A survey of small and micro business owners found that 66% struggle with finding new customers, while 40% said they had difficulty in retaining their existing customers.
Finding and keeping customers doesn’t happen by accident; it happens with marketing. The problem is that without a marketing strategy finding customers is unnecessarily difficult while keeping the customers you do attract is even harder.
If that isn’t reason enough for you to sit down and create a marketing plan for your business, here’s 9 other good reasons to convince you to do just that.
An essential part of creating a marketing strategy is to identify and understand your competition. Once you know who your competitors are, what they do and how they do it, it’s much easier for you to demonstrate what makes you unique.
Creating a marketing plan forces you to get to really ‘know’ your target customers; it makes you design your offer to meet their specific needs as well as identifying all the unique elements that will encourage them to choose you rather than one of your competitors.
As a small or micro business owner, one thing is certain, you are time-poor. Taking the time to create a marketing plan enables you to break tasks down into bite-size, easy-to-accomplish, a step-by-step process rather than the prospect of having to complete massive, overwhelming tasks.
A marketing plan will have both objectives and goals. Objectives are the overarching, large-scale business needs that you identify, such as, more customers or increased turnover. Goals are the measurable outcomes of your objectives, such as 10 more customers or a 20% increase in turnover. Without goals objectives are wishes. With goals, you will be able to measure exactly what is happening so that you can do more of what works and stop doing what doesn’t.
A marketing plan helps to remove that out-of-control feeling you sometimes get because it seems like there are more and more things to do every day. It will help you plan your day-to-day activity, keep a close eye on your business costs and know precisely your overall business activity. It also prevents decisions being made out of panic or impulse.
Working on the business rather than in the business it can sometimes feel that you are unable to be as creative as you want. But the opposite is true. A marketing plan provides a template for you to formalise your ideas and concepts; turning your ideas into reality. It is also a repository for all those other creative ideas that you have as you move forward – all you do is record them and then fit them into the plan at the optimum time for their best contribution to your business growth.
With a marketing plan making decisions becomes really easy. You know what your offer is, you know who your target market is, you know what they respond to, you know where to find them. Therefore, deciding on which marketing channels or tactics you are going to use is simple. And all those things that won’t help you achieve your marketing objectives and targets? Well, you can just decide to say ‘no’.
Running a business and marketing a business cost money. There are some great tools available that are free, and you should make as much use of these as you possibly can, but not spending on your marketing is a bad idea. Creating a marketing plan will allow you to be very clear about how much you will need to spend and where you will need to spend it. This will enable you to keep a tighter control on your costs and keep spending to the areas that will really make a difference.
With so much going on around you and so many tools and technologies available it’s easy to get side-tracked. A marketing plan will help to avoid time-wasting, allowing you to focus on your business objectives and goals. It will give everything you do focus and it will eliminate distractions.