You may have heard that all small businesses should have a marketing plan, but did you know that very few actually take the time out to create one. The task of creating a marketing plan may seem daunting and intimidating, but you can create a simple and effective marketing plan by answering the following 8 key questions about your business:
Who is your target market?
You’ve probably heard this before, but it is VERY important to understand exactly who your target market is for your product or service. When it comes to understanding your target market, it is not limited to just knowing the demographics like the age range, gender, geographical location, income level, etc., but also knowing the psychographics of your target market. This includes items such as belief system, personality traits, attitude, etc.
Once you understand the demographics and psychographics of your target market, then your marketing effort becomes much easier!
What is the problem that your target market has (as it relates to your product or service)?
List specific problems that your target market has as it relates to your product or service. Imagine how these problems make your target market feel stressed out, overwhelmed, uncertain, etc.
Once you fully understand how your target market feels, you will be better able to communicate effectively to your target audience!
How does your product or service solve that problem?
Be sure to focus on how the benefits of your product or service solves their problems. You can mention some product features, but the benefits are what people are interested in. Benefits focus on the advantages i.e. your product makes a person look younger, become healthier, etc. and features focus on the characteristics of your product or service i.e. over 10 years on the market, fast acting, etc.
Your message should be 80% about the benefits of your product or service, and only 20% about the features!
Why should they buy from you and not your competitors? What is your unique selling proposition?
These are the things that make you and/or your company different. Your customers want to know what makes you better than your competitors.
The more able you are to effectively communicate why your company is the best solution, the better your marketing efforts will be.
Where is your target market?
You need to find out where your target market is located geographically and specific locations. This could include local (cities, counties, etc.), international (countries). Places could include associations, festivals, groups, organizations, etc.
Find out where your target market is in large quantities, so you can reach them in large quantities.
How do you reach your target market?
Are you reaching out to your target offline through networking, advertising, media, or online through your website, social networks,blogging, etc.
You should have several ways both online and offline to reach out to your target market.
When do you reach out to your target market?
Create a marketing calendar. Plan out the next 90 days, 6 months, to a year of marketing activity. Schedule your activity daily, monthly, quarterly, and stay organized.
Plan out your marketing activity in advance in order to successful execute your marketing activities.
What do you say to your target market?
How you communicate to your target market can make the difference between success and failure. Use messaging that your target market can understand and relate to.
Use appropriate messaging that your target market can relate to. Know the best keywords and buzz words to use in your content.