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EASY SMALL BIZ MARKETING – #1 Marketing Basics

November 27th, 2012

A series of articles providing practical help for people running small businesses, who may have minimal time or money to spend on marketing. Oh yes, neither do you have to have a marketing degree or a dictionary to keep up – this is a jargon free zone!

 

In today’s article I’m introducing the different aspects of marketing and will go more into depth on these points in later posts. Do leave a comment if you have a burning question in the meantime though…

First you need to think about your:

Marketing Strategy:  In other words. What do you want your marketing to help you achieve? This should support your business goals. (if you need help with setting business goals this post may help you). As an example, if you run a local shop but now wish to trade online then you’ll want your marketing to introduce your products to new national & international customers.

 

You’ll need to consider your Marketing Resources: How much money do you have available for market research and promotional costs such as advertising or web design and hosting. Even no or low cost promotional activity such as social media, will require significant time dedicated to it. Be realistic.

 

You will need to do some Market Research so you can identify:

  • Who your target audience is
  • Who your competitors are
  • What you can offer that is unique

 

There are 2 ways of researching. Firstly by carrying out your own research, asking potential customers questions or phoning or visiting local competitors. Secondly, by reading information collated by others in magazines, newspapers and on websites related to your industry.  Market research needn’t be outsourced at great expense. Every time you talk to a customer about what he or she wants, or chat with a supplier or sales rep, you’re conducting market research.

 

Find out about your Target Market

  • Where can they be found?
  • What sort of thing matters to them?
  • What are they concerned about?
  • What do they need?

 

It’s helpful to try and visualise your “ideal customer.” What do you know about them? This will help you word any promotional messages more personally and effectively.

 

Find out about your Competitors

You should know who is out there selling something similar to what you are selling. It might not exactly match what you’re offering but do still count them. Try and find out what they are doing right, and what they may be doing wrong. If you measure your own and your competitors strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) it will help you identify areas where you can beat the competition and offer something that your competitors aren’t (your USP – Unique Selling Point).

 

Consider your Pricing Based on your research and knowledge of the market, what will you charge, and why?

 

ONLY once you’ve done the previous steps, do you need to start thinking about the most appropriate way of promoting your business. Many people think marketing is about the website, the brochure, the blog, social media. Actually these things are just one part of the whole marketing mix – the Promotional Tools. Based on all the new information you have at your fingertips about your target market and your USP, what’s the most appropriate way of reaching out to that audience and talking to them. What do they want to hear and what tool will reach them best? It’s no use ploughing time & energy into Facebook if the stats say your over 60s male target market don’t use it.

 

Finally draw up a Task List to help schedule when the tasks need to be done and by whom. It helps to keep focussed if the tasks are small and manageable and the deadlines realistic. Try scheduling tasks for the next 3 months and then review after that.

 

It would be great to hear from you. Do you find you have time to devote to marketing? If so, which activities take priority for you?

 

You may be interested in the other articles in our EASY SMALL BIZ MARKETING series:

Intro – MARKETING CHECKLIST

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