It’s time to take marketing seriously. You might have a fantastic product or service, but if customers don’t know it exists, there is no point in being in business. To make sure that your product is presented to consumers, you need marketing strategies that work for your small business. This article will focus on developing a marketing plan and budget for your small business – something we will get into more of in the next article!
Step 1 of a marketing strategy: validate the market
How do you know if your offering is good enough to meet your customers’ needs? This is part of the validation process. First, you should validate the market or see if there is a need for it. Here are some questions to consider to help you with this.
- How big is the market locally, nationally and globally?
- How often do people buy your type of product?
- How big is your market opportunity?
- Do your customers buy daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or every five to ten years?
The answers to these questions will be:
1) Show whether your offer is sustainable and
2) Help you develop your marketing plan and tactics.
After you’ve reviewed the market, go deeper into your target audience or customers.
Step 2 of a marketing strategy: define your target market
You need to find out who your target market is for your product or service. And the truth is, it’s never “everyone”. Nobody is going to buy anything when everyone can use it.
The most effective strategy for success is to create a customer profile that includes as much information as possible. Answer the following questions:
- Who is your client?
- How much income do your customers make?
- Where are you?
- Are you male or female? Which age?
- What is their level of education?
- Are they educated or not? Manager or Senior Employee?
- Can you see your client’s face? How do you look physically?
Remember, the more you understand your consumer, the greater your chances of closing the sale. It’s time to describe what makes customers buy once you’ve identified your customer.
Step # 3 of a Marketing Strategy: Creating Customer Value
Many company owners are characterized by the description of their products and services. However, few understand how to convey their goods or services in order to demonstrate value to the consumer. Explaining benefits is very powerful because if you can help the customer achieve the goal, the product will sell itself.
Start by figuring out what characteristics your customers like and dislike about your service. Next, you need to base your marketing plan on how customers perceive the value of your product. WIIFM is an acronym for “What’s In It For Me?” So it is important to consider the consumer’s interests when formulating a marketing strategy and to understand and communicate what makes your product / service stand out.
Step 4 of a Marketing Strategy: Identify Your Competitors and How You Will Handle Them
Today’s economy is seldom faced with a product or service that is not competitive. Unfortunately, however, your competitors direct their messages to the same people as you, so your message can get lost in the spam.
To avoid this, explain to your customers exactly what defines you. What sets you apart from the competition in your product or service? What is your unique selling proposition and how will it help your customers? For example, you may have a longer warranty than your competitors. Alternatively, you may have a track record with other companies. Share these unique perspectives of your product / service to help you stand out.
The four main components of developing a successful marketing plan are market validation, identifying the target audience, creating customer value, and identifying your strengths over your competitors. Once these steps are completed, it is time to define the tactics you will be using and your marketing budget!
Be on the lookout for Part II of this series as we tackle the next two steps!