You have worked hard to build your small business into what it is today. You know every aspect of the company, how it works, where it should go and almost every speck of dust on the floor. You are an expert in your industry and know your business. Unfortunately, you may not be an expert in marketing your business.
This is not uncommon– in fact; it is the norm that small business owners are generally not experts in marketing. You have had so much on your plate from day one in beginning your business, that you probably have not had the time to learn how to properly market and advertise. In the case of many small business marketing strategies, they appear to be a general mish-mash of fragmented ideas and tactics from a variety of in-house and external sources.
Even small business owners who feel they have a solid grasp on marketing often miss out on areas that should not be overlooked. The importance of proper marketing should also not be ignored. You may feel as though your business has already been successful through your current strategies, but there is no reason to miss out on any opportunity to grow.
If you are like so many other business owners, you need to develop a better marketing strategy. Particularly companies that do not normally deal with technology need to understand the importance of social and online advertising and how to properly take advantage of the opportunities they offer. The internet age has provided unlimited possibilities for small business, and it is important not to be left behind.
How to Create a Marketing Strategy
One of the main functions of a marketing strategy is to provide your company with a guide which it can follow and keep the whole team on the same page. It allows you to set down the direction in which you want your company to go and lays out a clear path to follow.
Once you have your marketing plan set out, you will have clearly defined goals and know how to achieve them. So what should your marketing blueprint look like? It will vary according to your industry and goals, but there are some key components that every solid marketing strategy should include:
- A snapshot of your company: In marketing terms, this is often referred to as a situation analysis. It is an overview of who you are, what you provide and what is unique about your company. It should include the strengths and weaknesses of your business and how you relate to your competition.
- Your target audience: The first key to any successful marketing program is understanding who you hope to reach. You need to have a solid grasp of who your customers are and the kind of people you believe would be interested in your services. It is usually helpful to separate your target audience by demographics including gender, age, geographic location and other defining characteristics.
- Your marketing goals: Any solid plan needs to have clearly defined goals. This may seem pretty straightforward, but you need to lay out your goals correctly. This way you will have a benchmark by which to measure the success of your strategies and implement changes when necessary.
- Your marketing strategy: Now that you have your goals in place and know what you wish to achieve, you have to lay out realistic plans of how to get there. Even though you may not be an expert in marketing, you need to have at least a few simple strategies with which to begin. You may need to reach out for help to fully develop robust strategies at some point, but you can still take advantage of (good) ideas provided by the staff you already have and drawn up on your own.
- Your marketing budget: Here is the part that nobody likes to deal with. This is often what causes many small business owners to pull their hair out and tear up the whole plan. That is why it is important to develop a realistic marketing budget from the beginning. It can always be adjusted later if necessary, but it is important to allocate a certain amount and stick with it for a while, even if it doesn’t show immediate returns. Create an outline of which marketing investments you need to make and how much each of them will cost.