Having a great idea, or even a great product or service, does not mean you have a business. Plenty of great ideas come to broke daydreamers. If you don't have a plan to sell what you have, you will not succeed. You need to identify, attract, and close with customers if you ever want your idea to become a successful company. Here are 7 actionable steps to try right now to achieve your marketing goals.
1. Know Your Competition
Before you can compete in the market, you have to understand what you are up against. Take time to study the companies currently operating in your space, and the customers they have. You want to win, after all! Take the time to study competitors so you can attack the market well.
2. Conduct a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is an examination of your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Just like you need to know your competitors, you need to get a realistic sense of who you are. Here, it is not an existential quandary, but rather a deep dive into understanding what your company has going for it and where it needs to improve. All of this helps you direct your marketing more effectively.
3. Use a Mission Statement
Defining who you are can give you a north star when you start to lose your way. Your mission statement does this. It is a brief statement or outline of your company values. It should infuse every aspect of not only your operations but your marketing as well. This can help set you apart from your competitors.
4. Build a Budget
No marketing strategy exists with unlimited funds. Absent a rich relative, you need to strike a balance between spending enough to bring in business and spending more than you can recover in revenue. Understanding the numbers with which you are working helps you focus on the most effective and efficient strategies.
5. Outline Your Strategies
Today, you have more online and offline options than ever for reaching customers. Social media marketing, email campaigns, direct mail campaigns, and print and media advertising offer avenues with different cost structures, strengths, and weaknesses. Be creative, and find the best path for you.
6. Test Your Messages
Sometimes a great idea does not pan out. Other times, what seems like a silly concept attracts a surprisingly large following. Building out ideas serves as your beginning, but following through to ensure they effectively drive revenue is critical to your success.
7. Create a Timeline
Finally, you need a timeline in place. Market examination and testing can create a cycle of paralysis by analysis. Often, the difference between wishes and goals, and the difference between an idea and a company is a time frame for completion. Have a timeline to turn a dream into a real strategy.
Any marketing plan needs to build on strategies you can execute in a timely manner. By taking these steps, you can create an action plan to help build your business for long term growth.