How To Get Started With Designing Your Small Business Marketing Strategy
By A. MacDougall
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, your marketing strategy is extremely important in that it drives the sales that keep the lifeblood of your business flowing - cash. Therefore, although it might be something that seems quite boring initially, it is very important to invest some time and creativity in developing your go-to-market plan.
Just like every other entrepreneur and startup, it's crucial that you have a great marketing strategy in place to ensure your business success. However, this is often easier said than done. Firstly, no-one really likes putting plans together to begin with, and then when you do get down to it, there are so many options and possibilities that it's starts to get very confusing, very quickly.
With that in mind, I thought I'd write an article with a few pointers to help you get started. Here goes.
1) Before You Do Anything, Make Sure You Identify Your Target Market
Although this may sound beyond obvious, you'd be surprised at how many people don't think about this. If you don't think about this early on - or not at all even - then you'll soon be wasting precious time, effort and budget. It really is worth figuring out who your target market is so you can target them with razor sharp and relevant marketing.
Here a few pointers to help with this:
- It is best to be excellent at designing great marketing campaigns designed perfectly for a smaller audience than it is to poorly target a wider audience
- Don't try and be all things to all markets - know who your target market is, what they want and put all of your attention in that direction
- It often pays to look at what other businesses in your sector are up to and who they are marketing toward. You might also be able to learn a few things by joining their online communities and email/lead nurturing lists
2) Then, Make Sure You Know How To Reach Your Target Market
After you have squared away the point above and you know who your target market is, you should now spend a bit of time figuring out the best way of reaching and delivering your message to them. Although it seems like we should all be active on every new social network or platform that comes our way, this really isn't the case. All that matters is that you find out where your intended audience is and that you meet them there.
For example, if your business is B2C focused and you only sell to individuals/consumers, you may well find out that social media networks are the perfect place for you to connect with your market. Or, it might be that your research says that operating a stand at a local market is the best way for you if you are a local small business. On the other hand, if you are in the business-to-business (B2C) markets and you supply clients across the country, you might decide that a telemarketing campaign or a presence at an industry trade show is the way to go.
In reality, you will most likely need mix of marketing channels to reach your audience - just remember the crucial thing here is not to chase every shiny new social network or marketing strategy that comes your way, but to make sure that you judge everything properly and only invest in activities that fit your goals and industry
3) Finally, Make Sure That You Keep Your Marketing Strategy 'Agile'
The last tip here is to say that in this day and age, it's really important that you adopt an Agile marketing approach to your overall strategy. Basically, the concept with this is that modern, digital marketplaces change incredibly quickly and we therefore have to be in a position where we can quickly adapt our marketing strategies to keep up. Remember the point above about not chasing every shiny new network or strategy that comes your way? Well that's only really half of the story. The other side is that you also have to be in a position to accept that things often change and that your strategy will probably have to adapt from time to time too. An Agile marketing strategy allows you to achieve this by encouraging you to analyse and measure your strategy on a regular basis, rather than every 6 or 12 months as would be the case with a more traditional, rigid plan.
So, the important thing is to have a degree of flexibility in your plan so that you can effectively adapt to shifting markets and customer requirements. That way, your business will continue to be able to find leads and bring on board new customers, even during difficult and unpredictable times.
For more information on designing your small business marketing strategy, please take a look at: my blog - thanks for reading!
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