So, you are thinking of starting a small business? Or perhaps you have already started one and have quickly realized the need for an effective marketing strategy. Small businesses have certain handicaps when it comes to marketing. They don’t have the capital and connections to conduct the massive campaigns that large companies can. On the other hand, small businesses have the advantage of being close to the people they serve. If you run a store in a particular city, you probably a good working knowledge of the industry in that town, and where your potential customers are located.
How can you go about structuring a small business marketing plan? Let’s break down the components:
Products and Services
It is important to clarify exactly what it is that you are offering. If you give people only a general idea of your product or type of product they may hear about your business, and they may be looking for exactly what you are providing, but not know! For example look at this product page from a well known bank. Notice how clearly the services are broken down even on the main page. You need to go into as much detail as possible about your products. This includes things like prices, amounts, and sub-types of products.
Where will you be offering your product? A brick and mortar store? Online? Both? (Sometimes the combination can be very exciting for people!) Having a clear idea of where your products will be offered is obviously very important for building a marketing strategy. There are divergent ways to market to an online audience and a physical, local, one.
Method of Marketing
Now that you know that you are selling and in what venue or venues you will be offering it, you need to figure out how you will let people know. There are various methods for marketing both physically and online. Is a highway billboard the best way to get the word out about your business? Or are you better off conducting a targeted flyer campaign? Will you advertise online via click through ads as on Facebook? Or will you offer your potential clients some real and valuable content to pull get them to visit you online or in person? An example of the latter is a well-maintained blog about your industry. In deciding on the proper method of marketing, consider carefully the first two sections outlines above.
Every marketing campaign costs money. To a certain extent all the decisions you make about your strategy are constrained by budget. It’s very important for your budget to be detailed. Figure out exactly how much you can and want to spend. Once you decide on a budget, stick to it! The point of marketing is to increase revenue for your business, not waste money.