If you are just starting your business, one of the biggest questions you probably have is how to I attract new clients? Creating a marketing plan can help you focus on those high-priority activities that will likely generate more clients quickly. Here are four ways creating a marketing plan can help you.
- Plan for expenses. While there are many free and low cost ways to market your business, some marketing costs money. How much are you willing to commit to your total marketing budget? What is a realistic number for all the marketing activities you hope to accomplish?
- Understand your target market. One of the biggest mistakes small-business owners make is believing that “everyone” is their target market. There’s no one product or service that appeals to everyone alive. Even Coca-Cola, which targets most people and whose products are available virtually everywhere, has different marketing messages and different products they advertise to different market segments. Decide who is most likely to buy from you. Who are they and what factors influence their decision to buy? Look at their demographics. How old are they? Are they married? Kids? Where do they live? What job titles do they have? Next, look at their psychographics. Why do they buy? What problems do they want solutions to? How bad is the problem? Yes, you can have multiple target markets, but keep in mind that you will need a separate marketing campaign for each market. It’s better to stick with one, initially, and expand as your company grows.
- Determine what media to use. Which marketing tactics (direct mail, word of mouth, TV, radio, internet) you use depends on your marketing budget and your target audience. Choose one to start with, get your campaign working, and start bringing in customers. Once you have one marketing campaign in place, add another. If you try to juggle too many things at one time, you dramatically limit the time, money and resources you can devote to each.
- Stick to a schedule. Too many business owners get trapped in a vicious cycle. They start marketing when business is slow. Then, either because of their marketing campaign or because someone referred them business, they end up with a client or two. All marketing halts as they focus their attention on serving their clients. As the client projects come to an end, the business owner realizes he or she is in the same boat as before – with no prospects – so he or she starts marketing again. And the cycle repeats. For your marketing to be successful, you need to stick to a schedule and keep your marketing activities going through slow and busy times.
If you haven’t yet created your marketing plan, consider creating one today. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming and time consuming. Simply plan out the activities you can do (meaning you have the time and resources to complete) in the next two weeks to generate new clients.