APPRENTICE TIPS: Marketing plans to grow your small business

Tuesday January 22 2019


By Julius Bulili

It is of no doubt that all successful world class businesses have a clear marketing strategy that makes everything they do more effective.

Regrettably, many busy small business owners get so over-involved in tactical daily marketing execution like building a website, sending email, tweeting, advertising, blogging and so on, that they are not taking the time to work on the decisions that will improve the performance of their tactics.

Strategy is simply the decisions you need to make so your tactics work better. Your marketing strategy is the groundwork for creating awareness, generating interest, closing new sales and continuing customer engagement. Your marketing strategy guides your company ethnicity, your products and services mix as well as your pricing.

When crafting a successful marketing strategy, there are a number of key decisions that need to be considered by business owners in order to grow their sales and create good sense in their businesses. My notion in this article is to highlight these most critical decisions to ensure market execution is properly and more professionally done to position your prominent business out of the crowd.

To make your tactics work better in business you have to decide on the single, simple answer to each of the underneath questions and commit to not changing it for a year or two. This is focus. You need to develop a clear focus and a realistic strategy.

The first decision in any marketing strategy is to define the target customer. “Who do you serve?” always needs to be answered clearly before you can execute any tactic effectively. This means you have to say “no” to other potential customers who might buy from you but who are clearly bad fits for your narrow focus. It takes some time to develop this discipline, but unfortunately it is hard to do effective marketing without it.

Focusing on a well-defined target may make you uncomfortable at first, but stay focused and follow through. By doing this your offered service will definitely be narrowed but still with strengthened area of play.

If you are spending time and money on marketing but your efforts are not driving enough sales, the problem is almost always that you haven’t narrowed your target market definition enough to be effective. The narrower you define your market so you can focus on those that you can best serve and those that can best service you, the more effective your entire business will be.

Secondly, you need to define your business category. Your category is simply the short description of what business you are in. What few words would someone say to describe your business?

Most business owners can’t resist over-complicating their company descriptions. This leaves people unsure of what you actually do, which weakens your marketing effectiveness. Here’s a simple rule: If someone can’t clearly remember your category description a month after you meet them, they were never clear about what you do in the first place.

Clearly defining your category helps amplify your marketing and sales efforts. Think of what it would take to be the best – the leader – in your category. You’re not the leader? Then narrow your category definition (or your target market focus) until you are the leader. A focused laser can melt steel at a distance, but the same light undirected has no effect. Be laser-like in your focus.

Thirdly, your unique benefit should highlight the one (or two) main things your product or service actually delivers (benefits) that your target customer really wants, not a long list of all the things your product does (features). or