Starting the new year with a new marketing plan for your small business is a great idea. Small business marketing does not have to be expensive, but it should be just as well thought out as if you were marketing a large corporation. Deppe Communications has helped many local and small businesses create a complete marketing plan to ensure that their marketing dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively.
In honor of the start of our new year, here is our “Top 10 List” of resolutions for marketing your small business.
- Understand what part of your business generates the most profit for your business. And, alternatively, figure out if there are any products/services that are costing you money. You may want to keep that as a “loss leader” if it is something that typically generates future business, but you absolutely should be able to quantify it. Don’t just use your gut, but actually analyze your costs vs. your profits. Sound like finance instead of marketing? Yes, but it usually won’t help you to spend money advertising a losing product or service. That’s a poor marketing investment.
- Figure out who your customers are today – then go find more like them. This sounds so simple, and it is a basic marketing rule of thumb. But truly knowing your customers requires data and making a concerted effort to learn more about them.
- Write at least 2 or 3 “SMART” goals for your business in 2015. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. An example of a good SMART goal is “Increase sales of 20-foot garden hoses by 25% before September 1, 2015.” Having specific goals should come before you start figuring out how to market or advertise your business. Otherwise, how will you know what to invest your marketing dollars in?
- Don’t confuse action for strategy. Buying a bunch of ads might get your name out, but it is not a marketing strategy. If your advertising is not targeting the right people, at the right time, with the right message and using the right medium, then you have wasted your investment.
- If you are not familiar with marketing basics, then DIY (Do-It-Yourself) is not a good idea. No matter if you have a little money to spend or a lot, a good marketing or advertising consultant can make your investment go farther.
- Stop spending money on advertising randomly. If you are responding to the last sales pitch that walked in your door, you are probably wasting your money. Media sales people are nice people, but they don’t have your best interests at heart – they just want to sell ads. Ask for proof that their product is reaching your target audience. Then figure out how much you are paying for each person reached.
- Know what your UVP is – Unique Value Proposition. What makes you different from your competitors? Why should customers choose your business over brand X? Consider things like location, service, quality and price.
- Know your competitors. Today, when your website is often the first contact with a customer, your competitor is not necessarily the company across the street. By going online and doing a search (be sure to sign out of your Google account first to get better results), you will find out which other companies are in your space.
- Be creative. Come up with new and interesting ways to entice customers to choose you. In this very competitive global marketplace, finding a way to stand out from the crowd is more important than ever.
- Set aside money in your budget for marketing. Whether it is to send employees to networking events and trade shows, or a full-fledged advertising campaign on TV, radio and billboards, marketing requires an investment. It is typical to budget between 1% and 3% of gross revenues for marketing.
Want help creating your new marketing plan? Contact Deppe Communications now.