Before we move on to selecting the best marketing tools and techniques for you to use for your business, here are some key considerations:
- Where will you find your customers?
- How much time do you have?
- How much is your marketing budget? Let’s look at each of those a little more closely.
1. Where will you find your customers?
Marketing is so much more successful when you go to where your clients are, not where you want them to be.
- By now, you should be getting a real feel for who your clients are and where you will find them – and that is where you need to direct your marketing efforts. For example, there is little point advertising in the
- paper if the majority of your sales are
- ; or using in-person networking techniques when your clients are all online. By being specific about your customers (their age, habits, locations etc) you can, in turn, be specific about which marketing tools and techniques are most likely to succeed for them.
2. How much time do you have?
- Business owners are always busy so finding time to market will be challenging. Choose marketing techniques and tools which work with the time you have, otherwise you are likely to get frustrated.
3. How much is your marketing budget?
- Setting a marketing budget at the beginning of the year is good policy. Not only can you then track those marketing dollars (and see what return you see on them in terms of new clients or sales) but it will prevent you from making snap decisions and help you size your campaigns appropriately.
What do our Case Studies think?
- We asked our Case Studies to list their answers to these questions in order to get clear about their marketing intentions before moving into the next activity.
Here’s what they said:
Geoff: “My customers mostly come from word-of-mouth sources based on their attendance at classic car events. They are mostly 35-60 year old men – with the majority in the upper area of that age bracket. I give out business cards when I attend in person. They are usually from the Northern Alberta area. I haven’t yet need to “market” myself as such – apart from giving out the business cards. However, as the business is expanding, I will need to reach more people and will put aside a little time each day to follow my plan. In terms of a budget, for the first year, I have set aside $500.” Jennifer: “My customers are generally local to west Edmonton where the store is based but if we are running a special, they may come from all over the city and surrounding areas. They are busy single women from most age groups and younger married couples. We advertise in the local “Good Living” magazine which attracts more customers and we have a website which generates some online interest. I do intend to work harder on the marketing aspect of the business after Christmas when I will schedule time each week and especially to launch the food delivery service. I have a marketing budget of $2000 for the first year.” Mike: “I believe the majority of my customers will be from the north central area of Alberta. I want to focus on providing cleaning services for financial institutions including banks and credit unions. I have used a website successfully with my other businesses and know that a lot of business will be gained through online efforts. I put aside 1-2 days per week in marketing activities for all my businesses. I have a budget of $10,000.” Cindi and Wayne: “Our customers are located mainly in Sherwood Park and are mostly new home owners of all age groups. We currently rely mainly on word-of-mouth via home builders and commercial contractors so have not had to allocate specific time and resources to marketing at this point. To launch the new service we do want to do more and so will allocate at least 1 day per month to marketing and have a budget of $500.”
- Your turn! Please think about the 3 questions above, and write your response for inclusion in the Business Plan. You can write in your notes or there is space on the worksheet.