Most small business owners I talk to simply don’t have a marketing plan. I read a statistic somewhere that said in actual fact 95% of small businesses don’t have one. However, what’s more worrying is those that do, haven’t always thought it through and are spending money on marketing activity that simply isn’t working. You see, most people start marketing their business before they really understand it.
And I understand why they do this. It’s easy to get a logo designed, or a website built, even some leaflets written, printed and delivered door to door. It makes them feel like they are getting on with masking their business a success.
But if you don’t want to waste your time and money, if you want to know that the marketing you are doing is really building towards something then you need to understand your business and your brand before you implement your marketing plan. And this needs to be done as you are creating your business, before you start selling.
So, there are three things I tell my clients they need to know before they start their marketing. They need to know and have defined: WHAT they are selling/marketing; WHO they are selling/marketing it to and WHY they would want to buy from their business and not another.
It sounds so simple but you would be surprised the amount of businesses that don’t really think this through. If you know these things and have clearly defined them then you will be much better placed to decide what’s the right type of marketing for you to be doing and how to do it as effectively as possible.
Most people think this is easy, but when you ask they can’t tell you in a simple, clear sentence what they do. This is because they don’t really know what they do do, apart from the title – “I’m an accountant”, “I’m in marketing”, “I’m an IT consultant”.
Firstly these ‘titles’ are too broad and tell your audience nothing about what you really do. Defining your business offering, products, services in detail and identifying your area of speciality (or your niche) can really impact the way to talk about and market your business and gives you more confidence to do so.
So many clients tell me they can help anyone with a computer or anyone who runs a small business. This is a target market, of sorts, but it’s too broad and includes too many different types of business.
By identifying a clear and focused target market you are not closing yourself off to working with everyone outside this market it just means that when you are marketing you are doing so to a clearly defined group. This means your marketing messages will be crafted and directly aimed at your target market and to which they are more likely to respond.
It loses the scattergun effect and makes your marketing more effective, more impactful and therefore more value-for-money.
This is the part of a brand that many people actually struggle with. Understanding and defining, much less expressing, why your target market should buy from you at all, let alone taking into account your competitors.
Understanding WHO your target market is, what challenges they may face or needs they may have and then identifying how your product or service can address that is understanding your WHY.
It will help you create marketing that engages and ignites with your target market, it will speak to them in a way that connects with them and that they are more likely to respond to. It gives them the WHY they are looking for.
Once you truly understand the brand behind your business, you will inherently have a much better understanding of how to market it and have more confidence in doing so, as you see the results and benefits from putting your brand before your plan.
Just Too Busy [http://www.justtoobusy.co.uk] is a fun, friendly and focused marketing consultancy working with small businesses in West Sussex and Surrey. We LOVE developing great creative ideas and strategic plans for your small business marketing.
We help you come up with great marketing ideas for your small business, develop your business brand and marketing plan, create stunning marketing material, through creative design and professional copywriting (including logos, stationery, brochures and websites (and more!); as well as help you put it into practice too with promotion advice and support.