Well, we're already almost a month into the new year. If you're anything like me the last 3 weeks have flown by and I've barely had a chance to think, let alone work out where I want to take my business!
However, with the focus now firmly on the year ahead, now is the perfect time to review your marketing plan or make a start on developing one if you haven't already.
In my last blog I talked about the 3 stages to the marketing planning process: developing the 'why', the 'what' and the 'how' and making sure you get the order right.
Now it's time to take a closer look at the key elements of a smart marketing strategy.
1. Start with the 'Why'
Hopefully, when you established your small business you gave this some thought but knowing how 'what you do' benefits others plays such a huge part in your marketing messaging. Knowing your 'why' helps you 'position' your business in the marketplace and manage how it is perceived.
2. Who are you trying to influence?
For me, this is the single most important thing to get right! Understanding and defining who you are targeting underpins every other aspect of marketing. If you can describe your 'ideal' customer in detail you are then able to:
identify where to find more of them
understand their needs, motivations, fears
show them you understand them and how you solve their problems
3. Define how you want to be perceived
How you are currently perceived and how you want to be perceived are not necessarily the same thing. Establishing and documenting the attributes that you want people to associate with your business gives a focus to all your marketing activity and can help you build your brand 'personality'.
4. Dare to be different
Once you know who you're targeting and how you want to be perceived, you need to put yourself in your target customer's shoes and ask: why should I care?
Who are you competing against and what makes you unique? If you don't want to compete on price (and none of us really do), you have to differentiate!
5. Set your goals
Think about where you want your business to be this time next year and set down some measurable objectives. You may want to start by identifying some general goals such as:
Increase market penetration
Build brand awareness
Launch a new product or service
Once you have the broad goals in place you need to develop SMART objectives for each goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound). At this stage, we're moving into building our marketing plan where we will identify the most appropriate channels and tactics to reach our target audience.
6. Review what's worked (and what hasn't)
Finally, it's always worth taking a look at what you've done in the past. What marketing activity delivered the best return on investment and what didn't work at all.
After all, I think it was Einstein who said:
"The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
If it doesn't work, try something new!
And if you need any support developing a really great marketing strategy, give me a call now on 0478 042536 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org