Starting up a new business and doing it so you are not wasting time or money, you need an effective strategy, you need a marketing plan.
Essential components of a marketing plan that keeps the sales pipeline full.
- Market research. Research is absolutely one of the most important aspects and the backbone of any marketing plan. Believe it or not your local library is a great place to start, with all the reports it has to offer like Standard and Poor’s or IBIS World. Finding consumer buying habits in the industry, market size, market growth or decline, and any current trends.
- Target market. A well-designed target market description finds your most likely buyers. In addition, you should discuss at least two or three levels of segmentation.
- Positioning. In the marketplace what is the feeling of your brand? Develop compelling branding and marketing messages that communicate with how you want to be perceived, this could mean the difference in how the market (customers) sees your brand. (i.e. Example: If you are a restaurant who sells beef, do customers see you as the place to go for a plain old hamburger or the place to go if you have got an appetite for a nice big black angus steak?
- Competitive analysis. Knowing who your competitors are and what makes your products and services different. Knowing the ins and outs of your competitors will help you better position your business and stand out from the competition. Like what price point are they selling at, what segment of the market are they aiming to reach? Understanding of this will certainly set your business apart from the rest of your competitors.
- Market strategy. Ask yourself this, “How will I find and attract my most likely buyers?” This is the core of what your marketing strategies path is and to your sales goals. With, explain your core goal should look at the entire marketplace and then breakdown specific tactics including such as events, direct mail, email, social media, content strategy, street teams, coupons, webinars, seminars, partnerships, and other activities that will help you gain access to customers.
- Budget. Develop a month-by-month schedule of what you plan to spend on marketing, Also, you may want to include a “red light” decision point. For each activity, setting up a metric that tells you to STOP if it is not generating enough return on investment (ROI).
- Metrics. Track your marketing success with Google Analytics for website conversions and a simple Excel sheet to compare your budget against the actual ROI. Testing programs within a 30 to 60-day period, and evaluating the results. Repeating any programs that are delivering sales or sign-ups to your email list, and do not hesitate to get rid of anything that is not.
Having a sound Marketing Plan will help you get started. If you are not bringing in leads you may need a better marketing plan. One day you may want to pitch your business to potential investors so just knowing your business is only the tip of the iceberg.