If you are any kind of consumer, you probably already know that marketing is mission-critical for any kind of business. We are exposed to the marketing efforts from the creators of all our favorite goods and services – and if we bought (or even just celebrated) whatever they’re offering, we are proof that their marketing efforts are most likely paying off.
Interestingly enough, though, many small businesses and solopreneurs that I meet don’t spend much time or money on their marketing at all. Marketing budgets are usually some of the largest slices of any company’s pie, so I can understand the hesitation for a self-employed individual or a small business owner, but I think overlooking your marketing plan is a big mistake.
I want to encourage all creative entrepreneurs to think seriously about marketing. Its basic premise is the same for everyone, no matter if you’re the Chief Marketing Officer of a global corporate empire or the Chief Card Making Officer at home: Marketing is about getting the right message to the right people at the right time.
The real challenge isn’t so much about finding enough time and money to buy advertising, engage on social media, design a nice website or print some postcards. Yes, those are all issues you might have to deal with, but the real challenge of successful marketing is figuring out what the right message is, who the right people are, and when the right time is.
So how do you attack all of that?
You do it by creating a solid marketing plan – I’m talking researching, forecasting, innovating, measuring, setting goals – all the stuff that might make you run screaming. Why should you care about having a marketing plan? That’s just for big corporations, right? Isn’t setting up a Facebook page or printing business cards enough to sell lots of handmade wares and creative designs so I can quit my day job? We both know the answer to that last question, sadly, is no.
The truth is, the same core marketing principles that big corporations use can also be applied to a one-person operation. You might not rake in their big kind of bucks and you might have to hang on to that day job, but if you make the plan, work the plan, be the plan – you can and will be successful. Even if success means scrapping a ton of bad ideas you thought were good until you hit the one that works. A marketing plan will help you figure that out, too.
7 Reasons Why Creating a Marketing Plan is So Important
- A plan helps you identify and reinforce your brand
- A plan forces you to tune into your marketplace
- A plan will heighten awareness of your business
- A plan will nurture your existing customers
- A plan will attract new customers
- A plan will prepare you for growth
- A plan grooms you to be more goal-oriented
Developing a marketing plan doesn’t have to be scary and you don’t have to do it alone. The process should be realistic for you, your skill set and your resources. Your plan also doesn’t have to be perfect right out of the gate. It should be fluid, flexible and updated regularly. It’s important to establish your marketing budget first – that is, how much time and/or money you can spend each day/week/month on marketing – then let your planning party begin! Click here to read more about marketing plans on my blog.