By now, I bet you expected the sales to come rolling in. After all, you’re offering a killer product that fills a niche in the market. Your prices are reasonable, and your customer service is top-notch.
But that’s not what happened – is it? And that’s okay. What you need is a solid marketing strategy. It takes some time to put together an effective plan, and ideally you should complete it towards the tail end of the prior year. Now, if you are like some small business owners you might not have created your marketing plan as yet. The good news is that it’s not too late. Give yourself a fresh start, develop a marketing plan that will make this the year that your business takes off.
Here are a few elements to include and define in your marketing plan.
1. Set realistic goals
First, decide what you want to accomplish. A marketing plan is essentially your strategy for growing your business. It will help you stay focused and guide your success. Set realistic goals with tangible results. For example, if you need to achieve $1 million in revenue within 12 months, then you should define the number of visitors, leads and ultimately customers you will need from your marketing efforts. Think short-term because reaching small milestones along the way will keep you motivated and long-term since this is imperative to your continued success.
2. Define your target market
Hopefully, you already have a general idea of who’s buying your products or services. Further develop a profile of your target customer. Categorize demographic information about them. Take it a step further and analyze their purchasing cycles. Find out things like: What motivates them? What are their interests/activities? The better you understand your audience, the easier it will be to convince them that you have the solutions they need.
3. Develop your Unique Selling Proposition
This is where you identify what makes your business unique. List all the values and benefits that your products and services offer to your customers. Your marketplace may be crowded and you must stand out against your competitors in your offerings. Assessing your competition on a regular basis keeps you ahead of the game, helps you readily identify your uniqueness and aids you in shaping the right message to connect with your target audience.
4. Create a budget
Getting to know your audience should help you narrow your focus. Your marketing dollars are precious, and you want to get the best bang for your buck. Create a budget that balances what you can spend with the potential returns. You can hone this part of your strategy later, as you start to see what works. In your budget, outline and plan enhancements for your products and services. Also, outline your major marketing campaigns that you will be executing.
5. Create a Marketing Plan Checklist
Summarize the tasks that’s needed to make your plan actionable. This will assist you with methodically executing your clearly defined goals. It will keep you efficient and effective during the process. Marketing can be a daunting task and eliminating feeling overwhelmed is definitely a benefit of creating your marketing checklist. Marketing is an ongoing task to grow your business. Keep reviewing and modifying your plan as needed throughout the year. Don’t be afraid to get help from a marketing professional if you need assistance developing and/or implementing your marketing strategy. Prioritize developing a comprehensive marketing strategy and they will come! You can do this! Now, what are you waiting for?
A goal without a plan is just a wish. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry