You need to get your business out to the public. Word of mouth from strategic partners and your connections will only get you so far, so you need to come up with a plan to get your company out there. Unfortunately, this can be more challenging than it sounds, and for many companies, marketing becomes a large expense early on through advertising or third party marketing and PR firms. Instead of breaking the bank on advertising and fees to third parties, some of the most successful startups handled their marketing in-house. And here are 6 tips for creating a marketing plan that works.
- Define Your Target Audience – While this seems like a no-brainer, having a clear understanding of your target client will help you to narrow your advertising efforts and save money in costs. The more refined your target audience, the more specific your efforts can be, and the better your results will be.
- Identify Your Competition – Know who else does what you do. This will help you to see where you fit in the industry, and should help you to position yourself effectively.
- Separate Yourself from the Competition – What do you do differently than the competition? If the answer is nothing, then why is a client going to choose you? Make sure you understand your unique value, then put that on display.
- Establish Your Marketing Budget – Without a budget, you will either overspend or underspend on your marketing efforts, and either can kill a business. Set a budget you can afford, but which will give you enough opportunity to spread your business.
- Set Your Marketing Goals – Set realistic goals for your marketing efforts. These can be goals around what steps will be taken, how many views on your website, how many widgets you sell, or how much additional revenue you generate.
- Track Successes – Track all of your goals, track the activities you engage in, track your advertising efforts, track everything. This will help you to find which activities are profitable and which are not. Sometimes, the ideas which seem like they will generate the most clients yield the least, while ideas which seem like they will never gain traction become the primary advertising method. But if you don’t track your successes, you will never be able to improve your marketing plan.
By following these 6 steps, you will help your business to grow by expanding your brand and building a customer base. With time, your marketing efforts may change or even go away, depending upon your industry. But by starting with a strong marketing plan, you will be well on your way to the next phase in your business.