If you want to be successful at marketing your small business then basically you need a marketing plan. When you do not have a marketing plan it is usually due to one of four stumbling blocks and this article will show you how to overcome these.
Marketing plans do not have to be complicated or a pile of paper that you never look at after you finish. Your marketing plan should be dynamic, simple and provide a road map for you to follow throughout the year as you go up against your competitors for the hearts and minds of your target market.
The Time Factor
Marketing plans do not have to take weeks to develop, however if you see articles saying you can develop a marketing plan in 5 minutes do not believe it. The reason is that you have to take time to think about your business, competitors and customers. That said you should be able to develop a dynamic marketing plan in 3 weeks spending about 1-2 hours for the first 2 weeks to gather your information. Week 1 could be spent analyzing what is happening in your market and conducting a competitor analysis. Week 2 you can analyze your customers and their attitudes and behaviour towards your business as well as look at past marketing activities and your business performance. With all this information you should be able in week 3 to take about 1 hour to develop your marketing objectives, marketing strategies and marketing tactics. The next year you will find it will take even less time, especially if you review and analyze throughout the year.
The Money Factor
Whether you have $500 or $50,000 to spend you need to maximize the results from your marketing activity. Also if you are providing a service then your time is money and you want to make sure that you are not wasting a minute of it. Select the key marketing activities you want to implement and divide them into months or quarters and put a dollar value and if you can an objective against them. Then after every 3 months, look at the results. This is a simple way to see if you achieved what you wanted to achieve or not. If the marketing activities worked then that is great as you can always repeat the marketing tactic again.
The No Need For One factor
Think of yourself as a customer and you will quickly realize that our attitudes, needs and desires and how we feel about different brands and business can change over time. Whilst you may have loyal customers, a new competitor will always be trying to tempt them away from you. Review your customers each year and see if you are satisfying their needs and desires. This then helps you to select marketing strategies and tactics which will ensure your customers remain loyal.
The No Experience Factor
There are many small business marketing tools available to assist you with your plan, from software to templates to books and seminars. The key is to start simply. Just choose 1 objective you want to achieve with your key customers, then think of 1 strategy which will become your focus to retain, attract or expand your customers and then choose 2-3 marketing tactics to implement which will support this.
Marketing plans are a great road map for any small business to follow and as you gain more experience and learn what works and what does not it becomes easier each year.
© Marketing for Business success Pty Ltd 2008