There’s a clear path to ensuring your Marketing Plan works / your marketing efforts have the best chance of success; and it all begins with understanding your business, your customers and your market. While digging deep into your business may not sound like a whole lot of fun; the benefits far outweigh the hassle.
Stop wasting marketing dollars on ineffective campaigns. ‘Big Picture Marketing’ gives you everything you need to find the success you deserve, and it doesn’t need to be as overwhelming as it sounds. We’ll take you step-by-step through understanding your business with a new sense of depth.
Start With a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is a tool that is widely used in Business Planning that while it may sound fancy, simply looks at four areas of business.
Strengths: What do you do better than your competitors? What do you offer your customers to make their lives easier? Why should customers buy from you?
Weaknesses: What does your business struggle with? What areas need improving on or have failed you in the past? Understanding your weaknesses helps you control the risks.
Opportunities: Does your industry offer growth opportunities? Are there vertical or horizontal markets you could expand into? Could you serve customers differently to stand out?
Threats: Is it changing markets, changing technologies, or extreme competition? What threats does your business face right now?
Once you’ve covered each of these steps, you may see some clear indicators of where your marketing and business efforts should be focused; whether that is building your strengths, reducing your weaknesses, managing your threats or maximising your opportunities.
With greater insight into your current business and the market it’s time to take a look at your customers.
Get to Know Your Real Customers
While it’s nice to think that your business can serve everyone; successful business owners understand this just isn’t viable. In order to serve your customer you need to understand who they are, why and how they interact with you and how you can serve them as efficiently as possible.
Check the data: Dig into any customer information you have to get some benchmark figures to work from. Use information from your sales or invoicing database in order to understand the past year.
Uncover your most lucrative customers: By analysing customers with the largest spend over the previous 12 months you’ll hopefully uncover patterns. Do you attract a certain type of customer? Is there a type of industry, size or geographic location that appears to repeat across your customer base? Is there a lucrative customer base you’ve serviced that you could grow to increase profits?
Once you understand your customer, or have decided on who your ideal customer is; it’s time to develop a Customer Avatar. By looking closely and analysing your data to really identify who your customers are; their demographics, income, needs and wants.
Your next step will be to look at your online presence, in particular your website.
Analyse Your Current Website & Online Statistics
Website analytics hold the key to understanding how your customers are interacting with your website, and this information is important for helping to understand your online marketing position.
Hopefully you have Google Analytics or a similar program installed on your site, and you’ll be able to uncover some important data to help with your online marketing plan.
Things to check with analytics:
How do your customers reach your website?
How long do your customers spend on your website?
Which pages on your website are prospects visiting?
Which pages are causing a high bounce or drop-off rate?
The same or similar statistics will also be available for your social media profiles if you have them, and it’s a good idea to get a feel for which kinds of social media posts are creating the most interaction and getting the most response.
By understanding how customers are interacting with your online properties, you’ll be able to uncover strengths that currently exist and spot weak points that may be causing you to lose prospects. It’s really important to take note of keywords that customers may be using to find you, and use these as a base to investigate other possible keywords for your market.
Next Steps for Developing Your Marketing Plan
Now you’ve done all the hard work to uncover important data, made some decisions about your ideal customer base, and taken a big picture view of where your business is and how it fits into the wider marketplace, in future articles we’ll begin to cover the tools you can use to take this information and grow your business, implement a successful marketing plan, and feel confident in doing so.