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How Can You Market Your Business if You Can't Answer These Basic Questions?
If you’re working with a skimpy, unfinished business plan, you may be sabotaging your marketing plans by making decisions based on faulty conclusions.
Skipping steps can lead to tripping and falling, so always take the time to do the research and lay out a strategy. Those business plan questions may seem elementary, but it never ceases to amaze us how many budding entrepreneurs can’t accurately answer them.
Questions about your product or service:
It doesn't matter how cool you think your business offering is because you aren't buying it. You have to look at what you are selling from the buyer's point of view.
- What problem are you solving?
Your audience needs to identify by saying to themselves “Why, yes! That’s exactly the problem I’ve been having!” Then guide prospective clients to seeing themselves successfully conquering that problem by using your product or service.
- Are you selling what people want to buy?
Re-assess constantly to improve what you offer and stay relevant with your customers.
- Why should they buy from you?
Stay clear of the “features” trap and highlight the “benefits.” People always want to know what’s in it for them.
Questions about your target market:
The words and images you use, as well as the platform, need to resonate with your audience. If you're targeting retirees and there are few of them on TikTok, then short videos there will not get the response you're looking to achieve.
Be ultra-specific, as in: She’s a forty-five-year-old wife with a husband in middle management with who stayed home with their young children and now wants to return to her profession.
- Where can you find your target?
Having that detailed bio will help you figure out the best ways to get in front of these specific customers.
- When is your target looking for you?
Train commuters pass the time on their phones, while people changing careers go online at night, after work and family commitments are met. Research the best time for your audience.
Questions about your marketing goal:
If you have no idea where you are going, you'll never know if you ever got there. Set definite short and long term goals and document your journey toward them.
- What is a successful goal completion?
Visualize what happens as you move your customer through the sales funnel.
- What is your “call to action?”
Tell prospectives exactly what you want them to do, whether it’s “call us,” “sign up here,” or “buy now.”
- How will you measure success?
Tracking numbers will help you in many ways, such as estimating the number of leads it takes to make a sale. Analysis of the customer’s journey, for instance, at what point you lost a prospective, helps fine-tune your process.
Questions about your marketing options:
There have never been more ways to reach people than are available today, but that doesn't mean you should be doing all of them at once. Start with the lowest-hanging fruit and build some successes rather than spreading yourself too thin.
- What’s available locally?
Research and make a list of local newspapers, magazines, online news sources, radio and podcast shows, community calendars, and neighborhood newsletters.
- What’s available in your industry?
Research and list all relevant websites, blogs, user groups, and newsletters.
- Where does your competition appear?
While you’ll want to have a presence in the places that work for them, be sure to also develop your own unique message. Also, think about focusing your efforts on the places where your competitors don’t already have a presence so you can establish dominance there.
Once you think through these questions and write down the answers, you will have a go-to document for reference when working with your publicist, ad seller, news reporter, and your friendly neighborhood website developer. Together, you and your marketing team will be free to focus on promoting a clear, concise, and consistent message to attract and convert customers.
Have you already completed your marketing basics document? Congratulations! You’re way ahead of many businesses and would make a great partner for us. We’d love to help you reach the next level, so give us a call today to discuss how we can work together!
Photo by Leeloo Thefirst
This article is an update to “Back-to-Basics Marketing Plan” dated 5/11/2015.
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