In the current economic scenario, the business sector is booming expeditiously. According to reports, there are 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S alone, i.e. 99.9% of the United States Businesses. In this competitive environment, your Brand must have a distinct identity.
If you own a Small Business, there is a possibility that you have to understand the basic norms of marketing before stepping into the puddle of endless business opportunities.
Whether your business is three years old or three decades old, having a clear marketing strategy is critical for the growth and outreach of your business.
Marketing is about teaching your customers why they should prefer your product/service over others in the market. With traditional marketing tool, the process was expensive and hard to analyse. But with the latest online tool, this entire regime has become cost-effective and trackable.
The key to ace perfect marketing strategy is to reach out to the right people at the right place.
To create an effective marketing plan, you need to have a clear vision of a few things – where do you want to market, who is your audience and what is your mission.
Don’t worry; we have answers to all of your growth queries. In this blog, we have covered all the aspects of an effective marketing plan for your Small Business. But you have to remember that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept or a silver bullet to your success, you have to tweak this plan according to your industry and market.
But, how to get started?
The first thing for an effective marketing plan is to understand what outcome will your marketing strategy drive. 15% of small business owners say marketing and advertising is a challenge for them.
Create an outline of what you want to do; the strategy will give an insight into how to achieve it. Make sure your business has a goal and a set timeline to obtain it so that you create your strategy around that goal. The timeframe will make your goals rigid and give you the push to attain it.
For example, If you have a retail store outlet, your goal can be introducing a new store in another area in another four months. This goal can be further broken down into other small-objectives which can be attained in a shorter time frame. These objectives can find a place, peak-area, create buzz, advertise, conduct promotional events etc.
So, once your Marketing Plan is constructed, segment it into various other objectives.
Who is the target market?
While marketing business, it is crucial to jot down who is going to be your target audience. A target audience is a group of people who will be interested in your product/service.
For example, If you run a fitness centre, your target audience can have diversity in their superficial constructs like age, location or gender. But if you own a Gaming Centre, your target audience will be limited to a specific age.
To create your target audience, ask yourself these questions.
- Which age will like your product/service?
- What is their
- What is their ideal location?
- What are their brand interests?
Once you have created your ideal audience, start narrowing it down and create a buyer persona. A buyer’s persona can be defined as the superficial construct of your ideal customer. Make sure it is knowledgeable and not complicated.
Stick to the information that will matter to your small business in growth, don’t just make a cute figure with fictitious personality. Study it profusely to understand the channels where you can start marketing.
How will people Identify your Brand?
Guess this – The red colour logo linked with “Open Happiness” “Taste the feeling.”
Hands down, the first name that stuck your mind should be Coca-Cola; this is a perfect example of creating an identity. These words have become powerful enough to strike your brain strings concerning a brand.
After creating your label, the next step involves imparting it a personality. The elements that define a brand’s identity are colour, design, logo, mascot and the tagline of the Brand. These features should have a long-lasting imprint on the consumer’s mind so that they can distinguish your brand from others.
If you have just started, creating an identity will not be difficult. But if your business has been in the field for a long time, cultivating a new character can be a challenging task. Your new brand face has to welcome customers as well as make the existing ones feel at home.
While creating your Brand’s personality, keep these things in mind.
- Reflect the purpose in your Brand name
- A memorable logo
- Create emotions with colours
- State core values
- Consistent imagery
So, decide the visual theme of your Brand and get on with it.
Who are you up against?
When you are researching your market, you will stumble upon the business offering similar services to your Ideal Customers. A constructive way to detect your brand improvements and consumer likes is by carrying out a Competition Analysis.
Find the business operating in your niche and do a thorough SWOT analysis. It is a strategic tool which can evaluate the company’s strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. Take time to enumerate all the points of your competition and compare it with your business.
This thorough analysis will help you fill the market gap your competition missed out on, fine-tune your niche and make sure your business flourishes with new and competitive challenges.
Are you Online yet?
94% of the small businesses in the United States are mobile-friendly.
If you don’t fall in this category, it’s high time to add wind to your sail. In this digital age, having an online presence is very important for your business. If you don’t have an online presence, it is assumed that you are no longer in the industry.
Once you have created your brand identity, make sure you put it at the channels where your ideal customers will notice it. To be sure of your channels, ask yourself “Where will my buyer look for the service?”
Being a Small Business, It is not necessary to be omnipresent. Just leave a consistent mark at the right places.
64% of small businesses currently have a website; having a dedicated website for your business is the first step to set- up grounds for online marketing.
Let’s have a look at other online marketing channels.
- Social Media
- Google My Business
Every platform serves its purpose, don’t be a master of all. Select the platforms that work best for your business. Don’t burden yourself by selecting all the platforms and not generating enough traction.
Be consistent on the specific platforms and keep running Ad campaigns according to marketing goal. For example, if you have started a local organic store, run a local awareness campaign on Facebook to increase your reach. But if you have started an e-commerce website start working on your Blog, SEO and social media presence.
If you have introduced a new product in the market, make sure you create a strong brand identity and maintain content consistency across major social media platforms. This will create a buzz around your product.
Introduce variation in your channels now and then to experiment with what can be your silver bullet of online marketing.
Final Call: What is your Promotion Plan?
Being a small business, you must have a promotional plan in place. Apart from marketing online, you can also try a few traditional yet creative ways to sell your product. It can be a newspaper Ad or individual Flyers; the catch here is to grab the user’s attention.
This was a creative offline promotion by Fevicol, which sure did grab a lot of attention. The way they introduced the product was unique and fun.
Another such creative campaign by Zomato India, they put up a hilarious hoarding which was the talk of the town.
So, apart from online marketing, make sure you invest in creative offline marketing.
The next step is to set the Budget.
For a Small Business, budget is the Achilles heel. Unfortunately, being a local business, you are left with a considerate budget for promotions and marketing. While you outline your promotional plans, have a clear conscience about your budget so that you can finalise on activities you can afford.
Once you have finalised on your annual budget, break it down to months and modify your promotional activities with maximum ROI.
The promotion plan also includes other things like PR, direct sales, sale promotions and other publicity efforts to generate the initial footfall and gain momentum at the store.
Where did you lack?
It is a fundamental question you have to ask yourself if you are running a Small Business. In huge firms, there is an entire team dedicated to it, but when you run a small business, you are accountable for an answer to this question.
In this age of New Media, you have to adapt to changes and evolve continually. Your audience will shift, and you have to make the changes accordingly. All of the hard work you’ve put into your marketing plan will go in vain if you can’t track and measure results.
In your online marketing, platforms have readily available analytics report which can help you generate results, but offline methods require a manual approach. The way you track and measure your metrics is a part of your brand analysis.
Once you’ve done a complete analysis, make sure you optimize it into your business by tailoring your marketing activities to focus on the areas where you will have the most success.
These are the few tips to follow if you are starting a new small business. Start your marketing right away!