Ideas & Tips

Six Steps to an Effective Marketing Plan for your Small Business

A well crafted marketing plan can be the blueprint to your success. Here are six steps to developing an effective marketing plan for your small business.

Step 1: Narrow your target market. Describe specifically, in as much detail as possible, the consumer you believe to hold the highest value or have the greatest need for your product or service. For example your target could be “moms with children at home between the ages of 6 and 12.”

Step 2: Clarify the need or problem you are solving for. Start with the consumer’s need or problem and then go on to describe how you are uniquely solving that problem. This problem/solution statement should then lead your prospects to the action you want them to take. Be sure the action you are working to drive is clear to your prospects.

Step 3: Create a positioning for your business. Your positioning should be based on what you do best and your customers value most. This positioning should also help to differentiate you from your competition. If you are not sure what your positioning should be, ask some of your customers what they value most about doing business with your company.

Step 4: Focus your marketing message on the benefits your customers derive. Be sure your marketing materials educate your prospects to the key benefits you deliver. For example, instead of just selling a product or service at a low price, your marketing message might offer “the best value for the money, the best quality, or the most convenience,” and then clearly explain how and why in an educational manner.

Step 5: Reach your target with an education-based message. Don’t waste your time cold-calling. Instead, reach your target prospects with your education-based message to drive demand for the product or service you are selling. Talk to you your prospects in benefit statements and draw prospects in to learn more about how your products or services could offer them.

Step 6: Build credibility. Ask your satisfied customers for referrals or testimonials that you can publish. Also consider writing brief case studies with your customer’s approval to documents the benefits you deliver. Remember that testimonials are one of the most powerful tools to gain new customers that may be searching for the product or service you offer.

©2010 Adam Bratter. All rights reserved.

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