Do you have a solid business plan? Marketing plan? Strategic plan? Or are you winging it and hoping?
Creating a plan and sticking to it can improve your results. A plan becomes your blueprint for success. We most often see small businesses winging it, because business development is not their knowledge base. They are wonderful at their craft, but creating a plan and living that plan is not in their ‘wheel-house’.
Developing solid strategies and tracking those strategies gives you the real world information that you need to move your business forward in a predictable and reliable way.
Marketing isn’t simple. To do it right, it requires a great deal of planning. Small businesses without massive marketing budgets have to handle this aspect of their business themselves or outsource in an affordable way. To do this effectively, either way it should be part of YOUR plan and not just a hope.
This is why businesses create a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a detailed document that includes the data you need to make marketing decisions and set a course of action that you can implement immediately. Drafting a marketing plan takes a great deal of time and work, but in the end, the benefits to having a plan are worth the effort that you have put into it.
Here are a few questions to get you started.
If you’re already selling, take a look at your existing customers. Who are they? What do they like about your company’s products? Try to recall any positive feedback you’ve gotten from them. Naturally, if your brand resonates with these individuals, it will resonate with others like them.
It sounds simple but so many business owners tell us that EVERYONE is their ideal customer or ANYONE is their ideal. Defining your true customers is an exercise that is worth your time. It directly IMPACTS your marketing strategies and tactics.
If you don’t already have customers, defining your target market may take a bit more work. Look at companies that offer similar products to yours. Who is buying from them? Who could benefit from your products? Try doing some market research to glean some idea of who your target market is.d
There are bound to be other companies out there selling goods or services similar to yours. So, what makes yours different? Why would someone buy from you and not another company? Think about it for yourself, why do you buy from one company instead of another? Is it the product or the customer service, the location? There is always something that causes the person to hit that BUY button.
If the unique qualities of your products don’t come to mind immediately, some work needs to be done. Do some soul searching and look for the strengths of your products. Write down everything that you love about your product/service. Include what you have heard from your customers.
If, in the end, you find that your product unfortunately resembles basically everything else on the market, how can you differentiate it to make it unique?
Every business takes for granted that it needs to market, but why? The ‘why’ is critical. You need to identify exactly what you hope to achieve through your marketing because this will guide all of your efforts and help you choose which tactics are most appropriate.
Are you trying to build your email list?
Do you want buyers directly on your website?
Is your marketing for new leads?
WHAT is a critical question.
Once you know who your target market is, what’s unique about your product or service, and what you want to get out of your marketing efforts, you’re ready to get started with your marketing plan.