9 Steps to create a Simple Marketing Plan

Posted on November 28, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Planning, Marketing, Marketing Plan, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , |

9 Steps to Create a Simple Marketing Plan
Having a Marketing Plan to grow your business is important, but sometimes creating the plan can feel overwhelming.  This Blog Post simplifies the creation of your Marketing Plan, by breaking it down into 9 questions.  When you answer these questions, you will create a simple marketing plan for your business:

  1. WHO is your target market?
    You have to clearly define who you are trying to reach with your products and/or services.  When you understand who your audience is, you are better able to market and promote to that target audience, so clearly define you target market including the demographics (age, gender, income, etc.) and pyschographics (beliefs, personality, hobbies, etc.)  and this will help you to effectively market and promote your product or service to your target audience.
  2. WHAT is the problem that your target market has?
    You have to clearly identify what problem or issue your target market may have.  Most, if not all, products or services offer a solution to some type of problem.  It may be a direct problem or an indirect problem, but your target market should have some type of problem that your product or service will help to alleviate.
  3. HOW does your product or service solve these problems?
    After identifying the problem your target market has, now you have to show how your product or service solves that problem.  It is important to not only identify the features of your product or service, but more importantly to identify the benefits of your product or service.  People identify better with benefits rather than features.  Saying your product is “light weight” is a feature, mentioning that your product is “easy and convenient to carry with you because it is light weight” is showing how that feature is a benefit.  Taking the time to identify how you solve the problem and clearly articulating that in your marketing material will work to your advantage.
  4. WHERE is your Target Market?
    The next step in your Marketing Plan is locating the target market that you have identified.  The key is to find the places that your target market exists in large quantities.  This is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to your marketing activity.  The more people you can reach who are in your target market and are located in one place (an event, conference, workshop, etc.) the better results you will be able to get from your marketing activity.  You can find your target market in various places both online and offlline.
  5. HOW Do You Reach your Target Market? 
    Once you have located your target market, then you need to plan how you would like to reach them.  What activities will you do to reach your target market.  There are over 1,000 ways to reach your target audience (networking, advertising, email, video, speaking engagements, books, etc.)  so you have to decide what method works best for your industry, your company, and your audience.
  6. WHO are your ideal referral partners?
    Referrals can be one of the best ways to grow your business, so including in your marketing plan who your ideal referral partners are and working to build relationships with your ideal referral partners can really help you to grow your business.  If you are able, including some type of incentive for referrals works really well.
  7. WHAT differentiates your company from all the other companies in the marketplace? 
    It is important to not only identify who your competitors are, but to identify how your company is different from the others in the marketplace.  Once you clearly identify what makes you different than your competitors, then you are better able to articulate that in your marketing material to your clients and prospects.
  8. WHEN do you reach out to your target market and how much do you spend?
    Planning your activity is a very important step that many small business owners and entrepreneurs neglect to do.  The key to planning when you are going to reach out to your target audience and how much you are going to spend is to create a marketing calendar.  This calendar will allow you to plan out when you will be doing certain marketing activities, what that marketing activity will be, and how much you plan to spend on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.  Taking the time to do this activity can make a huge difference in the growth of your business.
  9. WHAT headlines will you use to catch the attention of your target audience
    Thinking about the words that you are going to use to catch the attention of your target audience is very important, so taking the time to think about relevant keywords for your audience and your company will help you to craft the appropriate headlines for your marketing material.

Have you created a Marketing Plan for your business?  If so, are there other aspects of your Marketing Plan that you include?

If you need assistance with creating a Marketing Plan for your business, we offer Marketing Plan Coaching for entrepreneurs and small business owners contact us to learn more.

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How do you differentiate your small business from all of the rest?

Posted on December 17, 2013. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Planning, Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , |

Your small business is probably not the only business in the world that does what you do, so how do you differentiate your company from all of the other companies out there?  The answer can be found in identify your unique selling proposition (usp). These are the things that make you and/or your company different, but sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what your unique selling proposition is?  Follow these three tips to help you to differentiate yourself from the rest of the market:

  1. KNOW YOUR INDUSTRY–  the first step is to know what is going on in your industry.  What is the latest and greatest thing out there.  What changes have you seen in your industry?  What has remained the same in your industry?  How can you be an innovator within your industry?  You want to make sure your company is doing things differently, don’t go with the flow, go against it!  Most of the major brands out there became successful, by doing it differently or offering it in a different way.  Apple did not get to be such a major brand by following the crowd and doing it the same way as the others in their industry, no Apple became a super brand by being innovative!
  2. KNOW YOUR COMPETITORS–  It helps to  know what your competitors are doing, so you can be aware of what they are offering and how you can offer it in a better way.  Nobody really likes to snoop around (well maybe some people do), but it helps to secretly shop your competitors and get to experience the way they do business.  Sam Walton the founder of WalMart was known to be obsessed with his competitors, he wanted to know what they were doing, how they were doing it, when they were doing it, etc. so he could do it better!
  3. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE–  I know I probably say this in almost every post, but knowing your target market inside and out is really key in knowing the needs of your customers, and identifying what makes your product or service the ideal solution for your customer.  McDonald knew that people wanted food quickly.  They did not plan to be the best burger and fries out there, but created a system that offered reasonably good food (I know that is debatable)  in a very fast way, which is what the consumers wanted!

So if you strive to be innovative, to do things differently than your competitors, and to know the needs of your audience, you are on the path to differentiate yourself from the rest of the market and becoming a successful brand!

What ways do you use to differentiate your small business?


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