So thats the first month of the new year over, so we can stop calling it the new year now, its 2016 (and its 8.3% over)
If your are still procrastinating about your marketing ideas (and that would make you one of the 60% of small business owners who do) then here are a couple of ideas to get you started on your marketing plan for the year
1. Who is your ideal target customer
make a list of the things that make your ideal customer, for instance your ideal customer is the one who
a) understands that in order for me to provide them with a great service they need to pay me
b) is within 15 kilometers of my business
c) Pays their bills on the date requested
d) requires the service I am offering on a regular basis
There are a number of other things that you may put into your list, just about anything you can think of that makes them ideal.
Then make a list of the clients who you currently have that meet this criteria (or most of them).
Consider how you got these people as a client and then identify ways to market yourself to a similar group of people
Consider the clients you have that don’t meet any of your ideal target client criterai and put their price up!! (If they go away you will probably find you haven’t lost much)
Understanding whom you are selling to (and who you aren’t) is critically important – it can save you a lot of time and energy and help you come up with marketing ideas to target them.
2. Identify what your customers are really buying
Ask your best customers (those who meet the criteria) what they like about doing business with you and more importantly why they keep doing business with you the answers may surprise you, for instance you may think the clients are buying from you because you wont be beaten on price (not a great USP but thats a discussion for another day) and then you find your clients are buying because they consider you to be a great person to deal with. You can then tailor your marketing along the lines of what the customers are actually thinking rather than wht you think they are thinking
3.Identify your business goals
Ask yourself where do I want my business to go?? Be honest with yourself, you may want to increase sales with a view to selling, you may want to increase sal;es with a view to employing more people, only you really know the answer and knowing this can keep you focussed on the end result.
4.Evaluate your competition
Looking at what your competition are doing can be very helpful. It can show you where you are going right and where you may be going wrong. Don’t forget that just because they have different marketing ideas to you doesn’t mean it is working for them, although it may give you some ideas of your own!!
5. Get help if needed
Creating marketing ideas and carrying out a marketing plan takes time and money.
Your business should budget for both of these things. It is one thing having a marketing plan but quite another to actually carry it out. Do It Yourself Marketing is fine, there is nothing wrong with this approach but dont fall into the trap of only finding time for your marketing when you are not busy, or throwing money at every passing fad or snake oil salesman claiming to be the latest thing in marketing.
Marketing is hard work and you should ask yourself if partnering with a marketing expert for planning and execution while you run your business would be a faster path to success. (if you think this may be an answer I just happen to know of some).
So if you have not already made a start on your marketing spend a few hours considering these points and put your plan into place.