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 and for many this is no easy task.
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 here are a few questions to get you started.
Who Is Your Target Market?
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.
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.
What Makes Your Products Unique?
There are bound to be other companies out there selling goods similar to yours. So, what makes yours different? Why would someone buy from you and not another company? Remember here that 'products' actually means your offering, which includes services as well. The term refers to whatever people buy from you.
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. If, in the end, you find that your product unfortunately resembles basically everything else on the market, how can you change it to make it unique?
What Do You Want Your Marketing to Achieve?
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.
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.
Pat Simes is a Business Strategist, blogger and Founder of Innovative Business Solutions and Innovate Academy. She currently resides in the Midwest and is committed to inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs to transform their vision to reality.