Creating a great product or service is one thing -- now how are you going to get customers? Here are the core questions your marketing strategy should address:
What's Your Unique Value Proposition?
Unique value proposition is that thing that will get a customer to see past the competition and choose you! In creating an effective value proposition, Daniel Richards offers these tips:
- Keep it short and uncluttered. Your value proposition explains why customers should buy from you. If you can't sum it up in 10 words or less, chances are you won't be able to execute it, either.
- Be precise. Your customers have specific needs; your value proposition should offer targeted solutions
- This is about your customer, not you. Your value proposition should discuss only what matters to your customers and the value you can bring to them.
- Value comes in numerous forms. Money, time, convenience and superior service are a few of the ways you can help deliver value to your customers.
Who's Your Competition?
OK, you know your product's brilliant and revolutionary -- but there's a wide gulf between creating something novel and finding a market for it. That's why the competitive analysis section of your marketing plan is so important.
First, you should look at your direct competitors. Take, for example, a McDonald's restaurant in a busy downtown area. Its direct competitors would be any nearby Burger King or Wendy's restaurants. Its indirect competitors would be other restaurants in the same downtown area, even upscale ones. Customers eat lunch just once a day, and all these restaurants are fighting for this finite group of customers.
Read more about analyzing the competition here.
What's Your Niche?
Many entrepreneurs think that selling to the widest possible market is the likeliest path to success. They are afraid to pursue a market niche because they fear they'll lose business by turning away customers. But this 'take all comers' approach is not very effective. It's hard to stand out when you market your business without a distinctive set of prospects in mind.
Occupying a niche means you won't be competing with a lot of similar businesses solely on price. And because you will be selling products and services that are customized to the specific needs and predispositions of a select group of people, you can often charge more. Your products and services serve a market that can't easily find alternatives.
Read more about finding your niche here.
Who's Interested in Your Story?
A good article marketing plan can get you in front of whole new markets, audiences and customers. That is, if you have a good strategic plan.
"Identify the web publishers and/or ezine publishers who have an audience that you want to attract. Study their websites or ezines, read their editorial guidelines, check to see if they have an editorial calendar (to increase your chances of writing timely relevant content) and create an account with them to send in your first set of article submissions," says Christopher Knight, founder of EzineArticles.com, the Web's largest community and content distribution system for articles by expert authors, with over 2 million monthly visitors.
Read more advice from Christopher here.
What's Your Marketing Mix?
Your marketing mix is a combination of marketing tools that are used to satisfy customers and company objectives. Consumers often call the marketing mix "the offering." Your offer is controlled by the following variables often referred to as the four Ps in marketing:
By using variations of these four components you have the ability to reach multiple consumers within your target market.
Read more about marketing mix here.
Where Should You Advertise?
"Advertising helter skelter just because of aggressive media sales reps, friends' suggestions, status and emotional appeals usually has little or no value, or even hurts the business," Yeaker says. "Every business, no matter the size, needs a planned approach to marketing-directed advertising that supports the company's goals and allows it to prosper."
Find out how to better target your advertising spend here.