These days, you don't need a whopping ad budget to have an effective marketing plan. What you do need is a clear vision and objective for your business. Not sure where to even start? These 5 W's and 1 H should help you take the first steps in marketing your business.
1. WHY: The crucial first step
- Firstly, ask yourself why you want to do a piece of marketing? This will give you your objective.
Example: "I want to sell more cakes than bread".
- Without this first step, you won't have a clear goal to work towards.
Tip: Think big and small. If you want to be the No 1 restaurant in Durban, write that down. But also start with something manageable: get your lunch crowd as big as your dinner crowd.
2. WHAT: The things that make your business unique
- Now that you know why, you need to focus on what is unique about your business. Is there something specific that makes you stand out from the rest? The answer will give you your 'unique selling proposition' (USP). Example: Are you the guesthouse that accepts pets? The hair salon with the best shampoo massage?
- Your USP is what makes your business different and unique to customers.
Tip: It helps to chat to your employees, friends or customers. They may bring insight from a different angle.
3. WHO: Get to know your customer
- How well do you know your customers? In order to effectively speak to them, you need to know what they want and who they are. Example: Do you run a small sandwich delivery business in a busy office district?
- Think about what busy office workers might need and when they might need it. - Get to understand when the staff at these offices go on lunch and what their preferences are. The better you know your customer, the better you can deliver a message or service to them.
Tip: Instead of asking your customers what they would like to see, ask your customers what they haven't seen yet. This simple change in perspective could bring ideas you haven't thought of yourself.
4. WHERE: the spots to find your customers
- Once you know whom you want to talk to, think about where you will find these customers.
Example: It could be a virtual place (Facebook) or physical place (the gym).
- Think of unusual places that your competitors might not have considered such as Twitter. Example: If you run a spice shop, Twitter's character limit of 140 characters is perfect for tweeting spice-mix recipes.
Tip: Remember that through your advertising you are essentially interrupting their activities, so always aim to surprise and delight. Then you will have their attention.
5. WHEN: Timing is essential
- Consider which calendar dates/events you can leverage. Example: Wheneveryone is talking about a major sporting event and you run a related offer, people will associate your brand with the good feelings they have about a particular event.
- 'When' is also about making the time to do your marketing and setting aside time to talk your customers.
Tip: Consider how you will tackle seasonal marketing to keep your business relevant come rain or shine. If you run an ice-cream store, it will make sense to sell your ice cream with a warm serving of pudding or affogato-style with piping hot espresso.
6. HOW: Get your message out there
- Now it's time to decide which methods will be right for you, and the quickest, most cost effective route is to look at online opportunities. Example: If your business relies heavily on visuals to sell, like a bakery would do, consider opening an Instagram account to post appealing daily specials.
- The beauty of online? You can test what works first before you devote a big budget to your marketing efforts. Changes are easier, quicker and cheaper to make than with a printed flyer, for example.
Tip: Need a logo, visual or website designed? Crowdspring is a site where you specify your budget (from R1000), work with dozens of designers at once and get an average of 110+ entries from where you pick your favourite. Facebook also runs a program to support small businesses through their first ad campaign and Google My Business is a great way for getting your business noticed on Search, Maps or even Google+.
Let us know if this has helped you? Use the comments section below.