Marketing is an integral part of running a business. Marketing involves letting people know about your business, what you sell, and why they should buy from you.
Marketing for small businesses can be tricky. While big companies have huge budgets and teams of people to do marketing, you have to do it all yourself!
There are many ways to market your business, some cost-effective than others. The best way to find out what works is to try things out.
A marketing plan helps you organize your marketing efforts and schedule them for the future. It can be as simple or as in-depth as you want. This article will help you write a solid starter marketing plan for your small business.
Before you dive into the nitty-gritty of marketing, you need to know what you’re aiming for.
Marketing is not a one-time event but rather a continual process. You will not achieve success if you do not maintain or continue your efforts. You have to have goals in place to know if your marketing is working or not.
Before creating any type of marketing, you should outline what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it. The goals can be financial, like making a certain amount of money by a certain date, or they can be non-financial, like increasing customer awareness of your business.
Both are important to note so that you do not spend money on advertising that does not return profit. Financial goals can also be adjusted depending on the results of your initial marketing campaign.
There are many types of campaigns that can be run to advertise your business. Some cost money while others do not, but all help increase awareness and traffic to your business.
Before you can develop a marketing plan, you need to understand your target customer. Who is going to benefit the most from your product or service and why?
What places or groups of people are you targeting? What’s their age, gender, income level, geographic location? What do they want or need?
As a small business owner, you may have to play all roles involved in the business at times. You may not have time to delve into the details of your target customers.
A great way to start is by using demographics. Look at statistics for age, gender, income level and geographic location and find patterns. Which of these groups are most likely to use your product or service? How can you reach them? How can you make them aware of your business?
Thanks to the availability of data, it has never been easier to identify who your target customer is. You can do this by using surveys and polls that ask questions about demographics and targeting specific people based on those answers.
Your marketing plan should include a section on your business’s competitive advantages.
What makes your business better than the rest? What will draw customers to you instead of to your competitors?
If you don’t have any advantages, now is the time to re-evaluate whether you should open a business at all.
No one will buy from you if you do not have anything to sell. In order to sell anything, you need customers first, and for that, you need a good product and marketing.
Having a solid understanding of your strengths as a business is an essential part of developing an effective marketing strategy.
Many small businesses fail not because their products and services are inferior, but because they do not understand how to market themselves effectively.
Your competitive edge may be the quality of your products or services, the price point at which you offer them, how quickly you can provide them, or some other factor.
A unique selling proposition is what makes you stand out from the crowd. It’s what makes people interested in what you have to offer.
For example, if you run a bakery, your unique selling proposition might be that your baked goods are vegan and gluten-free. That is what would make people interested in your products instead of the other bakeries in town.
As you develop your marketing plan, try to identify at least one UNSPUNS SELLING PROPOSITION FOR YOUR BUSINESS that you can incorporate into your marketing efforts.
Your USP can be as simple as providing high-quality service or offering a specific service at an affordable price. These qualities would attract potential customers to your business because they know they are getting quality service at an affordable price.
If you are running a business that does not sell any quality services, then re-think your UNSPUNS SELLING PROPOSITION.
A marketing plan should include a section on marketing partners. Marketing partners are people or organizations that help you with your marketing.
These people or organizations may be social media influencers, other businesses, or individuals that can share your information via their channels.
You can create campaigns or collaborations with them to spread the word about your business and their business as well. This creates an exchange of value for both of you.
Partners can also help spread the word about your business through email newsletters, social media posts, or simply by communicating with their own customers about your business.
Finding quality partnerships takes some research and trust but will pay off in the long run.
Before you dive into the nitty-gritty of marketing, you need to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish.
Most business owners have at least a few objectives they want to achieve with their marketing. Some of these objectives may be to increase brand awareness, generate sales leads, or improve their reputation.
It is important to list all of these objectives so that your marketing plan encompasses all of them. You will also be able to organize your campaign most effectively if you know what you want to achieve.
For example, if you want to focus on generating sales leads, then your other marketing efforts will be geared toward that goal. You will invest in strategies that lead to more sales, not ones that increase brand awareness or improve reputation.
Planning ahead and being conscious of your objectives is critical for achieving success with your marketing campaign.
Marketing is not free. You need to have a budget for marketing in your strategy. If you do not have a budget, you can take steps to market your business without spending money.
We’ll discuss some no-budget strategies later in the article. But first, you need to decide how much you want to spend on marketing each month.
Some small businesses start with just a few dollars per month and gradually increase their marketing spending as they grow. Other small businesses start with a higher monthly budget and adjust it depending on how well their marketing is working.
Whatever number you choose, make sure it is an accurate reflection of what you can afford and will help your business grow.
A time limit is an important part of a marketing plan. You should write when you want to have achieved your marketing goals.
If you want to gain new customers, you should write that you want to have gained new customers within a month, for example. If you want to retain your current customers, then write that your goal is to have retained 75% of your current customers one month from now.
This way, you can measure how successful your marketing campaign is by the outcome. If in a month you only gain one new customer, then you need to reevaluate some things.
Having a time limit on your goals also helps make the goals more achievable and concrete. You will know when you have achieved the goal by the time specified in the plan.