Most entrepreneurs are aware that effective marketing is essential to the success of their business, but just aren’t sure where to begin. Here’s a tip- taking time to plan a marketing strategy should precede any marketing attempts. Just as you have to do intensive research for your business plan, you should also do a healthy amount of fact-finding in order to put together a well-oiled marketing strategy. Firms that are successful in marketing invariably start with a marketing plan. For the novice marketer, developing the plan may be the “heavy lifting” of marketing. There are many ways to develop and format a marketing plan, as well as many strategies to bear in mind. Click here to view an outline of marketing plan.
Market analysis and differentiation are the standard of marketing plans. However, something you may not have considered as part of your marketing strategy is the analysis of your competitor’s marketing tactics. Before you can effectively differentiate your business, you have to understand your competitors’ marketing messages as well as you do your own. Conduct a simple analysis by gathering the marketing materials from all your competitors–everything from their ads and copies of the main pages of their websites to sales brochures. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes after you’ve gathered the marketing materials from your competitors. If you were trying to make a choice between their products or services, which would you go for? Why?
A key to your marketing strategy will be diversity. As part of your marketing efforts you’ll want to implement a variety of methods, many of which you may not have considered to be marketing tools. Some avenues to reflect upon include:
- Corporate Branding and Logos
- Business Cards
- Press Releases
- Newsletter Campaigns
- Website Development
- Search Engine Optimization
- Web Directory Registration
Only after careful planning will you be ready to introduce your new message. To be effective, your new core message–with a unique point of differentiation–must be communicated throughout your marketing campaign and sales support materials.
A preliminary, short-term test using one form of media, such as a group of magazines or websites, may be the best way to determine if you’re on the right track. After you’re confident your target audience is responding effectively to your new message, expand it into all media.
Remember- “Frequency! Frequency! Frequency!” is the name of the game.
A well thought-out marketing plan is crucial for any small business.
Wondering how to write a marketing plan? Read our article 12 Marketing Tips that Work for any Small Business Marketing Plan!