Marketing Plan Step 2

I’m currently working on market research, via the methods I described yesterday. So far I have waded through a list of potential companies and begun compiling a list, which I’ll cold call, ask a few questions and then politely thank for their help. Once I’ve compiled that data from 12-24 small businesses (my target market) I’ll move onto step two of creating my marketing plan.

Once I’ve finished doing market research (at least once I’ve finished with my initial market research – it’s always a good idea to continually develop your research) the second step is to create a marketing strategy. In other words, look critically at the information your research provided, and decide what you will be doing to get your name and brand in front of those potential clients.

For example, one of the questions that I’ll be asking as part of my research is where these business owners look for services. So the first part of my marketing plan will be to get my services listed in the places my interviewees mention – places like Google yellow pages, or chamber of commerce websites, for example. I’ll also make a list of any general business publications the interviewees say they read and consider querying those publications with business article ideas. By writing in places my potential clients are already looking for advice, I’ll be able to quickly establish myself as an expert.

I’ll look at my results to determine what angle I should take in my marketing materials, and I may survey potential customers with some of the naming options I’ve come up with to see if any are particularly popular. I’ll ask how many of them attend small business networking events in the area and which events they attend. I’ll try to determine if they’d respond better to cold calling, direct mail, or some other means of approach.

And above all, I’ll try to keep an open mind.

A big part of research is to determine, before investing a lot of time and energy into a marketing strategy, that there truly is a need for the services you want to offer among the demographic you hope to work with and that it is financially feasible to work within that market. That will be one of the biggest things I attempt to obtain information on in my research – will small business actually pay what I believe I need to price my services at for the services I offer. And will they see that payment as worthwhile.

If the demographic you had hoped to turn into potential clients isn’t interested in the services you offer and you don’t think you can make them become interested, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and possibly rework your initial idea. After all, that’s what research is all about.

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