April 12, 2013

How To Create A Marketing Plan For Your Small Business

A business's success depends on a strong marketing plan. Unfortunately, this is one area that many entrepreneurs and small business owners tend to overlook. Your business might offer the latest and greatest product, or the best service around, but if people don't know anything about your business, product or service it can be next to impossible to attract customer and succeed in the market.

The following 4 steps will help you to create a marketing plan for your small business:

Determine the demographics you want to target
It might be nice to think that the product or service you are offering is available for everyone, regardless of age, gender or income bracket. We all want to think that what we are offering is universal, but many times that is not the case. In order to have a successful marketing plan, and in turn a successful business, you need to narrow your scope of reach to a segmented market that will represent the greatest majority of buyers. It is this defined group that will be the basis of your marketing plan.

Determine the benefits of your product or service
Once you have an understanding of you demographic you will next need to focus on the key benefits of your product or service. The idea is to tailor the benefits to this particular group so they resonate in such a way that entices the potential customer to pay for your product or service. In this way you will want to develop a list of traits or benefits that speak directly to your target market. For example, if you have determined your target market is the type of consumer who seeks out high-quality products or services, high-quality is a benefit that you will want to emphasize in all of your promotional material.

Determine where consumers seek out product information
With the ease of searching for reviews on the internet, the majority of consumers today are well educated. In order to capitalize on this information dissemination you want to make sure you are well aware of the places your target market goes to seek out product information. Not only do you want to know where they are getting their information, but you need to also be part of that process. Make it easy for your customers to find information on your products and services and ask questions directly to your business, whether it is through email, a customer service line, twitter, Facebook, or through comments on your blog. The more you have a hand in helping your potential customers to find information on your products the more trust you will build with your target market.

Determine the time length from need to purchase
When it comes marketing your product and service, not only do you need to be aware of your target audience, and how to effectively communicate the benefits of your product or service to them, but you also need to know the length of time that it takes to turn a potential customer into a buyer. The product or service you offer will help to determine this timeline. Big ticket purchases such as cars, and high-end electronics may take days or even weeks for a potential buyer to turn into a full-fledged customer, where as consumables, such as food may only take hours for the decision buying process. Knowing this time length will help you to effectively market your business to consumers in an appropriate way.

With these 4 simple steps you can easily create an effective marketing plan that will speak directly to your target audience. If your demographic is wide reaching, you can always segment the group into smaller audiences and test each marketing plan accordingly. Knowing what type of marketing works best for each group will make your marketing plan that much stronger and therefore much more successful.

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