Marketing plans aren’t rocket science

We’re delighted to welcome another guest blogger to the Being Smarter stable. Maria Sadler runs The Small Marketing Company and has set herself up (quite uniquely) as a Social Media manager for people who know they should… but don’t have the time.

Maria’s first thoughts for Being Smarter are below…

You don’t need to throw large sums of money at advertising and PR to get started you just need to be a bit savvy. So here are some tips to get you started.

1) Think about your targets first

This may sound obvious but if you start to really hone in on who your ideal customer is, you can start to identify where they ‘hang out’. For example if your business benefits mothers with school age children you could target PTAs and school newsletters. If your business or service would be of interest to local businesses, check out the local Chamber of Commerce and local networking groups.

Now you know who your targets are and where you might find them, you need to consider how to attract their attention. If you are targeting a busy professional who will no doubt receive countless emails per day you need to grab their attention fast by being brief, different and a little intriguing.

These are probably the ideal people to send an eye catching but short email – Targets to Prospects software is perfect for this – or consider approaching them via Twitter, where you get 140 characters to grab attention.

2) Now think about your message

Once you understand your customer, you can then start to craft your message to make sure you get their attention. Work out what problems and issues they face and then think how your product or service could help resolve them. You may be desperate to tell them about a great new feature of your product but guess what, your potential customer won’t care.

Try the ‘so what’ test. So what benefit does that feature give the customer, focus on the feature that gives the greatest benefits, and think about the problems your customer has that you can alleviate.

3) Differentiate yourself from the competition

Whilst price is always a factor, at the moment is isn’t always the decider. So you need to determine what is different/better about your service above the competition. Here is one of the places that being ‘visible’ and something of an authority on a subject can be of great advantage, and this is where an online presence comes in.

Think about when you are looking for a product or service – what is the first thing you do? If you are like most people, you will go to Google and do a search for the type of product or service you need. If your name or company name keeps appearing on websites, blogs, articles, Twitter and other social media, discussing that very thing – the potential customer will begin to believe in your credibility.

4) Get your customers to blow your trumpet

Once you start to sell your product or service, ask your customers if they could give you feedback – you can then start to use this on your marketing materials as proof that you deliver. This will also become a very useful source of information on how you can improve your product in the future and what new products you could add to expand your offering. Finally it shows your customers that you care about what they think, and want to provide the best customer service.

Maria Sadler runs The Small Marketing Company which specialises in online marketing using Social Media. Follow her at www.twitter.com/mfsadler