Small business marketing does not have to be complicated or costly. The concept of marketing is to analyze your customers' needs and decide how to meet those needs. There are a few key topics to keep in mind when developing your marketing plan. Marketing plans go beyond advertising because you need to know what your competitors are offering in order to satisfy customers better.
Create a marketing plan
Marketing plans start with identifying who your customers are and how you reach them. Determine what is unique about the business that will bring customers to you and identify your target customers according to specific demographics. For example, a makeup business's target customers are women, and an auto parts company's target customers are people who have vehicles. Identify your competitors, both small and large companies, who are targeting the same customers. Then list your marketing goals to help you develop the plan.
The four P's of marketing are price, product, promotion, and place which is also known as the marketing mix. This identifies the way you offer a product to your target customers. Ask questions about what customers need from your product or service, how and where it is used, and how it is different from competitors. Determine where it is placed and the distribution channels it goes through to get to customers. Price is important to get your target customers' attention, and you have to decide if you will offer discounts. Promotion involves how you reach your customers and the best time to promote your product or service.
Another critical concept in small business marketing is a SWOT analysis which can be done for competitors and your business. A SWOT analysis compares strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats. It is good to examine your business's SWOT analysis with your competitors to identify what strengths you have over competitors. Strengths are characteristics that give an advantage over competitors while weaknesses are disadvantages. Opportunities are elements in the industry that are exploited for their advantages and threats are elements which can cause problems. Examine both internal and external factors to get a clear view of both your and your competitor's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Make the most of print, digital, and other marketing methods
Small businesses should take advantage of every marketing tool that makes sense for them. Print, social media, traditional, and digital marketing should ALL work together to connect you with your customers. You can use postcards and direct mail to reach your target customers with advertising, promotions, or discounts. Social media can be used to target very specific market segments. And you never want to neglect the value of the organic traffic you can get from a properly optimized website.
Putting all of this together for small business marketing will help you meet the goals you identified in your marketing plan. SWOT analyses help you understand your strengths and opportunities. Taking advantage of all available marketing opportunities and channels will help your customers better understand your business and the products and services you are offering.
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