The term marketing has become something of a buzzword in business circles, and many people think it’s just another word for advertising. It’s not. A marketing plan refers to all of the things you do to identify, promote and grow your organization. And like any good plan, in order to be successful you need clear objectives:
- You need to know why you’re doing what you do. Your strategy will be different if you just want a little work on the side for extra income than it would be if you wanted to retire by the age of 40, or if you wanted to create jobs in your community, or if you wanted to convince more people to join your organization, or if you just want to support yourself and your family on your own terms. There can be as many answers to this as there are businesses.
- You need to know who the people are that you’re trying to communicate with. What do they have in common and what motivates them? You won’t know what to say if you don’t know who you’re talking to.
- You need to know what you have to offer and good reasons why they should come to you for it. You have to be able to put yourself in the customer’s place and really be able to state what he/she gets out of doing business with you. Make a list of the benefits and features of your product or service. This list will become one of your main tools for a successful marketing campaign, no matter what the size of your organization or your budget.
- You need to know who your competition is in order to keep up with the industry and to make sure you don’t get left behind by new developments that others come up with. If the other guys are doing something different, you need to be ready to do it better or explain why your customers don’t need it.
- You need to know your personal level of commitment to your enterprise. Your strategies and decisions will depend on whether you are in this long or short term. And you market differently if you’re looking for life-long clients, new recruits, or a few quick customers to increase cash flow or reduce inventory.
- Finally, you need to know where you want to be. No plan, including a marketing plan, will work if you don’t have a clear vision of your goals.
Vanessa Shelton is a web designer, marketing consultant and copywriter with over 20 years experience. She uses “The Right Words – The Right Way” to bring your ideas and vision to the world. With newsletters, article marketing, the website refresh, and more in her arsenal, Vanessa is ready to help small business owners and independent professionals get attention, and get results. Visit http://vanessasdesk.com/to see how Vanessa can help you.