The best small business marketing help ever offered came from the Cheshire Cat. You may recall he warned Alice that, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do. In other words, you’ll never get there. A marketing plan is your roadmap to successful business growth and profitability. And isn’t that why you started your business in the first place?
So let’s start there, because without a plan, you can easily get sidetracked, wasting time and money.
One of the nice things about marketing a small business is that you can use localized techniques that are more affordable and better targeted than mass-appeal traditional advertising. Techniques like direct mail and networking give you the small business marketing help you need to both sell and personalize your business.
What do you want your marketing to accomplish?
You’ll undoubtedly have multiple marketing goals. If you’re brand new in business you need to reach as many people as you can, quickly, to start building your customer base.
Once you’re more established, you’ll want to add marketing goals relating to generating repeat business and, sooner or later, you’ll probably want to add a goal of re-capturing lapsed clients or patients. You’ll also want to create special-purpose campaigns, to solicit referrals, promote a seasonal sale, etc.
Who do you need to reach with your marketing message?
It’s possible that your potential customer base is absolutely everybody, but that’s pretty rare. So think about demographics such as age and gender, etc.
If your dental practice specializes in dentures or implants, you may want to target older adults with higher incomes. If you have a toy store, you’ll want to target parents of young children. Lawn care or carpet cleaning? You need homeowners.
Follow the tried-and-true SMART analysis to set your goals.
They have to be:
It’s too vague to say you want “more” sales, patients, money, etc. How many sales or clients? How much money? Use actual numbers and dollar amounts.
Analyzing your marketing is the only way to know what kind of return you’re getting on your investment, but you can’t do that without something to measure against.
This is your reality-check. Your business won’t be an overnight sensation, success is a process that takes time and effort. Realistic goals should give you something to strive for, but not be hopelessly far-fetched.
Your goals musts be relevant to you, personally, to be meaningful and motivating. Remember that your marketing has to be entirely relevant to your prospects and customers, in order to be effective.
Along with setting specific goals, you need to identify a deadline for achieving each of them. Marketing is an incremental process, so your goals should incremental too, building over time. That’s one reason it’s so important to use repetitive marketing techniques. Set monthly or quarterly goals, not just annual or “some day.”
Now it’s time to get some help.
Your marketing plan will be entirely your own, and only you can decide on many of these details. When it’s time to implement your plan, though, the best advice is to get professional small business marketing help.
You probably aren’t a graphic designer, a writer or a printer. You can’t afford marketing mailers or other materials that are anything less than professional looking, so team up with the experts you need to create and implement top quality. Quality gives your business credibility, and that encourages prospects to choose you over the competition.
Delegating to experts saves time and keeps you focused on running your business, too. Small business marketing help starts with you. Create a SMART plan, then team up with some experts and watch your business grow.