5 Steps to Marketing Strategy for 2015

As a small business owner you may feel that the marketing tactics that you are doing do not work or do not give you immediate results for your business.  You have tweeted, posted, blogged, networked and paid hundreds of dollars to local newspapers, but feel like the effort and the money is going down the drain.

What can make a big difference in your marketing effectiveness  is sitting down and creating a clear and targeted marketing strategy.  Make some crucial decisions that will improve the performance of your marketing efforts.  This strategy will start 2015 off on the right foot and help you increase awareness, generate new leads, close sales and ultimately grow your business

Start your marketing strategy by taking these 5 steps

1. Define Your Target Market

Who exactly do you serve?  Define one or two clearly defined target markets that your service caters to.  Trying to cater to the entire community or to a wide audience waters down your service or product and doesn’t do anything special for anyone.

Targeting a narrow audience can be an uncomfortable thing to do for a company but,  it will help define everything about the business and keep it focused.  You are not turning down customers not in your targeted market.  Instead you are creating a loyal audience that will help you grow and extend your reach.

Example:

Electrician:

Our target market are homeowners with homes over  40 years old (1975 over older)  with a value of $150,000+.

Retail Boutique:

Our Target market is woman over the age of 40 who are employed and have disposable income to spend on luxury apparel.

2. What does your business do?

This should be a short description of what business you are in.  What exactly does your business do? Resist the urge to make this a long drawn out description that fits everything that you can do. It should be short, concise and leave no doubts with your potential customers.

Example:

Electrician:

We re-wire and repair the electrical work in beautiful old homes that are over 40 years old.

Retail Boutique

We sell beautiful on-trend clothes to the working older woman.

3. What Benefit Makes You Unique

What does your business deliver to your customer that makes you unique?  As a small business, we are used to a big long list of things our product or service is or does (features).  Features lists might look like this:  We offer food that is organic, gluten-free, and chemical free.

What you want to decide is what does your product or service actually deliver  (benefits)?  What will the features do for me as a future customers.  With the food help me lose weight? Will it make me feel better or give me more energy? Will the electrician just give me working lights or will I feel safe and free from the worry of fire

Again keep this statement simple and short.  Your product and service might offer thousands of benefits.  Keep it to 2 or three benefits that connect to your target market.

Example:

Electrician: Our service delivers safe electrical service with technicians that are trained to work with older wiring systems.

Retail Boutique

Our clothing offers mature woman an on trend option in clothing that makes them feel young without looking too young

4. Who is your competition

Who exactly is your competition?  What is your target market doing to solve the problem that you solve?  Are they going to other like business in your local area?  Are they looking for online solutions?  Are they doing it themselves?  How people solve the problem at hand without you is what your competition is.

List who or what theses competitors are and conduct a quick SWOT analysis on what they provide.  What are they doing well, what are they not doing well?  Analyze if what you are doing is helping fill the holes left by the competitors.

Example:

Electrician: Local electricians that offer a wide variety of services, one other electrician focusing on commercial and residential historic properties

Retail Boutique: Online Stores with categories for older woman, Local stores offering woman clothing lines but not specifically for any type of woman.

5. What makes you clearly different from your competitors?

You have pointed out the two to three benefits that makes you unique.  How exactly do you deliver on these benefits that makes you stand out from the rest of your competition?  Take this time to list items you already do and brainstorm some new ideas.  Do you personalize your service, do you do things to make your service cheaper, friendlier, or faster.  Create a list of things and narrow it down to a few things that are easy to do, and will put you up above the competition

Example:

Electrician: We offer free consultations and estimates. We always offer at least 2 different options as a solution for your electrical needs.  We offer financing through ABD Bank.

Retail Boutique: We offer free private personal style sessions, we offer a 90 day full refund.

Now What!?

Take the work you did above and put it into a marketing statement.  Combine the five elements above into one sentence that you have a clear, focused marketing strategy that you can work with throughout the year.  Focusing your marketing tactics around this message will help your individual tactics have increased impact on growing your business.  Give it try! If you would like to work with the Southwest Iowa SBDC as you go through this process,  give us a call and make an appointment today!

Electrician: Grounded Electric is leading residential electrician for beautiful historic homes providing a trained electrician ensuring safety and at least two options for the best solution for your home.

Retail Boutique: Hip Blossoms is an on trend clothing boutique offering mature  Woman a personalized alternative shopping experience leaving them feeling young and beautiful.

Give this exercise a try and then work all of you marketing messages around this message.

If live in the Southwest Iowa area and  would like to work with the Southwest Iowa SBDC as you go through this process,  give us a call at 712-325-3350 or if you sign up for counseling services and we will contact you.

The Small Business Development Center is a free resource for small businesses and startups in 7 counties in Southwest Iowa, including Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Page, Cass, Shelby and Harrison.  We offer free counselling services to help businesses start,grow and prosper.

#Marketing #Strategy

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712-325-3350

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Michael Mitilier - mmitilier@iwcc.edu

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA). All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA