BUILDING YOUR MARKETING PLAN: STEP 2 CREATING YOUR BUSINESS IMAGE AND FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE
By: Carol M. Aldridge | Equine Office Solutions
The first step in building a marketing plan for any equine business is to define your target market. Our previous article defines what a target market is, how to determine yours, and understanding their needs and wants. Once you have accomplished this, you’ll be well on your way, and can turn your focus toward market analysis and establishing your value proposition.
BASIC MARKET ANALYSIS
Performing even a simple market analysis will help you become acquainted with your current audience and your competition. It will help you create a value proposition, produce strong and attainable goals, and help determine a clear focus for your specific marketing campaigns.
1. Review past sales & business activity: first, review sales for the past two years. How did your customers find you? What did they buy? What needs did you fill? What are their demographics? The answers to these questions will provide valuable information that will help shape your future marketing focus.
2. Research your competition: Determine who your competitors are. Visit their websites, follow them on social media, and subscribe to their newsletters to keep informed on what they are doing to stay competitive in the market. How do they differ from you? How are your businesses the same? Evaluate strengths and weaknesses of both.
3. Poll your customers: Send a brief poll out to your current and past customers to help shed light on what you are doing right and where you may have room for improvements or enhancements. What value have they found in your products or services? What would they like to see you offer in the future? How did they find you? You can even go a step further and invite them to write a recommendation for publication on your website.
YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION
Once you have completed a basic market analysis, you are ready to shape your value proposition. A strong value proposition will differentiate you from your competition and give you a significant competitive edge. Finding clear ways of being unique and positioning yourself as a visible expert in the market will help attract your target audience.
Ask yourself: “What are the problems I solve and the results I enable?”
- Define the problem(s) you are looking to solve
- Evaluate whether your offer is unique and compelling
- Measure the ease of which the customer can find and use your offerings
- Build your Value Proposition
Tag Line: Consider developing a tag line to communicate your value proposition in about 10 words or less.
ESTABLISHING YOUR MARKETING GOALS
One of your main goals should always be to draw interested prospects to your website where they can access your contact information, learn more about your business, your unique value proposition and your products and services, and perhaps even read recommendations from customers and colleagues.
Additionally, setting a series of long and short term goals will help you maintain a specific focus, and will allow you to measure the success of your marketing efforts.
Some items to consider:
-craft very specific goals, as they lead to much greater success than general goals
-take care to assure your goals are realistic, attainable and measurable
-set long-term goals first and then short-term second (step-by-step to support long-term goals)
Suggested Marketing Goal Categories:
1. Sales/ Income
3. Web Traffic
4. Social Media Page Likes & Post Interactions
5. New Customers
7. Email Marketing Campaign Opens/Clicks
8. Collaborative Partnerships
9. Media Coverage
10. Blog Comments
In conclusion, inbound marketing and reaching out to your targeted audience are most successful when there’s a plan in place and steps have been taken to establish a clear and focused presentation and realistic goals. Watch for future articles in this series, where we will explore enhanced marketing strategies and measuring the success of your marketing efforts.
Defining Your Competitive Edge:
How to never run out of customers again
Building a compelling value proposition
Setting Business Goals:
Steps to Successful Business Goals:
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