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 Work at Home Moms > General Internet Marketing Articles > create a marketing plan

Create a Marketing Plan

Learn more about why to create a marketing plan with your small home based business.

Small or Home Based Businesses need a Marketing Plan to Succeed
If you think you’re too small to create a marketing plan, think again! You can take your cue from some of the business giants out there in order to take your small or home based business to the next level. McDonalds, The Gap and Coca Cola wouldn’t be where they are today without an incredible marketing plan, pulled together with cohesive marketing communications.

“In today’s world of business it is more important than ever to reach, connect and communicate with your customers, because if you aren’t, someone else is,” said Pauline Tonkin, Principal and Marketing Director of Hunter Marketing Group. This is especially true for a small or home based business trying to create a place for themselves in today’s extremely competitive market.

Looking at the big picture can be overwhelming. There’s an endless supply of marketing options that small or home-based business can take advantage of, such as press releases, telemarketing, ad mail, brochures, web sites, e-mail campaigns and much more. But without a solid plan, you’re just be spinning your wheels.

The sad reality is that the majority of small and home based businesses don’t approach their marketing in a strategic way. They may promote their business without clearly identifying their target market, or regularly use marketing campaigns without monitoring the results.

“Today we are bombarded with technology and new tools for reaching, connecting and communicating. But when putting these new tools to work, remember that the same basic marketing principles still apply. Understanding and including these principles in your day-to-day approach to business is crucial to your success,” said Tonkin.

In order to take your business to the next level, a solid marketing plan is required. Marketing is basically the key function directed to your target market (customers) that addresses them specifically.

According to Tonkin, marketing communications fits into your overall marketing plan because it represents a collection of all the activities necessary to establish a consistent message to your customers. Although many of these activities can work well alone, the best results are achieved when they are coordinated with other marketing activities.

This means that every customer directed activity is well defined within your marketing plan. That includes how you answer the phone, create mail, advertising or product packaging. It all must fit together to create a cohesive impression in the eyes of your customers. This consistent image should reflect the best aspects of your business and what you have to offer.

Before you can even begin to put together this cohesive image, you first must know your customers. How can you effectively communicate a message when you don’t know who the message is directed at?

Don’t just assume that you already know your target market, take a moment to ask yourself the following key questions:
Who are my customers?
What do they need?
Why will they buy my product or service?
You’ll probably find that these are difficult questions to answer. If that’s the case, make a point of asking your customers through a survey. As an incentive to fill out the survey, you can offer a free draw with the prize of your product or service for the winner.

Your survey can find out what they like most about your business, what they would change, if they have additional needs you could meet and much more. Use this information to create a solid marketing plan.

Once you are familiar with your target market, put this information down on paper and start writing your marketing plan.

A marketing plan should cover one year and be evaluated at the end of that year. Down the road you can create two to five-year plans, but for now, stick with one year at a time.

When creating your plan, put it into a three-ring binder so that it is easy to refer back to on a regular basis. Try to check in with your plan monthly. Add a tab for monthly reports so that you can track the success of your marketing efforts. In this section, put monthly reports on sales and your return on marketing investments. If a specific activity is costing much more than it brings in, it might be pertinent to re-evaluate that activity and make changes as necessary.

If you think you’re too small to create a marketing plan, think again! You can take your cue from some of the business giants out there in order to take your small or home based business to the next level. McDonalds, The Gap and Coca Cola wouldn’t be where they are today without an incredible marketing plan, pulled together with cohesive marketing communications.

These companies know that effective marketing is not just about creating catchy jingles or funny commercials, but rather that’s it’s about understanding their customers can communicating key messages clearly while maintaining a consistent identity that corresponds to the values of that target market.

Although not all work at home moms are planning on being the next McDonalds, you can still use your marketing plan and cohesive marketing communications on a smaller scale to reap similar benefits.

So take some time to get to know your customers, write down what you learn and then plan strategic marketing strategies to best reach and communicate with them. Review your plan regularly to make sure it works and plan to succeed. With a well thought out plan, your small or home-based business will soar.

Valerie Giles operates of interest to home-business beginners looking for profitable business ideas, resources and start up information. She successfully operates a graphic design and internet HBB.




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