You already know the importance of marketing your business. You may even have gone so far as to write out a marketing plan and are now implementing it. Good for you! You’ve done more than most small business owners have done.
But is simply marketing your business – working your plan — going to bring you the success results you want?
Do you have a way of measuring the success of your marketing efforts? Suppose you are marketing your heart out but are not getting the results you had expected, do you know how to find out where you went wrong?
These questions point to important reasons why you need to put into place an MSP – a Marketing Strategy Plan. Your MSP will help you gain maximum benefit from the marketing you’re currently doing and will point you to ways to change your efforts when the need shows itself. The MSP goes a few steps beyond a traditional marketing plan.
A traditional marketing plan describes the activities you are doing – or are going to do — to promote your product or service. An MSP, on the other hand, establishes the basis for your marketing and provides the goals for all your marketing activities. It gives you a tool you can use to define your market, position yourself, increase your sales, and measure the results.
In recently restructuring my business – well, actually in the ongoing restructuring of my business – I’ve found these 4 basic things to have helped me in gaining a new perspective about not only what I want my marketing efforts to accomplish for me, but about what I want my business to be.
The following are some of the things a well thought-out MSP will tell you. Having this information in place so you can refer back to it frequently, will help you gain maximum results from all of your marketing efforts and ultimately increase your bottom line, but more importantly, will help you stay focused on what you are wanting to create from your business.
And remember, these are tools for you to gain some perspective and understanding. You do not have to share your answers with anyone.
Describe your business and your objectives. This is a surprisingly easy step if you simply write down what it is your business does and what product or service it provides. With this you will also consider what the goals for your business are.
When doing this step, look beyond the obvious goals for your business such as financial milestones, number of clients and so on, and ask yourself what it is that you really want when it comes to having a business. Sure, we want to help people and we want to earn a good living, but what is it that one overarching goal you want to achieve?
For me it is freedom. Only by being self-employed do I get to enjoy the freedom I have right now to travel the country in my RV, meeting new people, seeing new sights, and still a managing a business that is fun and successful. I get to call all the shots. And to me, that’s worth more than anything else I get out of having a business.
Once you’ve established your goals and objectives, you’ll be able to choose the marketing activities that will best help you reach those objectives. You get to choose what works best for you. I suggest choosing activities that are fun as well as profitable.
Describe your products or services. So many business owners have never really given much thought to what it is, exactly, that they’re selling. Or want to sell. Simply describe what it is you do and how you provide your product or service to your clients and customers.
It’s pretty important that you understand exactly what service your business provides so you can more easily tell others about it. This may seem obvious to you, but many business owners can’t describe exactly what it is they do. I’ve had this problem myself for a long time. And it wasn’t until I finally wrote down what I wanted to do that things began to come together for me.
By including these answers in your Marketing Strategy Plan you’ll ensure that you understand what you do and why it’s important. Then and only then can you relay that information to others through your marketing activities.
Profile your target market. Too many business people still believe that the answer to who their target market is, is everybody. This is nothing you haven’t heard before but when you decide just whom it is that you are providing your product or service for will you know any kind of success at all.
And yes, this kind of information should include things like, are you marketing to men, women or both? How old are they? Do they have kids? The way you market to different groups can be as different as the group itself. Know your target market and marketing becomes much easier to do.
Research your market to find out what appeals to them about your product or your service. This can be as easy as asking them. This will ensure that you are speaking their language and ensure that your marketing is appropriate.
Know your business’s role in relation to your competition. Most business owners either try to ignore that competitors exist or they try to copy everything their competitor does, but trying to one-up them. Neither strategy works.
Knowing how you fit in with your competition sharing the same marketplace will help you understand your unique position there. How are you different from your competitors? Are you stronger or weaker? Answer that honestly and you can use this in your marketing to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
I have lots of competition in my chosen field of marketing but I didn’t have to look far to discover what I offer that is unique to my business. I’m most interested in the creative side of marketing so I bring a unique blend of marketing savvy together with my design and printing expertise to help other business people get the word out about who they are and what they do in creative and unique ways.
I know marketing. I know design. I know printing. I can pull all those things together to provide my clients with effective marketing that they can’t get without going to three different people. As a bonus, I’m a small — ne, micro — business owner myself, so I understand the unique challenges that very small businesses face.
Once completed, your MSP will provide you with the goals and objectives for all your marketing activities and help you reach them. It will also simplify your marketing because you’ve done all of your research ahead of time. For these reasons, a Marketing Strategy Plan ensures that you are putting all of your marketing efforts into the right places so that you gain maximum benefit from every marketing strategy you employ.© Copyright 2010 Marty Marsh