The first step to marketing strategy creation is to identify a few key areas that you need to understand in order to create a good plan. While a well- thought out plan is going to be more comprehensive than what we’ll illustrate below, this is a good place to start.
Identify your target audience
Do you know who your target audience really is? This can actually be a much more difficult question to answer than you might think. For many small businesses, they may think that any business that brings revenue in the door is their audience. However, you will quickly discover that not every client is going to be a good fit for you. To avoid spending a lot of time marketing to the wrong audience that either won’t convert or won’t be a good, long lasting client down the road, you need to understand who your true target audience is. So how do you do that? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What industries are ideal for my product or service?
- Am I targeting B2B or B2C industries? Or perhaps both?
- What’s an annual budget range my ideal client would have to spend with my company?
- What kind of problems would my product or service be able to solve?
The more questions you can answer regarding your target audience, the better you will become at determining your ideal customer.
List your top competitors
Which companies are attracting clients who could be a good fit for your products or services?. WHile they may not offer exactly what you offer, if they’re taking away potential business from you, they’re a competitor. Below are a few items to start identifying who your competitors are:
- Which companies offer the same products are services as you? These are your direct competitors.
- Which companies offers products or services that could be an alternative to what you offer? These are your indirect competitors.
Competitors can be any company who you lost business to when trying to acquire a new client. They could be anyone who is attracting traffic to their website over yours, even if you don’t feel they can compete with you.
Determine your unique value proposition
This might also be called your unique selling proposition (USP). Really take some time to determine what makes your product or service unique. When going through this, think about what makes you unique and different from all of your competitors. Have you been in business longer? More locations? Better customer services? Come up with as may as you possibly can, not matter how small you might think they are. Establishing a compelling UVP is very important in creating a marketing strategy that will help your business.
Look at the marketing you’ve already done
While not applicable if you’re just starting out, this is a big step for those who are just now taking a step back to look at their efforts. What have you done so far for marketing? What’s working? How do you know it’s working? Are you tracking lead sources? Of the efforts that do “work” how much did it cost you vs. what you got back? In other words, what’s your ROI? Don’t get rid of something that may seem expensive, like AdWords or radio advertising, if you can show the ROI is good. On the other hand, don’t keep doing something that’s not working simply because it’s “free” (time is just as big a consideration as monetary costs). Track your marketing efforts and understand what you’re getting out of it. If you’re unsure how to do that, engage the services of a small business marketing professional to help.
The four items above are just the starting point to creating a good marketing strategy plan. The key is to start a marketing strategy plan to help you plan your marketing efforts. Marketing takes time, money, and a lot of effort. One of the best ways to effectively do small business marketing is to develop a strong marketing plan. This plan will ensure your marketing efforts are aligned to your target audience, will help elevate you above your competition, and showcase your unique value proposition to your customers, all while being measurable for the best results.