For many small businesses the one thing that is commonly overlooked is planning, and from my perspective, ‘marketing planning’. I often see that small business owners quickly gravitate to building their main online profile, their website, without doing a little bit of strategic thinking..
Without a bit of forward thinking or planning, some key critical points are overlooked. And as a result, businesses are compromising their opportunity for generating greater sales.
To give you an analogy, it’s like jumping in your car and starting to drive down the road, without having a clear idea of your final destination. We don’t do it in our daily life, and so it’s even more important not to do it with our businesses.
With a little bit of forward planning, a little bit of strategic thinking, it’s surprising how it can influence your website approach, content, navigation approach, and design. Just to name a few.
Planning for Your Business
So what are some of the key areas we should put some thought to?
Your Target Markets: Ask yourself, who are you predominately wanting to connect/sell to?
Your Point/s of Difference: Have you been able to identify what makes you different from your competitors? Why should they buy from you? It could be your expertise, your product /service range, your customer service ethos, your location, your price positioning. Or any other possible differentiating factor.
Your Key Marketing Messages: This really should tie in to the above two points. Once you know you key target markets, and your point/s of difference, it’s important to carefully craft your key selling messages to be on target and to entice potential customers to purchase.
Your Strengths and Weaknesses: I always believe/promote to your strengths, and minimise the impact or attention to your weaknesses. Look at what your competitors are doing, and how do you compare with them on the key things that matter to your customers?
What market opportunities are there? Within your local/global market what are the key changes that are happening that provide you with new opportunities? With the changes that technologies provide, previous geographical boundaries can easily be extended beyond your specific local location.
It’s surprising, that if you answer these questions in a different way, how much it alters and fine tunes your marketing approach. By simply re-defining your target market/s, it has an impact on the language you use, how you communicate regarding tone and style, your website layout and design. Just to name a few.
So, if you feel you have been working hard at pulling together all your marketing activities, and you’re not getting the results you want, possibly it’s time to put in some strategic thinking. Through simply stepping back from the noise of it all, and getting a bit more of a market overview, it may provide you with the insight and understanding of where to go to from here.
It’s not about writing a 20 page bound booklet that never gets looked at again. It really is about putting in the thinking, to be smart and ‘on’ with your marketing. It may even end up being a 1-page summary document; but most importantly it gives you a bit of a framework and space to consider the right strategic direction for your business.
As I said at the start of this, we don’t get in our car without clearly knowing the destination, so we should put in the same degree of forward thinking and planning for the success of our business.