name for the person.  Find a picture online that represents that person.  Write up a short bio for that person.  Make sure everyone in your office has that picture of the ideal customer in their head each time they think about your product or service.

Once you have that person firmly in your head, pray for him/her.  Begin praying for your ideal customers.  You can even go through your customer list and pray for previous customers by name.  When you begin to pray for people, your heart is moved to notice them better and want to help them. Plus, God may just give you some wisdom about your business.

 

Ideal conversation

Marketing is simply a conversation.  You have a business that can help others and you want them to know about it and like it.

Let’s use a simple example of a movie.  If you go to your best friend you can easily talk to them about the movie you just watched.  You can even convince them to see it with you.  If you talk to a stranger, it is a bit harder to communicate to that person because you don’t quite know what they like.

When you begin to understand your customers, you can use words they relate to.  If I was trying to talk about a car to guys I may use words like “power” and “speed.”  If I was talking to women about a car, I may use “safe” and “comfortable.”  Not to put people in a box or anything, depending on my ideal customer, those statements may be reversed.

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I heard it said best this way, “Marketing is entering the conversation your customer is already having in their head.”  If you can identify what keeps them up at night and what they would pay to solve that problem, you have a great understanding of how to market to them.

Do your research to understand them, go to forums, look at reviews on similar products on Amazon, or search for blogs that relate to that specific customer.  Notice the colors, wording, length and even what other products/services they are trying to sell that person.

Quick note: Your product may be great for 100’s of people or 1000’s of people, but until you can sell it to that specific one person you will never be a success.  Focus on one ideal customer and get your marketing moving.  Later you can develop a second tier customer.  The key is FOCUS.

 

Ideal market

The ideal market involves many moving parts.  You must understand what others are selling your customers.  You must understand your competition.  You must know the ins and outs of your industry so well that you become the ‘go to’ company for what you produce.

You can do lots of research in this category, but don’t get distracted.  Keep in mind your ONE ideal customer.  Look at your competition and look at what you do better for your customer.  Look at reviews to see what others are saying they want in your industry.  Read information from real people.  With the digital age we live in, you can see reviews and comments from your ideal customer everywhere.

Once you know your market, you know what makes you different.  You can identify a USP, unique selling point.  Take what makes you different, communicate that to your ideal customer in a way that they can relate to and understand.  That is marketing in a nutshell.

 

Conclusion

In our next article, we will talk about setting up a basic marketing plan.  We will talk about where to put your message and how to best communicate with your ideal customer.

Christians are action takers.  We want to grow our business and understand it takes work.  Below are three actions you can take based on the article above.

  1. Write a bio for your ideal customer.  Get a picture (royalty free) and give them a name (Annie Car Buyer, Bob HomeOwner).  Make it memorable.  Print out this bio and ask your employees and leadership if they agree with the ideal customer.  (Actually, you should include them in the entire process.)
  2. Come up with 10 key points that your customers care about.  Look for patterns in your research.  Find attitudes that speak to them: safe, fast, etc.  Find specific fears they have and problems you solve with your business.
  3. Write down 2-3 key points about your business that differentiates you from your competition.  Don’t bash others, but edify your customers with what you do.   Keep everything positive and focus on RESULTS over benefits.

You have your work cut out for you, but if you take this exercise seriously, you will have a great beginning to a solid marketing system in your business.  It will help you grow your business in tight times or plentiful.  You can handle all the twists and turns of business when you are prepared and take everything to God in prayer.

If you need specific help, consider contacting a Christian marketing business coach or join our membership where you can ask your questions on our live online training webinars each month.  It is less than a dollar a day!!

Be blessed and be a blessing.