By Phillip Thune, Textbroker
Marketing involves steps that lead a business to determine who its customers are or should be, how best to approach them, how to measure responses, how to find more customers, and how to increase the business’s bottom line. Don’t forget, more important than the number of sales is the amount of profitable sales. To best position your small business in the market, it is crucial to follow these essential marketing practices.
1. Research the market
Research sounds like something only bigger businesses do. If a new business neglects this step, however, it risks selling the wrong product to the wrong people in the wrong place, or at the wrong price. Gather customer feedback so you can make educated business decisions about what your customers need and will buy in the future. Entrepreneur magazine recommends that businesses use surveys, direct mail, and interviews to get their primary research.
2. Write an overall marketing plan
Having an overall marketing plan can help establish a baseline strategy to position the company and grow revenue. It is an essential tool. Include the following in a basic marketing plan:
- Level of market penetration
- Target market
- Geographical segments
- Growth Strategy
- Distribution channels
- Communication Strategy
Resources like Business Insider, Forbes, and WikiHow have great articles that provide templates for getting started.
3. Establish an annual marketing budget
It is vital for a business to set an appropriate marketing budget. If the business spends too little acquiring customers, it will endanger the flow of new business. If the business spends too much, it will waste money.
Keep in mind the type of customer the business needs to attract or retain. Setting the budget can be a challenge and depends on the total revenue goals, size of the company, and the establishment of the brand. According to the US Small Business Administration, marketing budgets should be 7% - 20% of the gross revenue of the business. (source)
4. Build a brand
Branding is an important component of the product or service, contributing to its quality and perceived value. Of critical value to a business, many consumers will buy a product strictly on the strength of the brand, no matter what the cost or how it actually performs. Businesses can build their brand by establishing consistently used brand guidelines, advertising, and content marketing.
5. Develop materials that drive sales
In order to further brand awareness, drive spur-of-the-moment purchases by target customers, and repeat purchases by current customers, a business needs excellent marketing materials.
When producing sales materials, first remember your differentiators and those of your competitors. You will want to make sure that your materials are better at attracting the target customer’s interest immediately.
Following these five basic steps are crucial to marketing a small business and driving revenue. When businesses’ have a solid plan that begins with marketing, they can rise above the competition, build the market, and turn a profit.
About the author, Phillip Thune
At Textbroker, Mr. Thune is the CEO-Americas, responsible for growth and strategy. Prior to Textbroker, Mr. Thune was the CEO of HireMeNow.com and President of MIVA (previously FindWhat.com), where he helped grow the company from 35 employees and $500,000 in annual revenue to 500 employees and nearly $200 million in five years, raise over $34 million dollars, acquire five businesses for a total of $230 million, and achieve a market capitalization of over $700 million.
Textbroker is the leading internet platform for on-demand, unique written content, delivering tens of thousands of items per month to its client base. Textbroker.com offers custom U.S. English content creation from 100,000 U.S.-based freelance authors. Textbroker’s other websites offer custom content from professional, native-speaking authors in German (textbroker.de), French (textbroker.fr), UK English (textbroker.co.uk), Spanish (textbroker.es) and Dutch (textbroker.nl). Textbroker is backed, in part, by Viewpoint Capital Partners, a €200 million private equity firm. More information is available at www.textbroker.com.
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