How to create a great marketing plan
When it comes to small business marketing, your options may be limited due to your budget and your experience. Hiring a marketing specialist to help you create a marketing plan will be money well-invested. A successful marketing plan for a small business will focus on your existing products and how to get them into the hands of your customers. Your marketing plan should be more than just a way to advertise to your customers, it is a great way to educate the public about your business, your products, and your services.
Marketing is all about communicating with your customers and building lasting relationships with them. You need to establish your business in your particular market sector and focus on building trust with your customers. Small business marketing is a life long service that should go on throughout the year, not just once and awhile when you need to push your sales and increase your revenue in a short amount of time. Here are some simple steps you need to follow in order to create a great marketing plan:
Step # 1 - Define your target market
Who is your target market? What customers are searching for your products and services? How can you reach your customers? A great place to start is to do some market research. You can do this by getting on social media sites and getting in touch with your customers. Try to understand their buying patterns and to find a way to reach them. Get involved in the discussion boards so you can talk to your customers about your company and products. This is a great way to find out what your online reputation looks like and to see what public opinion is about your company so you can change it with good publicity if you need to.
Step # 2 - What products are you selling
When it comes to finding your customers, why do they want to buy your products? Take a good look at your products and figure out who your niche market is and why they would to purchase your products. How does your product fulfill a need for your customers? Put yourself in your customer's shoes so you can figure out what they are looking for. Take a look at your industry and learn about your competition. What type of trends are going on in the industry and what type of message are your customers getting from your business? In addition to defining your products, you also need to take a look at your pricing strategy. Are you pricing yourself out of the market? Can your customers actually afford your products or services?
Step # 3 - What can you afford
Of course on one of the most important things you need to consider is the cost of marketing. What can you afford to spend on marketing? Since you are a small business many of the print advertising may not be feasible. This is where your website and the internet will come into play and provide you with some great help. Your website is a marketing tool and it is much cheaper from pay-per-click ads and other marketing promotions. Design your website in a manner that is content rich and friendly to your customers as well as the search engines.
Make your website user friendly and easy to navigate. Do you do a lot of e-commerce on your website? Set up an e-commerce page to provide your customers with additional buying options. Consider creating social media pages where you can interact with your customers and promote your products. Twitter is a great place to offer new information about your products or services to your customers. It's also a great way to strengthen your relationships with your customers as you can provide valuable information to them.