Marketing is a very effective form of communication for most any type of business. Marketing communicates to potential customers that you are open for business and that you have something to offer. Without marketing, consumers might never even know that your business exists.
Marketing is a constant, ongoing effort to create new customers, to keep them very satisfied and to have them recommend your business to others.
Your marketing plan should include:
• Your goals in terms of the number of customers you want to create and have relationships with;
• How to reach these goals – who’s in charge of this marketing campaign, what they’ll need to do to reach these goals and what’s the budget needed to accomplish these goals;
• How and what to check your marketing progress once it’s in action to make sure that you are on the way to reach your goals; and
• What to do if things go wrong. It’s always smart to have a backup plan.
The Steps to Develop a Marketing Plan:
• Determine what your financial goals will be for the next weeks, months, and years.
• Analyze the customer base and competition in your area.
• Define your objectives (what are you trying to accomplish – how many customers you want to create every month, etc.).
After the objectives are set then you must determine what activities you will need to do in order to accomplish those objectives.
• The results of the activities you undertake must be constantly measured so that you can determine how you are performing in relation to your sales goals.
• Adjustments must be made to ensure that your marketing activities are continually working toward meeting and exceeding your sales goals.
If you don’t know who your potential customers are and where to find them, you cannot successfully market your business. Think about what type of people would benefit from your business, what are their ages, income, where do they live and what type of personal/lifestyle habits they have.
Look at what your competition is doing. You may gain great insight on how to reach your potential customers. In addition, you may be able to offer better incentives than your competition.
Developing quality content is one of the most important ingredients in marketing, regardless of the type of industry your business is in.
• Direct Mail (These are flyers that can be mailed out directly to certain households in your businesses target market area);
• Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest);
• E-Newsletter (Email Based Marketing);
• Involvement with local schools or other local community organizations. Fulfilling requests for donations for their fundraising events in turn for marketing to their families, also directly contacting them to try to set up school fundraising events/spirit events;
• Occasional Deals Sites: i.e., Groupon, Living Social, etc.;
• Promotion of positive reviews from clients that are “fans”;
• Partnership with local clubs and/or professional associations; and
• Participation in local events: fairs, festivals, etc. If available, you can secure a table/tent and provide fun services and give-a-ways such as, face painting, raffles, coupons, etc. to promote the business.
Marketing is essential for every type of business. However, your marketing dollars and time spent will mean nothing if you cannot back up what you’ve marketed to customers. Make sure that you can deliver whatever it is that you are marketing to your customers.