You say your products and services are vast superior to your competitors. You say you are the answer to the problems within your marketplace. You say you should be receiving a flood of business but this is not the case. You seem to be stuck in a frustrating state of both confidence and doubtfulness. As an entrepreneur myself, trust that I share your same sentiments and pain. What needs to be examined thoroughly is your approach towards the marketplace and how effective or ineffective the nature of your marketing approach is.

Marketing has become both very inexpensive and complex. With the huge advancements in technology and the vast amount of resources that make marketing affordable to all budgets, effectiveness becomes a crucial issue. As social networking sites have become increasingly popular due to the ease of garnering attention amazingly fast, many people still find themselves disconnected from their selected target market. Whether it be due to a lack of knowledge about their target market, a lack of focus and detail towards their marketing plan, or a lack of balance and effectiveness within their marketing platforms; many entrepreneurs seem to stumble in their marketing approach.

I have compiled a list of 5 initiatives I believe can help better structure your marketing plan and produce an effective marketing approach.

1) Know Your Target Market

The glaring mistake many entrepreneurs seem to make when designing their marketing plan and approach is not defining who their selected market of focus is. This is a definite NO; marketing requires thorough planning and a knowledgeable understanding of your marketplace. This means marketing in a broad range hoping to attract anyone’s attention is not a favorable approach.

Analyze your marketplace and locate areas that are lacking the proper efficiency and attention towards the consumer. This will begin to shape your designated target within the marketplace and provides an insight into how to garner the wanted attention towards your business. When you do know your target market and have identified their needs, develop their desired products and services that will enable interaction. Remember though, human behavior and interaction is very complex and confusing so never be content with current findings and insights. Always perform continual research in order to stay relevant with your target market and in order to stay in pace or ahead of your competition.

2) Engage Your Audience

It is not enough to be well-educated about your target market; they need to be educated about you and your business. In today’s current times you have numerous resources at hand to engage your audience. From traditional methods such as radio to the growing strength of online tactics, your marketing tools are numerous. The key is to develop the most effective manner of attracting your target market. People seek out information in different ways so place your marketing initiatives in various platforms that help to attract the differences in information attainment preferences.

When engaging with your audience, you want to create a community atmosphere that helps create anticipation for your next move. A perfect example would be Apple with the strong cultural following they have developed. Their design of products tailored to the wants of their consumers, mixed with excellent customer service and great marketing has driven their phenomenal growth and appeal. What to take away from a company such as Apple is that marketing is made up of different sections and each section must work efficiently in order to create huge success. Also shown from Apple is marketing is about the effectiveness of your engagement with the marketplace and creating the atmosphere of what next excellent products and services to be expected from your business. So keep in mind that engagement is a never-ending process and every chance for interaction should be used to educate and inform your target market about your capabilities.

3) Balance Your Platforms

You have numerous platforms at hand to place your marketing initiatives within; the question is which platforms to choose. Many entrepreneurs stretch themselves beyond their limit by trying to interact in every capacity of communication available, wrong idea. You are doing nothing great but greatly harming your effectiveness by diluting your presence. Being all over the place requires too much time and energy that is likely being extracted from time needed to work. From the study of your target market you should be aware of the forms of communication that attracts their attention. Have your marketing initiatives segmented into 3-5 sections that will help to carve out your presence within your marketplace. Ex: social media, community events, blogging, networking.

Try to operate in different segments while balancing your time wisely in order to administer effective engagement. Make your presence known and strong by being effective in each chosen area with precision in your communication and your appearance. Assure your target market that your products and services are exceptional, which will require great persistence in order to break through the uncertainty. This is where the balancing of your marketing efforts creates value. By having a plan in place designed with “controlled” initiatives, you allow yourself the flexibility to oversee the effectiveness of your different approaches within each given area.

4) Play to Your Strengths

Which segment of your marketing approach is working best for you in gaining recognition? Whichever initiatives are creating the best value and feedback for you should receive a greater percentage of your allocated time. By playing to your strengths you help to create more beneficial interaction with your more engaging audience. By keeping this stronger marketing segment content and engaged you increase your possibility of greater expansion within the marketplace. People tend to share content and information they find appealing and word of mouth is a golden marketing tool. Remember never to become complacent when you find success, just as your muscles require exercise to develop, your marketing will require some redesigning to remain effective.

Do not abandon or overlook your weaker marketing segments. Try to find out what is causing the lack of interaction and fine-tune your initial presentation. Presentation is vital in the marketing process, so your current presentation may be weak or unappealing. You do not necessarily have to be equally strong in each of your marketing segments but make the commitment to not put a half-hearted effort in any of your initiatives which drop the quality of your appearance.

5) Live by Your Message

A fake message can only last for so long. Be authentic and true to what you say and live by what you preach. Make sure all your platforms convey the same message and speak directly about your capabilities that differentiate you from your competitors. It is imperative that what you deliver through marketing can be traced back to how you operate in your business operations. If you preach efficiency, operate within it; whatever you proclaim be sure it is feasible and attainable. In business reputation is everything so do not make the dire mistake of being branded as deceptive and unreliable.

Marketing requires engaging the marketplace through informative sometimes bold initiatives. Be sure you communicate effectively and not erratically. Stay true to your designated purpose and do not venture off your path widely just to be more “attractive”. While it is necessary to make beneficial changes do not confuse your target market with mixed messages. You will attract the desired attention to yourself by being authentic and creating value through excellent products and services.

Marketing is a very important tool for every business but for an entrepreneur it is vital. Differentiate yourself from the competition with a well planned marketing approach that attracts the attention of your target market. Excellent products and services create more value towards your marketing efforts so do not neglect work when seeking out customers. Engage your target market with beneficial information and interaction and your marketing initiatives will see positive gains.