You’ve got your business idea, you’ve named your business, you know who your clients will be… so, now it’s time to think about marketing your business!
The first step, similar to when you were developing your business and created a business plan, is to create a marketing plan. This marketing plan can actually be added to the marketing section of your business plan, or it can just be used to give you direction and to give employees or contractors some basic information about how you want to approach things.
What is included in a marketing plan? Take a look!
- Executive Summary – If you are putting your marketing plan into your business plan you do not need this section. But, if you are using the marketing plan independently then it is important to include this section to give an overview of the business concept and the basics of the marketing plan. Include a mission statement if you have one.
- Target Customers – You have identified who your target client(s) is. In this section, elaborate on who these people are using demographics including age, gender, marital status, occupation etc. Whatever is relevant to your business and whatever might be relevant to where you will market your business in order to connect with your ideal client.
- Unique Selling Proposition – In this section, you will answer the question “what sets your company apart from your competition”. Go into detail about why a client should choose you over others like you.
- Pricing & Positioning Strategy – You may have already assessed this in your business plan, so you might be able to just transfer the information over. If you have not, explain your price structure by describing your business’ financial goals, making sure the prices align with your target client and the market in your area.
- Promotion Strategy – What channels will you use to promote your services? (We will discuss these options throughout the rest of this week!) Traditional Marketing, Digital Marketing, Grassroots Marketing? What makes the most sense for your target client?
- Offers – Will you use promotions? If so, what will your offers be? Create a marketing timeline for the first year if applicable. Example: Create a Veteran’s Day promotion to reach out to vets specifically, but also have a Black Friday promotion, perhaps, to offer a discount to any and all potential clients.
- Marketing Materials – You need a logo, a website, brochures perhaps. You will need to use quality stock photos or hire a photographer. You need to make sure your image is cohesive throughout the development of your marketing materials.
- Conversion Strategy – Once a potential client hears about your business, how can you convert that potential into a client? Attempt to gauge a conversion rate so that you know how many potential clients you need to touch with your marketing in order to get the number of conversions you would like. Set conversion goals as you work with the representatives or contractors from the various marketing outlets you choose to partner with. Also consider things like how your front desk will answer the phones to make sure potential clients who make it that far in the process are not turned off by a poorly trained receptionist. All of these touch points and the process the customer has to go through to become a client is critical to your conversion strategy. It might be worth it to have a person or two “secret shop” your office to make sure everything is running the way you would like for that new client experience.
- Retention Strategy – You have some clients! Yay! How will you keep them? What will turn them into long-term clients? What could potentially keep them from coming back after that first appointment?
- Referral Strategy – Referrals are the least expensive way to bring new clients into your office. Having a solid referral strategy (which relies on a solid retention strategy, since disgruntled clients will not refer their friends and family) is the key to keeping your marketing costs low. Consider referral cards or a referral incentive. Also consider where clients are reviewing your business and make sure those reviews are positive ones!