If you want to succeed in marketing your business online, you need to develop a successful marketing strategy plan. To understand what is meant by marketing strategy plan,Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_strategy)defines ‘Marketing Strategy’ as follows:
“A Marketing strategy is a process that requires your company or organization to concentrate its limited resources on the best opportunities to increase your sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.”
Keep in mind the key phrases, ‘limited resources, ‘increase sales’, and ‘competitive advantage’, to help you develop your marketing strategy plan that will help you achieve the success you want to achieve in your business. When a business does not have a plan, they will fail. It’s like saying you want to get from point A to point B but you don’t have a specific path to follow. Establishing your marketing strategy plan keeps you on your path to success and will keep you accountable towards achieving your business success.
Here are 5 steps for developing your successful marketing strategy plan:
1. Research Your Idea or Concept
Do your research to ensure your product is saleable. Make sure your product and service is ‘in demand’ in the market. Determine who your ‘target’ customer or client is. Find out who your competition is. To do this two of the best research tools are Google searches and surveys.
Google searches – Follow the links and research the websites. Note if the content is up-to-date and current – you will be able to tell by reading through the pages and noting any dates. If the content is very old, this could mean the product or service did not generate positive results/enough profits. Prospective customers don’t keep up with businesses that are producing little to no return.
The other thing you want to look at is how many google results do you get for a word or phrase? If a Google search doesn’t produce high results you are looking for, the reason may be the concept is very new and no one has thought of it or there just isn’t enough demand for the product or service in the market place. Consider carefully if your concept is new and only one of its kind. How much demand is there for that product or service?
Surveys – Ask your potential customer or client if they would want or need a product or service and ask what they need and want in that product or service. Their responses can help you to develop a product or service that will satisfy your customer’s specific requirements. Another question to ask your potential customer is what are they willing to pay for that product or service?
Information you receive from your survey research will help you to enhance and develop a new concept that will be even better than concepts that already exist. Information from the survey will also help you to determine who your target customer is and if your product or service has potential for increasing demand.
2. Review Your Competition
Look at your competitors as an opportunity to learn from them rather than looking as your competition. In reviewing your competition do you see an opportunity for another similar product or service in the marketplace?
SWOT: Evaluate and analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of your completion. What are their strengths and how can you enhance on their strengths? Can you do something better? What are their weaknesses and how can you capitalize on those weaknesses to ensure you don’t have the same weaknesses? Do you see any opportunities to improve, enhance, develop and maintain a “better” product or service? What possible threats could they cause towards your business?
Learning from your competition provides you with an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and improve upon or duplicate their concepts -- what they are doing -- that generates positive results.
3. Creating Your Action Steps
After completing the first two steps in developing your marketing strategy plan, you should be able to conclude if your product or service is ‘in demand', be aware of what your “competition” is doing and how you will improve and enhance on what is already out there. Step 3 is when determine what steps you will need to do to promote and market your product or service.
There are many different very effective methods available to market your business these days. Things to keep in mind when developing your strategy plan are:
Develop trust from your customers and clients. To be successful, your customers must know that your product or service exists, they must like you and your business and trust that you follow through on the product or service that you provide. Start by getting the word out about your product or service. Next, your clients will like you when you give them value in maintaining a relationship with you. Finally your clients will trust you when you do what you say you will do.
Share your expertise whenever you can. Make sure you have a website for your business and keep it up-to-date. Write blog posts and articles frequently – at least twice a month. Take advantage of any networking opportunities where you can get to know people who will spread the word about your business.
Find and stay with marketing methods that work for you. When you feel comfortable about the marketing methods you are doing, this will motivate and inspire you which will help you will achieve greater success. For example, if you have a talent for writing then write a newsletter; if you are outgoing then join a networking group. When you choose something you enjoy doing, you are more likely to keep it up and be successful.
4. Implement the Plan
If you want to be successful then be pro-active. Take action every day with your business. If you develop a marketing strategy with good intentions, but never implement it, then you might as well have not developed the plan at all.
5. Evaluate and Review
Evaluate and review your plan every 3 months as your business continues to grow. Ensure that your marketing strategy plan continues to be an effective strategy that generates the results you want.
Your marketing strategy plan should be created for new business ideas or concepts you develop such as a new product or service or an amendment to your current products or services. When you begin to make planning a part of your marketing strategy, finding the success you want will be much easier to achieve. When you stay on track with your marketing strategy plan, you will see the results you want towards your success.