Small Business Marketing Made Simple

An effective marketing plan will:
-Identify the ideal customer
-Compare you to the rest of the industry or market
-Allow for evaluation of what works and what doesn’t work

10 step plan:

1. Describe your target market.
Be as specific as you can be in identifying and describing what the ideal customer looks like, and how they make buying decisions.

2. Gather information that describes the current market so you can position yourself correctly.
Who are your competitors? What they are doing? What they aren’t doing? What are the current trends?
Trade publications
The public library
Small Business Development Center (like the one at Kennesaw State)
Government websites
Industry related blogs, news, articles and newsletters

3. State your marketing objective.
Describe what you want your customer to do after hearing, seeing, or experiencing your marketing message, may be requesting more info, an estimate, an appointment, a purchase, a consultation…

4. Describe your competitive advantage (some call it your USP – unique selling proposition).
Why is your product or service THE one to buy? What problems do you solve that no one else does?

5. Position yourself (branding comes into play here…)
How will you be remembered? What will customers and prospects think when they hear your name? Who are you and who do you want to be? Your brand must be believable.

6. Identify your message vehicles.
How will you deliver your message? What are competitors doing and what will you do? Include advertising, publicity, public relations, networking. How will you create buzz?

7. Develop your identity/look, and flaunt it.
Customers learn to trust you based on your actions, not your business card. However once you develop a reputation, people will judge you by your looks and remember you by your logo, your business card, your storefront, signs etc.

8. Set your marketing budget, most often as a percentage of projected gross sales.
In 2007 the average U.S. business reinvested 4% of gross revenue in marketing. You may need to double that in the first few years of your business, in spite of any economic downturn.

9. Create a marketing calendar for the year ahead. Revist your plan quarterly. Consider what has worked and what didn’t. Make appropriate adjustments.

10. Call in a professional, like Inspired 2 Design. We help small businesses make the right choices for all 9 of the marketing steps listed above.