Happy New Year.
As a small business owner or sole trader now is a great time to be reviewing or creating your business and marketing plan.
The marketing focus of your plan will have:
- Target market (who)
- Marketing strategy (how)
- Goals (what by when)
You may be tempted to write “everyone” as your target market as you’d be happy for anyone and everyone to be a customer. However this is a mistake. You don’t have the resources to be everywhere and if you spend the limited money or time you have targeting everyone it’s unlikely to be successful.
Choosing a target market is not about excluding possible customers, it’s about where you spend your resources. Another-words, if your target market is “male, 16-30yrs, lives in Adelaide, likes the latest gadgets”, you wouldn’t not sell your product to a 45 year old female should she walk in the door and want to buy it. It means your advertising dollars will be spent targeting the people most likely to, but not exclusively, buy your product.
Where do the people in your target market hang out? Do they go to the movies – in which case you might consider cinema advertising. Are most of them likely to drive along West Terrace on a daily basis – in which case billboard advertising might seem like a good idea. Are they on facebook a lot – you guessed it – in which case Facebook advertising is a good choice.
When it comes to online marketing I recommend three channels as being the most likely to suit small businesses and sole traders, MailChimp, Facebook and Google.
Most small business owners underrate the effectiveness of email and overthink its nuisance factor. DIY Digital is a registered MailChimp Expert and can help your business explore this cost effective marketing channel to convert leads to customers, re-establish patronage from previous customers and get new customers through referrals.
Facebook offers a free way to create brand awareness and customer loyalty. Sure, it takes time and inspiration, but it doesn’t require money to engage with your current and potential customers.
As a first time Facebook advertising spend on Facebook you may be tempted to Boost a Post. When this results in a ten-fold increase in reach, happiness abounds. Then when it doesn’t convert to sales, disappointment sets in. Go beyond boosting a post with your Facebook advertising and get results.
Sign up for one of our free Facebook seminars to learn more.
Google is king when it comes to Australians searching online. Your business will benefit if you understand the most important Google products and how to use them to optimise your reach.
Listing your business on Google Maps is free, easy and a must do. Watch this video to show you how.
Getting the best results on a Google search for your website is an important achievement. You’ll probably want to be on page one of Google and fair enough – because people are unlikely to go beyond page one results when choosing which website best fits their query. It costs a lot of money to hire a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) expert as it is a highly specialised area requiring a long-term commitment.
For the do-it-yourself small business owner on a tight budget it can be hard to navigate the complexity of SEO. In these circumstances consider a step by step approach. Your first step could be to understand keywords and begin to use them. Your second step may be to install and use Google Analytics. Sign up to the DIY Digital newsletter to find out about the DIY SEO course for beginners.
Good, clear, actionable goals are an important business driver. Consider the butterfly test when setting your goals – that is – they should create a little flutter (of nervousness) when you set the number. Not a number so ridiculously high it’s unachievable, but not one so low as to be easy street.
Most businesses will find the following effective:
- Two year goal (broad, descriptive goal)
- One year goal (a few broad descriptive goals with numbers and dollars stated)
- 9 month, 6 month and 3 month goals (interval goals each working towards the one and two year goals)
Three months is a good length for a goal, with a review at the end of each month. If you are in the habit of doing your finances at the end of each month, add a review of your goals to this task. Three months also matches in with the financial quarter, when businesses need to report on their GST and BAS. Reviewing your goals at this time will assist this task to get done. So often businesses make plans and then they gather dust, never to be seen again. Re-reading your plans and goals can motivate and focus your energies.
Review your Marketing Plan
Each three month review is an ideal time to read and update the marketing plan. I re-write my business plan and update my goals every 3 months. It might only be a paragraph here or a bullet point there, but as I realise my plan is not working, or I have new information, I take this into account. I keep my old plan (file it in a folder called “old plans” – why I’m not quite sure) and the updated version gets a v1 or v2 or v3 attached to its name.
The most up-to-date version is in my top level folder and I refer to it when I am writing my weekly to do list. As a sole trader or small business owner it’s up to you to keep yourself on track – and your business plan is a great way to do it. And the New Year is a great time to get back on track.