what you want to achieve before spending a penny.
According to The Wall Street Journal, only 14% of small
businesses have an annual business plan in writing, and 60%
have no plan on paper at all. Considering that a business
plan is the precursor to a marketing plan, it stands to reason
that even fewer businesses have a marketing plan. Thats
good news for you: if you take the time to create a marketing
plan, you will stand head and shoulders above your competition.
You should have a marketing
plan before spending any money on advertising or promotion.
You may get great deals on advertising, but if it doesnt
fit your objectives, you are wasting your money.
Know your audience demographics
Its important to know that you sell most of your widgets
to 39-year-old married women with 2.4 children. But even more
powerful ad decisions are predicated on psychographics
what are her hobbies, politics, charities?
Dont try to be
an expert at everything.
Small-business people are inherently self-sufficient, but
we can take it too far. Outsource tasks and projects that
are outside your comfort range or are simply too time- consuming.
This goes for services from legal and accounting to marketing
Treat your employees
Employee churn can be devastating to client satisfaction and
retention. The impact of happy employees will have far-reaching
effects on other employees and your customers.
Not every customer is
You cannot be all things to all people. Sometimes you have
to let customers go, and refocus energies on those clients
who are a better fit for your business. At the outset of a
business, its hard to believe you will ever need to
break up with a customer, but there may come a
time when you are no longer meant for each other.
Getting a new customer
is five times more expensive than retaining a current customer.
Customer retention is a matter of business survival. Use your
successes with current customers to attract new referral business.
Focus on the happiness of your current clients, make them
feel loved and appreciated all the time.
Dont be rushed
into making decisions.
If your marketing and media plan is in place, there is no
need to make hasty buying decisions. A marketing and media
plan will help keep you on budget throughout the year.
Dont abandon your
marketing and advertising too soon.
Just because you are tired of an ad doesnt mean its
time to pull it -- your prospect probably hasnt even
noticed it yet. Dont expect overnight success from your
advertising, especially if youre selling a service.
Select a media
mix for success.
Advertising in one medium alone wont cut it. Mix TV
with radio, print with the Internet, direct mail with trade
Goofs can be your friends.
You will make errors in judgment along the way. Thats
OK. Remember the mistakes you have made, and you will make
better decisions next time.