You’ve got a product or service worth telling the world about. So how will you make sure your marketing plan hits the right mark with the right people?
Marketing has come a long way from the days when your options were limited to a flyer and an ad in the local paper. From PR activities to email campaigns to social media advertising (how does Facebook hear me talk about a product and it appears in my feed?), to influencer strategies, to Google ads and TV promotion – marketing is an ever-changing beast with a wealth of options to choose from.
“Marketing your business well is an essential element of your future success,” says Flying Solo‘s Managing Director, David Koch.
But with so many options and avenues, how do you know where to start and what is going to cut through for your customer or product?
There are many online templates for marketing plans, but before you start filling yours out, apply these principles to design a plan that sets you up for success.
1. First, work out what you want to achieve
“You can’t hit the bullseye if you can’t see it,” David says.
Where do you want your business to be in 12 months? Having a clear marketing strategy in place from day one with measurable goals means that you will know what success looks like, with clear and quantifiable targets to work towards. Is your goal to sell 1000 products by a certain date? Or to have a certain number of clients using your service? Have you got a reachable financial goal in mind? Be specific.
- Develop a basic blueprint to follow with digestible steps
- Map out the following 12 months with measurable goals
2. Know your market and your competition
“Make sure you and your team have a thorough understanding of your industry, your target audience and competitors,” David says.
Who are your competitors, what and how much do they sell, at what price, and what is the marketing strategy they use? Understanding how they attract customers will help you work out a point of difference, to show that you’re different and better!
- Divide your customer base by size, spend, geography and industry and plan a step-by-step program to reach each segment
- Research your target customers and understand their needs and behaviours through surveys or focus groups
- Put together a SWOT analysis; strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your product compared with the rest of the market.
3. Keep your message consistent
“Make it easy for people to understand what you do,” says David.
When we think about brands we know and love, be it Uber Eats or Netflix, they speak our language. They offer products and services which are just right for us, and they have a clear message of what a customer can get from them.
- Test your message on your family or customers
- If they don’t understand what you do or why they should trust your brand, change your messaging
4. Be instantly recognisable as a brand
“A strong brand and message are vital in order for customers to identify and distinguish your business from your competitors,” says David.
When we think of some of the most iconic and recognisable logos in the world they can be as simple as the McDonald’s golden arch, the Nike tick or the humble apple with a bite taken out of it. But we all recognise them and know them instantly.
- Use the positives in your business to create a strong image that is instantly recognisable
- Create collateral, like a logo, brochures, website, and any other marketing material that conveys the correct message about your business. Find out more at CommBank’s 10 essentials to creating an engaging brand blog.
5. Develop an authentic social media presence
“In this busy, cluttered world managing customers and keeping top of their mind is so important, that relationship with customers is critical,” says David.
- Find out what your prospective customers read, watch, or listen to and try and find a way to be featured in those media. If they’re big users of Facebook or Instagram, find out where they’re spending their time on these platforms (find out more from a Facebook insider here).
- Start a blog on your site showing your passion and knowledge of your product and industry. It doesn’t have to be brand, brand, brand – it’s simply a place that shows what your brand values are and establishes what knowledge you have to share around the industry. Make sure the content you produce offers value to potential customers.
6. Treat your website like your shopfront
“In today’s world a website is your window to the world, it plays a vital part in any business, so having one is non-negotiable,” says David.
What’s the first thing you do when someone recommends a product or service to you? You check out their website. Your website needs to immediately give the visitor a clear overview of the company and the services you offer, plus a sense of connection with you and what you stand for.
- Create a website that’s easy to navigate to introduce who you are, why you’re passionate about the business and your story. Walk through the website like you’re a customer seeing the brand for the first time. How easy is it to find the information you want? Are there enough buttons to direct people to purchase your product? Does it scroll well on a mobile phone? Take all these things into consideration.
Now, tick off the four Ps of your sales strategy
It’s from Flying Solo’s first-ever free Starting Out Kit for side hustles and new businesses. Full of checklists and downloadables, you’ll learn how to nail your niche, write a killer business plan and marketing plan, and more. All thanks to our partner, CommBank.
Starting your business or stepping it up? Have a look at CommBank’s Business Transaction Account with a zero monthly account fee option to help make your next business moves.
This article is brought to you by Flying Solo in partnership with CommBank.
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