Monday, January 12, 2009

Business - Five Essential Steps for Marketing Your Business

All green industry businesses should place more emphasis on marketing during a down economy. The following some information on marketing essentials from Penn State University.

Five Essential Steps For Marketing Your Business

"I know this business inside out," Laura told me the week she started her new business. "I just don't have the foggiest idea of how to market it!" It's a problem that many business managers face. If you don't know how to get the word out - how to market your product or service - it can be a struggle to get the customers needed to grow a business. Here are five considerations some believe support great marketing.

1) What is your market?

Decide who your main customers are or will be. As a group, how old are they? Where do they live? How much money do they make? What kinds of jobs do they have and what are their interests? The better you can sketch a detailed profile of the kinds of people, who will be your main customers, the better you'll fare in the next four steps.

2) What kinds of media do your main customers use?

Each type of media has its own target audience. Each radio station, newspaper, magazine, or TV program tries to interest a specific segment of the population. The trick is to match your main customers with the kinds of media they use. Effective media can be anything that conveys your message. Media choices range from million dollar commercials in the Super Bowl to a few free pens with your name on them. From a simple flyer posted at a local store to good signs on the side of your vehicles.

3) Limit the media you use to what you can afford to use consistently. The key to effective marketing is consistency. You have to hit the audience with your message again, and again, and again. Marketers use the Rule of Seven. Prospects must see or hear your message seven times before they consider buying.

4) Sell the main benefit of your product or service. Make your marketing client centered. How does your product or service improve your customer's life? Talk to your customer from their own perspective. Does your product or service save them time? Make them happier? Make their properties more attractive?

5) And finally, don't miss out on FREE publicity.
Radio, TV, newspapers, newsletters, and magazines regularly lookout for good stories. Is there something about you or your business that would interest other people? Is there something about your business that is newsworthy? Maybe you have useful information to share with others. Last, but certainly not least, remember to promote your business on-line. The internet is open to everyone. It's the only "big" media that allows the small business person to get their message out at very low cost.

These are the five essential steps to effective marketing. Keep them in mind as you decide how to spend your marketing budget. These steps represent the most significant reasons why some marketing efforts fails while others bring in loads of sales.

Reprinted with modifications from "Five Essential Steps For Marketing Your Business" in the January, 2009 edition of the Vegetable and Small Fruit Gazetter, by John Berry, Agricultural Marketing Educator, Penn State Cooperative Extension - Lehigh County

No comments: