You’ve done the hard part.
You have a product or a business that you’ve spent a lot of time refining.
Now, you’ve got to attract consumers and make the case for your product.
You have to convince them that your lemonade stand is better than the kid’s down the street.
But how do you do that?
Here’s some tips on how to develop and roll out a successful marketing plan.
Know Your Product Backwards and Forwards
Before doing anything, it’s extremely important to know your product. Whether it’s a restaurant, a book store, bug spray or a pair of shoes. Consumers won’t be able to wrap their minds around your product if you can’t.
Think about what your product has to offer people. It must have something that other products don’t have, and that’s the thing you want to accentuate. It helps to try to separate yourself from the product as its creator. And put yourself in mindset of a consumer who knows nothing about your flashlight that doubles as laser pointer. To them, it might simply look like a flashlight.
You’ll also want to be able to foresee its effectiveness in someone’s everyday life. Because after “what is this thing,” a consumer’s follow-up question will be. “And what can I do with it?” Sit down and write out a manifesto, detailing every aspect of the product and all of its possible uses. From there, extract the most interesting and easily communicable aspects. It’s these traits that will become your rallying points in the marketing plan.
Once you have all the information you need on the product and know its uses. You’ll have something akin to an elevator pitch, which essential for new products.
Identify Who Your Product is For
After your product is as familiar to you as the back of your hand. You’ll need to figure out who it’s for. This is an important step, because it’s no use marketing an umbrella in the desert. The first way to go about this step is look at other products such as yours. If you’ve opened up a local Mexican restaurant. Do some research into the history of the other local Mexican restaurants – specifically, the most successful ones. While word-of-mouth and repeat customers might sustaining them currently, they had to start somewhere same as you.
The location of your customers is just as important
If you have a local business or service. You’ll want to put ads in the community newspaper or even sponsor some local events. As high school sports if you’re a restaurant or a barbershop or a bookstore. Place some customized pencils in the local library. If you’re a carpenter who makes furniture in your garage. Put up some flyers near your local hardware store. In fact, this kind of marketing is encouraged by Business News Daily’s Sammie Caramela. People are always looking to buy locally, as there’s an artisan appeal to it.
If you primarily have online presence, promoting your business at local burger joint might not be the best play. You’ll more success going after niche groups that can only be found on the internet. For example, if you have started a blog where you review films. You’ll want to seek out message boards or social media hubs that cater to entertainment and film.
The internet can be incredibly helpful in located potential customers or viewers. Because even though it’s made the world feel smaller. It’s also emboldened smaller groups of people to be loud and proud about the things they love. Whereas in the past, if it were an artist who specialized in drawing famous blues musicians. You might have a hard time selling those drawings locally. Online small communities are easy to locate and your drawings might find a buyer in thousands of miles away.
Familiarize Yourself With the Marketing Plan
Once you understand your product and know who it’s for, you should then familiarize yourself with the competition. You should have a better idea of who your competition is now that you’ve identified your ideal customer. Not only should you located blind spots in your competition’s own marketing plan, but you should also pay attention to what they do right. After all, it’s true what the man said: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
You’ll primarily want to focus on the most successful businesses who are going after your same audience. There’s no use in studying a failing business, of course. Pay close attention to their online presence, specifically the information they put out and the way they interact with their customer.
Try and pinpoint what advantages they have over you, whether it’s financial or recognition based, or vice-versa, and apply that to the way you market your business.
This will allow you to not only exploit the areas that the competition can’t get to, but also to improve your own business. For instance, maybe the other record store in town has more merchandise and a better location, but a poor online presence. This makes your path forward much clearer.
It’s incredibly important to remember that your services don’t exist in a vacuum. People have many choices, so when making your case, you need to keep the competition in mind, because your potential customer is doing just that. Another example of adapting to your competitive environment is locating and projecting your own strengths.
As an example, if you open a mom-and-pop burger joint near a well-known fast-food restaurant, success might seem like an uphill battle. However, because you’re a smaller operation, it could benefit business by marketing your establishment as “home-made food,” “fresh ingredients” or as having a more one-on-one relationship with the customer.
How Much Are People Willing to Pay
Now that you know your product, who it’s for and who you’re up against, you should be able to intelligently give your product a price. Studying your product or service should have been the first clue to its worth. If you sell used records, they’re probably going to be around 10 to 30 dollars, depending on a variety of factors.
Then, you can apply the knowledge of who your product is for. According to a study cited by The Guardian’s Harriet Gibsone in 2016, the majority of people who buy records are middle-aged men, who can probably afford to splurge on $30 records. If your primary demographic were teenagers, however, $30 might be too steep.
Last but certainly not least, your competition should impact your pricing. If the record shop across the street has found a way to slash prices, your business should find a way to adapt. If lowering your prices to match isn’t a viable option, you will need to communicate to the public why your product is worth more.
Go Where the Consumers Are
Once you know who your ideal customer is, then you know where to find them. For instance, if your business has a niche audience and a primarily online presence, promoting it at the local burger joint might not be the best play. In fact, the majority of consumers can be found on the internet these days, whether they’re shopping on Amazon, skimming their social media networks or clicking through the news. This is true even for local businesses, which need to have an online presence. While analog promotion, such as leaving pencils at the library, a large portion of your potential customers are likely to discover you online.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are particularly useful, for it is here that the modern man or woman ingests the most information about their world. This includes information concerning businesses, local or otherwise. By having a large presence online, your business will find a place in the everyday life of many consumers. Plus, companies like Facebook and Twitter provide tools for businesses to market to incredibly specific demographics.
One of the reasons businesses find so much success on social media, according to Forbes’ Jayson DeMers, is due to the humanization element. Social media allows businesses to interact with customers one-on-one and in a casual environment. It’s almost as if an entire business becomes distilled into a single, social media personality.
For instance, Wix, a website creation tool, once utilized Facebook’s live video feature to encourage people to enter a contest. What’s so special about this?
The video contained a football frozen in a block of ice, with a hand holding up a blow-dryer to it. When the ice melted and the football fell out, then the winner would be announced. Not only does this create brand recognition, but it establishes Wix among the public as a company that likes to have fun.
Another perk to social media is its relatively cheap cost, compared with other marketing techniques. While you can pay for ads, social media marketing is largely a free endeavor, built around locating the public’s pulse and catering to it in a way that exemplifies personality.
Not only is it free, but it’s also fast. There’s no waiting weeks and weeks for a billboard to be completed. If you have a new product to showcase or a flash sale, it can be communicated and spread instantly. And all it takes is a computer or a smart phone and an internet connection, which makes social media marketing even more tantamount to small businesses with small marketing budgets.
Featured Image: CC0 Public Domain via Canva, with text, banner, and logo added.