Saturday, April 28, 2007

Part III: Failing To Learn Business Fundamentals
Reason Number 9 Of Why So Many People Fail In Home Businesses

Part III: Marketing For Small Businesses

Marketing is a key way to promote your business and increase sales of your products or services. Understand that marketing takes time, planning and commitment - and it must be strategic.

The reason why your marketing efforts and your marketing plan must be strategic is because you may not have a product, service or information that has universal appeal. The best strategy to use is to carefully craft your message and target the market that has a need, desire or can use what you are offering.

If your goal is to grow your business, you can increase growth in four ways. They include:

  • Acquiring more customers.
  • Persuading each customer to buy more products.
  • Persuading each customer to buy more expensive products or more products than they originally planned to purchase.
  • Persuading each customer to buy more profitable products.
Meeting these goals will help increase your revenue and profit. Start first by focusing on acquiring more customers. By acquiring more customers you increase your customer base and your revenues then come from a larger base.

You can use marketing to acquire more customers, but keep in mind that marketing differs between small businesses and larger companies. If you are like the majority of small business owners, your marketing budget is limited.

You can maximize your budget by focusing your efforts on acquiring customers from a specific target group. The reason target marketing is important is only a proportion of the population is likely to purchase any products or service.

By taking time to pitch your sales and marketing efforts to the correct niche market, you will be more productive and not waste your efforts or time. To be successful in marketing you must consider the needs and wants of your customers.

People from different backgrounds and cultures have different needs and different interests. Try to appeal to people in ways that are most comfortable and familiar to them.

Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Conduct Market Research and Analysis. Do not make assumptions about your target audiences. Conduct research to answer these questions: Who and where are they? Can you provide the services and products they want? What is a fair, competitive and reasonable price for your services? Look at your competition and ask how your organization and products compare.

Determine Your Product Profile. Examine the products you have to offer and see if you can match them to the demands of each of your markets. Do you have what they want? Are your products priced competitively? Can your audiences afford them? You may need to make adjustments to your products to make them more relevant to the needs of your market.

Create Compelling Messages. Create messages that speak directly to your target audiences and address what they want. Be specific and make sure you have the facts to back up your assertions. Message consistency and coordination are essential to effective marketing.

Implement Your Small Business Marketing Strategy. Your marketing strategy should designate how your messages will be delivered. Be creative while focusing on your goals, audiences, and messages. Components might include: participation in community events, conferences, flyers, posters, exhibits, meetings, and public speaking engagements.

Monitor the Budget. Be exact and realistic when putting together your budget. This will help you determine which components of your strategy can be completed right away. Remember not to lose sight of your goals.

Evaluate the Impact. Without an evaluation phase, you will not be sure your marketing strategy is successful. By measuring the success of marketing strategies, you can determine whether or not you are using your resources wisely and can make mid-course corrections to successfully attain your goals.

For more information on this topic go to Accion.Org or to our Information Warehouse.