Small Business Marketing
Small business marketing should be aimed at attracting that critical mass required to foster organic growth as well as broadening your existing customer base. All successful business marketing plans will follow the same core principals which we are now going to examine.
The first thing to consider in your small business marketing plan is your target audience. You need to identify the characteristics of the customer you are trying to market to, so that you can effectively isolate them and market to them. You may identify your customers by:
- geographic location
- consumer tastes
- financial or social status
- relationship status
Once you know the type of customer you want to attract, you can then come up with ways that you can market to them. In order to have a successful small business marketing strategy, you need to know exactly what your target audience is.
Once you have determined the audience of your small business marketing plan, it’s time to pay some thought to the message you want to send. Think about what differentiates you from your competitors, and why a customer might prefer to engage your business. If your point of difference is price, then price is your primary message; if your point of difference is quality then quality is your primary message. All successful marketing plans have a clear message targeted to a specific audience.
Now that you have your target and the message you want to send, you need to decide on your vehicle of delivery. Small business marketing is all about targeting a specific audience in a cost effective manner. If your target is high school students, you might consider advertising near train stations. Whether you pay for a sign or you hand out flyers, you need to be marketing where your target audience is available to engage.
Internet marketing has become a popular small business marketing strategy in recent years due to the ability to advertise to a narrow market segment. Facebook will allow you to market to specific gender, age and occupations and even show ads to people based on their hobbies and interests.
The next aspect of your small business marketing strategy is the execution of your plan. You need to deliver your message to your target audience in the most effective manner within your budget constraints. All marketing strategies should have a goal and a budget. If you set out to spend a certain amount of money you should expect to get a certain return on that investment. Try and establish what the minimum you would need to spend in order to be reasonably sure a customer base would form, and how big that customer base would have to be to cover the cost of the marketing. This cost of lead approach to marketing plans helps you keep a lid on budgets and encourages you to be more creative in your small business marketing campaign and think outside the box.
Finally, you need to review and refine your marketing campaign. After you have executed your marketing strategy for a predetermined period, you need to analyse the success of your campaign and reconcile it to your projections. If you projected twenty new customers from a two hundred dollar marketing spend, then you need to count your customers after you’ve spent the two hundred dollars. This is just as much about making accurate projections as it is about measuring your success. No small business marketing campaign will have a 100% hit rate, but you need to develop a marketing strategy that is sustainable. If a marketing campaign pays for itself then it’s a success, otherwise you might need to think about where you went wrong.
Small business marketing often consists of one person designing a targeted campaign on a shoestring budget. The financial constraints on small business mean that you need to be clever with your campaigns and conservative with your projections. Never spend too much money before you’re tested a marketing method, and never stop analysing the results of every marketing decision you make.