As mentioned in my previous blog, take your time to research, discuss and have a rigorous debate about your business and marketing plan.
Generally, companies start with a business plan which incorporates all departments including finance, operations, sales and marketing. Your organizational structure will look very different depending on many factors.
This ensures you are all working towards common goals and objectives. If you are a small business and don’t have representatives from all and spending too much money is not profitable. Then wear the marketing and sales hat and think about how spending money to promote the business will bring in revenue and be a great investment for the longevity of the business.
Once your business plan is in place start working on an effective marketing plan. The first thing to note is that it must align with the business vision and goals. There are so many templates in the cloud that there isn’t any excuse not to produce an effective marketing plan.
Ask yourself these questions as a great starting point:
- What is your product or service
- What are the business goals and objectives in relation to this product or service
- What is the vision of your business in relation to this product or service
- Who are your target market
- What kind of finances do you need to get started
- Do a S.W.O.T analysis. What are the product or services strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- What will you do to address the weaknesses and threats
- What’s your unique selling proposition / what is your product’s point of difference
- Who are your competitors
- Conduct some market research – primary and secondary before launching
- Discuss your pricing strategy – what will the initial demand be like, future, demand and so on…
And the list goes on…even before you get to the marketing strategy
An effective marketing plan doesn’t mean it is set in concrete! On the contrary, it is designed to be recently visited, monitored, measured and changed. Work out what is working and what isn’t and adjust the plan as required. This is an effective marketing plan.
If you don’t have time or are getting bogged down with the million and one things you could be doing get some help from a marketing consultant. They can quickly cut through the thousands of ideas out in the cloud and assist you to write a marketing plan and choose the best marketing strategies within your budget and which will give you a quicker return on your investment while allowing you to get on with what you do best. Once you have your plan, work your plan!
Effective Marketing Requires you to Narrow your Target Audience
Working out who your target audience is right from the beginning is so important. You can’t be everything to everyone and marketing to a large population of people is very time consuming and costly. Ensure you ask yourself a number of questions to work out who you are selling to before spending money on marketing your product or service. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do you need to consider certain demographics: age, gender, salary, residence, job title, industry?
Would they buy my product or service rather than competitors?
What communities or groups do they belong to?
What interests them?
Where are they likely to go to purchase your product?
If you know your product or service well you may know the answer to a lot of these questions however conducting additional research can help you discover a lot about who your customers are. Before launching and marketing your product you may consider:
Conducting a survey to who you believe your customers are?
Conducting a focus group of a few people and asking them questions about your product or service?
Doing some research via government departments such as the Bureau of Statistics that exists in Australia if your product or service is not new to you, you may already have the answers to a lot of these questions however narrowing down your target market is critical and given that there are so many free online survey tools in the cloud why not conduct a survey to a small population of people who you believe most represent your target market? You might find a few surprises. Here are some free online survey tools to get you started:
Conducting appropriate research to know who your customers are will save you a lot of time and money. It will not only indicate who your highest potential customers (target) are but also who the next group of customers are. This is definitely effective marketing because as your business grows you already know and your product gets some traction you know who to target next. Start small and build from that there.
Effective Marketing Requires the Right Packaging
It is your brand! If you get it wrong then you will never get your business off the ground and if you keep going through rebrands these are time-consuming and costly.
Yes, there are many free tools out there online such as design software, pictures, and free websites but if you don’t know what you are doing and/or you aren’t creative you will find yourself spending more money on the time you have lost to either learning or creating something that isn’t appealing at all.
It’s your brand! Work with a graphic designer and marketing consultant to help you create your brand and ensure that consistency is the pinnacle of your marketing strategy. A graphic designer will help you with the design of your brand and make sure it is appealing to your target audience.
We spoke with the owner of Navigate bathrooms from Perth and found from him that he is investing around 20% of his company income towards digital and traditional marketing, which got him great results to that point he wants to increase it to 30% in the coming years.
A marketing consultant will help with your key messages to ensure that you are communicating an appealing message to your target audience. When I mention packaging it isn’t just the tangible box or wrapping your product comes in, it includes the business:
- – Logo
- – Key messages
- – Website
- – Business cards
- – Letterhead
- – Envelopes
- – Promotional mailers – (online or print)
- – Billboards
- – Advertising (online or print)
- – TV commercials
- – Brochures
- – Seminars (PowerPoint presentations)
- – Videos (YouTube, website)
- – Webcasts
- – Trade booths
- – Social media sites (Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter)
- – Content Marketing is a really important area and best to leave for a future blog
- Before you launch, do some tests! Use your free online survey to ask some questions about your brand. Does it appeal? Are there any suggestions for change?
Effective Marketing Requires a Strategy
This is when we start to discuss how to effectively market your business and products and how important a well thought out marketing strategies are.
The digital age has created a plethora of opportunities for small to large businesses to market their products. There is really no excuse for any business to remain silent these days. On the other hand, the internet presents so many opportunities that many businesses are getting bogged down with the importance of blogging and posting on various social media networks that they are forgetting the basics on marketing strategy and what tactics to employ.
Here are some simple questions to ask yourself:
What is the best way to enter the market?
How will you attract customers? For example is your business completely new and therefore you need to start from scratch, or do have an existing business with existing customers who you can cross-sell your new product or service to?
Is your product or service business to consumer (B2C) or business to business (B2B)?
What will your marketing strategy be and do you have a sufficient budget to do everything that you want to?
What activities do you believe are best such as advertising (print, online, TV or radio), direct marketing mailers (print or online), promotional merchandise (giveaways), public relations, seminars and events, tradeshows, websites, social media, blogs, search engine
optimization (SEO) and the list goes on?
What do you expect from the activities you choose?
What will the cost be of each activity?
What are the objectives of each activity and how long before they come to fruition or in marketing lingo get a return on your marketing investment (ROMI)?
Take time to work on a marketing strategy before launching and promoting your business and get a good mix of marketing activities ready for your product that will fall within your budget!
The website is central but you still must be found.
A Great Website is Central to Effective Marketing
In today’s digital world every business whether it is a small office/home office (SOHO), small business, all the way through to a large enterprise, must create a great website. It is extremely rare that anyone under the age of 35 looks for products or services in the yellow or white pages nowadays and if they are they are generally doing it online.
The website is the epicenter of your business but that doesn’t mean you can forget about other marketing channels.
Remember just because you have a great website doesn’t necessarily mean that your business can be found. I won’t go into details in this blog about how your great website can be found but what I do advise is that you work with a web developer to create your website and also use other avenues to promote your product and push your customers to your website to find out more. In this article, We haven’t gone into everything that includes Digital Marketing because there will be an abundance of articles coming to our blog soon.