Now that you have your business off the ground, it is time to raise awareness. But, for entrepreneurs and businesses with little to no marketing experience, that can be a daunting and overwhelming prospect.
While this is a bit of a simplistic view, these few steps will help when it comes to formulating a plan of marketing attack.
- Situation Analysis: Start by answering a simple question: What is the current situation? Maybe sales are sluggish and there is increased competition. This is the time for brutal honestly with yourself.
- Key Differentiators: Next, identify your company mission. What do I offer? What makes me different? This may be difficult, but now is the time to be candid with yourself. Changing misconceptions about your company is a key piece of any plan.
- Objectives: From there, you can define what want to accomplish this year and over the next 18 to 36 months. Is it increasing widget sales by 7 percent? Is it making sure you are in the consideration set when it comes to a purchase or a night on the town (if you are a restaurant, for example)? Be reasonable; world domination is probably a bit ridiculous.
- Audience: Who am I trying to reach? Is it buyers of widgets in the local school system? Be specific. The more specific, the easier it will be to tailor your tactics later.
- Key Messages: What do people think about your company? And, what do you want them to think? Write down three bullets about your business, products and/or offerings. These are your key messages you will want to include in everything you do.
- Platforms: Think about how your audiences want to receive information. If they hate social media and prefer carrier pigeons, then a Snapchat plan is not for you. That said, laying the groundwork of a social plan for future audience consumption may be worth considering.
- Strategies: How should we set out to meet your aforementioned objectives? Is it through sales, coupons or launching a social media presence?
- Tactics: What are your tactics? This is where you say run an ad in the local newspaper or meet the local reporter and work to place a story in the newspaper.
- Budget: Finally, how much are you willing to spend? It is perfectly acceptable if your budget is small at the beginning. There is no need to spend money for the sake of spending money. Small companies can do great work with limited budgets.
So many people want to jump in with a bunch of action. But, that is a mistake.
Marketing is all about a well-developed and thoughtful plan that works to meet business objectives.
The key to putting together a plan is to be honest every step of the way. If you are not, you will only harm yourself and your business.
If you need help, let us know. That is what we are here for.