Do you have a marketing plan in place for your small business for this year? How about next year? The fourth quarter is usually the time when business owners take stock of where they are and lay plans for what they want to do in the coming year. While there is plenty of time to put together a plan for 2020, it’s not too late to pull together a few strategies for the rest of 2019. This might even give you a head start on building interest and attracting customers for next year. Here are some questions to ask yourself when writing a marketing plan for your small business:
• What do you do? This might seem like a rather obvious question, but it is not as simple as it appears on the surface. You might be tempted to say something like, “I sell widgets” or “I clean houses,” but those are just the outward manifestations of what you do. What you really do is help your customers in some way. You might make their life easier or better, or help them achieve some goal they have. This is your value proposition which needs to be consistently communicated to all of your prospects and customers.
• Who can benefit from what you do? Sometimes everyone can benefit from a product or service, but sometimes the audience is a little more limited. You need to have a good understanding of who your target audience is, and how they benefit from your business.
• Where is my audience located? Can your service area be narrowed down to a specific geographic region, or do you offer something that can be used by people across the country? This affects how you are going to communicate. In a specific geographic region, you can be a big fish in a small pond with a solid marketing effort. In a larger geographic region, you need to concentrate on what you do best to make your company stand out from the competition.
• What is my budget? It helps to attach a realistic dollar amount to your marketing plan. If your budget is small, you need to spend more time taking advantage of social media and digital marketing. Don’t be afraid to rely on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and email, as long as you have a strong message to share. If your budget is large, you might be able to include more traditional forms of marketing.
• What can I do? Being an entrepreneur sometimes means you are a jack-of-all-trades, but this might not be the best strategy when it comes to your marketing. If you are really good at something by all means do it. But if your skills are lacking, find someone who can do it for you and concentrate your efforts on what you do best.
Plan your work and work your plan, and you’ll set a foundation for success.