In my small business consulting experience, I've noticed that most entrepreneurs and business owners share a similar trait. The majority of people are “doers,” not “planners.”
In reality, being a doer is perhaps the most defining characteristic of a successful individual. It's what distinguishes entrepreneurs from the rest of the population. Rather than wishing or thinking, they go out and make things happen.
However, I've met a lot of small business owners who get themselves into trouble by "doing" the wrong marketing activities correctly or "doing" the right marketing activities incorrectly. You must start with a marketing plan if you want to "do" the right marketing activities the right way.
You don't need to chop down a tree to create a successful marketing strategy. In fact, you can put together a successful small business plan in just one day. To begin, don't be concerned with writing style or making your plan look fancy. Let's get started by getting a pencil and paper.
Many small business owners make the mistake of latching on to a cool product or service without first learning about the market and what it wants (not what it needs). People will not buy something they don't want if you try to sell it to them.
That's all there is to it. People who have desperate wants that aren't being met are a profitable market, and they'll jump at the chance to buy your solution (product or service). A profitable market is comparable to a lake teeming with hungry fish. It's as simple as tossing in some bait, and it'll turn into a feeding frenzy. To gain a better understanding of your market, consider the following questions:
The first step to easy sales is to get to know your customer. You can't create an effective marketing plan unless you know who your customers are, what they want, and what motivates them to buy.
Don't mix up "wants" and "needs." People don't always buy what they require, but they almost always purchase what they desire. Have you ever known someone who went to the store to purchase a pair of pants and returned with a new shirt, sweater, and shoes?
How about the regular shopper who goes to the supermarket to buy milk and eggs but leaves with a frozen pizza, cheesecake, and other treats? People will buy what they want, not what they need (even if they don't have the money!).
To truly understand your customers, ask yourself questions like:
Nobody will be your customer if you say your target customer is "everyone." There is a lot of competition in the market. In a small puddle, rather than a large ocean, you'll have more success jumping up and down. Carve out a niche and dominate it, then move on to a second niche (but not before you've dominated the first!).
You could be a "child accident liability lawyer," a "used car dealer CPA," or a "dry cleaner for the Heritage Park subdivision in West Oaks, CA." You see what I mean. Make sure to pick a niche that you're interested in and can easily contact. This is something I can't emphasize enough.
Nothing is more damaging than selecting a niche with which you are unable to communicate or with which you must pay a significant sum of money to contact.
Your marketing message not only informs your potential customer about what you do, but also persuades them to become a customer. Two types of marketing messages should be developed. Your initial marketing message should be succinct and direct. This is sometimes referred to as your elevator speech or audio logo. It's how you respond when someone asks, "So, what do you do?"
The second type is your complete marketing message, which will appear in all of your promotional materials and materials. The following elements should be included in your marketing message to make it compelling and persuasive:
Remember how I said it's critical to pick a niche that's easy to reach out to? You'll see why that was sound advice when it comes to selecting your marketing medium(s).
Your marketing medium is the vehicle through which you communicate your marketing message. It's critical to select a marketing medium that provides the best return on investment (ROMD). This means you should select the medium that will deliver your marketing message to the most niche prospects for the least amount of money.
The following is a list of some of the tools you can use to spread your message:
The key is to tailor your message to your target audience and deliver it through the appropriate medium. It's pointless to promote your retirement community on a hip-hop radio station with a fast-paced, loud radio spot. The market, message, and medium are all completely out of sync. When these three elements are well-balanced, success will follow.
Your success depends on your ability to set and achieve goals. A goal that hasn't been written down is referred to as a "wish." You're still wishing for success if you haven't written down your objectives. Use the SMART formula to set your goals. Make sure your objectives are sensible, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
Financial elements, such as annual sales revenue, gross profit, sales per salesperson, and so on, should be included in your objectives. Non-financial elements such as units sold, contracts signed, clients acquired, and articles published should all be included.
Implement processes to internalize your goals with all team members, such as reviewing them in sales meetings, displaying thermometer posters, and awarding achievement prizes, once you've set your goals.
Your marketing budget can be created in a variety of ways, depending on whether you want to be more precise or just come up with a rough estimate. It's a good idea to start with a quick calculation and then back it up with more information.
To begin, if you've been in business for more than a year and have kept track of your marketing costs, you can easily calculate your "cost to acquire one customer" or "cost to sell one product" by dividing your annual sales and marketing costs by the number of units sold (or customers acquired).
The next step is to multiply your cost to sell one unit or acquire one customer by the number of units you want to sell or customers you want to acquire. This simple calculation will give you a rough estimate of how much money you'll need to meet your sales targets for the coming year.
The One-Day Marketing Plan In Seven Steps is complete. It's really that simple. Of course, you'll need to learn more about your chosen marketing medium(s), their suitability for your message, and their associated costs. However, avoid making the creation of your plan a time-consuming and tedious process.
Remember the 80/20 rule: you'll get 80% of your results if you put in 20% of the effort. The final piece of advice is to devote uninterrupted time to developing your marketing strategy. It's possible that it'll be the most important document you and your team ever look at.
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