Finding Customers and Growing Your Drone Business in 2017

Director of Marketing at Skyward

Over the past year my team and I have had the opportunity to hear from many of you about the interesting ways you are using drones and the challenges you face in building your businesses. In fact, during each of our monthly webinars, we ask you about your biggest challenges and what continually tops the list time and time again is marketing your business and finding customers.

Getting a solid marketing foundation set up from the beginning is really important—and I’m not talking about putting up a website and creating a brochure (yes, those are important). What I’m really talking about is defining what makes your company different and establishing yourself as a trusted service provider.

Having a solid marketing strategy can make the difference between the success or failure of your business—especially as a flood of new drone service providers begin to enter the market (as of today there are already tens of thousands of FAA approved remote pilots). Here’s the good news: You’re already a few steps ahead of all the businesses that will start up in the next couple of years.

But what’s the first step in getting organized and making a plan? Spend some quality time thinking about what you do, who you do it for, and why you are different. I bolded that last part because it is the MOST important.

Your potential customers need a way to tell the difference between the companies they evaluate. If you make it easy for them, they will be more likely to choose you. So often, companies get selected for the job simply because they were better at marketing their services and they made it easy for their customers to choose them over the competitor.

Understand your business and how you are different than other drone service providers

Before you create any marketing materials, launch your website, or design your logo, take some time to think through what your company is all about and what is going to set your company apart from the other hundreds of drone businesses in your area.

This can feel like a big commitment, and it is! But don’t let that hold you back—you can always change it down the road. At Skyward, we revisit this exercise almost quarterly and adjust it as our business evolves. I suggest filling out a marketing message document, which serves as your guide for who you’re talking to, the story you tell, and how you tell it (I’ve included the one we used here at Skyward below). This will guide your future marketing materials: your website, your brochures, social media and PR, events, and speaking engagements.

Without a messaging document to guide you, it’s too easy to get distracted by the Next Big Thing or to take a lot of small steps in different directions that don’t add up to much.

Getting started is usually the hardest part, but once you have all of this information in one place, you’ll be surprised at how much time it will save you when someone asks you to summarize your company in a short paragraph and decide if attending XYZ event is right for your business. It will also keep everyone in your company on the same page about who you serve, what you do, and why you are different. Consistency is key! Most people need to hear a message SEVEN TIMES before they remember it.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Marketing Message Template
Download your own copy of the marketing message template

Sample Marketing Message Template

Your Business’s Promise
(What benefit do you provide that makes your service valuable.)
Look at examples from well known businesses and how they ring true—then translate that to your business.

Examples:
BMW: “The Ultimate Driving Machine”
DJI: “The Future of Possible”

Positioning Statement The positioning statement says what your business does, who your customers are, and why they should care.

Example:
For businesses that use drones, Skyward connects all the people, equipment, and projects involved in a commercial UAS operation into one efficient workflow.

Target Customers Be specific about who you serve. The more specific you can be, the more relevant your marketing will feel to your potential customers. You want them to think, “Wow, they created this with me in mind.”

Pro tip: Don’t try to go after too many different markets at one time.

Mission Finish this sentence:

Our mission is to …. (be literal)

Tone of Voice It’s important that your website and materials “speak” to your customers consistently and reflect your business accurately.

At Skyward, we aim for a tone that is:

  • authoritative but not bossy
  • nostalgic but not old-fashioned
  • expert but not condescending
  • easy but not simplistic
Elevator Pitch Use plain language and avoid jargon. Keep it to 10 seconds long.

Here is Skyward’s elevator pitch:

The Skyward platform connects all the people, projects, and equipment involved in your drone program into one efficient workflow. Companies and fleet operators configure Skyward to meet their business requirements in order to scale faster and easily manage complex processes.

What makes you different? #1 #2 #3
Headline Benefits
(What value to do your customers get from each of these differentiators?)
Supporting Examples
(features/functions that you provide)What are the proof points—be specific?
FREE DOWNLOAD: Marketing Message Template
Download your own copy of the marketing message template

Knowing so many small business owners struggle to find customers in this emerging market, we have put together a special offer to kick off your marketing efforts in 2017 and grow your business. Our Business Essentials package is now included with every Skyward Business subscription. The package includes a 30+ page ebook with specific advice and steps to kick off your marketing, including public relations, social media, email, events, and internet advertising. It also includes some other essential documents to help you communicate with your customers and operate like a pro.

Business Essentials Kit Includes:

    • Proposal Template
    • Scope of Work Template
    • Invoice Template
    • Marketing eBook for Drone Entrepreneurs (30+ pages with our top recommendations)
    • Property Owner Permissions Document
    • Visual Observer Briefing/Non-Participants Briefing

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