The objective of any marketing plan is to identify the needs of your prospective customers and create a package of products or services that satisfy these needs. To attract new customers and grow your business, you then need to design appropriate communication to convey the benefits to your target market.
You can grow your business in the following ways:
-attracting new customers
-getting existing customers to buy more
-inducing customers to buy more expensive products where you have larger profit margins.
Here are some guidelines on how to go about it.
Avoid expensive big business attitudes. Big businesses have large marketing budgets and can afford to take a long-term view of their marketing communication. Their marketing plans are generally designed to provide long-term benefits over an extended period of time. Because you are likely to have a very limited marketing budget, you should endeavour to use this budget to have an immediate impact on sales and customer acquisition. The long-term planning can wait until your business has reached a certain size.
Product differentiation. You need to differentiate your product from your competition and explain clearly to customers why your product is different and better. You can go for the value for money niche by offering a cheaper product with the same features as your competitors. Alternatively, you can create a premium niche and actually charge more for your product. Whatever route you choose, give customers a reason to buy your product. In your communication, always emphasise benefits and never features.
Use Internet marketing methods. Create a Web site for yourself and use creative online marketing to drive traffic to your Web site and create a buzz around your business. Techniques such as using the social networking sites and article marketing can be extremely effective and, the best part is that they are free or extremely inexpensive. The one thing that you should avoid in on-line communication is a blatant sales pitch which could be regarded as spam. A good way to get around this is to actually promote yourself as a person and keep your sales objective as a soft sell.
Use joint promotions. Try and identify opportunities for creating joint promotions with businesses that do not directly compete with you. You could end up in a win-win situation while sharing the cost burden.
Don’t forget your existing customers. A lot of marketing seems to hinge round acquiring new customers when, in fact, it is easier and less expensive to generate more business from your existing customer base. If you create powerful offers and opportunities exclusively for your existing customers, they are likely to respond favourably. Remember that they already know and trust you.