Marketing is doing whatever it takes to get your brand exposure. It’s grown out of the older, more narrow term advertising. Generally speaking, marketing is one of the main components of a successful venture. Whether in business, government, the non-profit sector, and other areas of life, marketing are critical to getting your message out there. People even use marketing themselves, to promote who they are and what type of experience they have in their careers.

In terms of business marketing, it should be a serious focus of any company, right along with hiring the right people and dedicating time and resources to product development. A lot of founders and even large, successful companies make incredible products only to see them fail or languish in the market because marketing was done poorly or not at all.

Here, we’ve gathered the basics of marketing in a Marketing 101 guide that will guide you through what marketing is and how you should be using marketing in whatever you’re doing. We’ve included things you can start doing now to grow your audience, promote your products and services better, and create the success you envision for yourself and your organization.

All About Marketing Channels

Marketing channels means where you market your goods and how. The main marketing channels include:

Content Marketing – Content marketing is doing things like writing blogs, publishing newsletters, and other content. You use them to highlight how your products are used, successful customer experiences, new product releases, etc. Ideally, your content marketing should be done on a schedule and released or updated regularly to stay top of mind for your customers says Ross Kernez of Marble.

Email Marketing – There’s a reason so many websites, surveys, and other places online ask for your email address. It’s like an online calling card. When you have potential and existing customers’ email addresses, you can reach out to them with new promotions, talk to them about what you’re doing as a company, and ask for reviews.

Video Marketing – Video marketing is experiencing a huge period of growth as more people consume their media via video. Video content is a lot more engaging, but also more difficult to produce in high-quality clips.

Social Media Marketing – There are several different social media platforms and companies market on all of them. You can design your social media marketing campaign based on who you want to target and what you’re promoting. They are all different and attract different demographics. Think Facebook vs LinkedIn and how people use them differently.

Broadcast Marketing – Broadcast marketing includes things like TV commercials, radio ads, and, more currently, podcasts.

Online Search – Companies pay big money to be at the top of the first page or even on the first page at all when you search for a certain keyword. You can improve your rank by doing things to generate traffic to your site like blogging and posting frequently. There are also ads you can pay to appear on the page.

Print Marketing – This is more of a traditional marketing channel. Print marketing refers to things like newspaper ads, billboards, magazine work, and anything else that is written.

Thinking About Which Channels to Use

The channels you use and how you use them are often decided by how much money you have to spend marketing and where your sales are coming from. For example, if you’re a new company with limited resources, you’re going to want to focus on where you get the best return for the money you’re spending. If, say, Facebook advertising is netting you the best returns in terms of leads and sales, then you’ll want to maximize your efforts there. Larger companies with more resources that are focused on growing into new channels and demographics can afford to experiment and try something new to generate new demand.

Since this is a marketing basics article, we’ll approach this topic from the perspective of a small company.

Creating Marketing Funnels

Making marketing funnels is a great way to focus your strategy and align your marketing efforts with an end goal. First, you need to ask yourself what goal you want to accomplish? Do you want to increase your brand image in the marketplace? Do you want to use marketing to close more sales?

Set your end goal, and then work on creating a marketing funnel that moves people further along in the process. A common marketing or sales funnel includes the following stages:

Strangers – These are people or potential partner companies who have never heard of your products or name.

Visitors – Visitors are people who visit your site, click that Google ad, or take some other action after they’ve viewed some piece of your marketing.

Leads – Leads are potential customers who you have identified as being a good fit for what you are promoting. These are visitors who then take the extra step of submitting contact information. Companies gather leads with things like surveys, free product offerings, great content that draws people in, etc.

Customers – These are people who have purchased goods or services after visiting and becoming a lead.

Promoters– Promoters are customers who have had a positive experience with what you’re promoting who then do things like tell their friends, post on social media, or write positive reviews online.

Your marketing strategy should be centered on moving people further along the stages of your funnel.

Making a Marketing Calendar

Mapping out your marketing calendar is the best way to measure your approach, budget for your marketing costs, and measure your success. You should have a schedule that regulates when your blog posts will be published, how often you’ll be retargeting leads on social media, and how soon you’ll email people after a visitor has been to your site. Map out your marketing calendar in quarterly increments so you can go back and review how successful you’ve been. Then, based on your results, you can adapt and refine your processes.

Understanding Your Cost of Acquisition

Cost of acquisition, pay per click, conversion rates, and other tools are used to measure your marketing success. You need to track these figures and understand where you can deliver the greatest value for each marketing dollar spent. Then you can use these data to become more efficient and attract an even bigger audience.