Many small businesses come up with a fabulous business idea but then fail to market it successfully.
Marketing is the process of getting your business noticed by the people who need or want your products or services.
You need to get out there and spread the word about your products or services to the right people to build your customer base. Advertising and selling are part of the process but there is much more involved.
The six ‘Ps’ of marketing
There are generally six key aspects that you need to focus on when marketing your products or services. These aspects are sometimes referred to as the six ‘Ps’:
Product refers to the goods or services you are offering. You might consider a range of factors such as packaging, labelling, branding and quality when developing your product.
Setting a suitable price for your products or services will help you to be profitable and stay competitive. Start by including all the costs associated with producing and delivering your products and services, then research your target market to determine how much they would be willing to pay. If there is a gap you have more work to do – perhaps reducing your costs or focusing on a different market.
Promotion refers to the methods you will use to advertise and sell your products and services. Promotional methods may include the following examples.
|Website||Most businesses will benefit from having a website to attract customers and promote their product or service.|
|Social media||Customers can interact with you and find out more about what you provide. You can share experiences and knowledge to build your business profile and attract new customers.|
|Videos||Share experiences and knowledge to build your reputation. Customers love watching videos and you can capitalise by creating engaging video content for your target market and uploading it to channels like YouTube.|
|E-newsletter||What makes email unique is that your loyal customers have asked you to market to them so they can stay informed about what your business is doing.|
|Word of mouth||Encourage customers to share their experience of your product or service through online consumer review sites. Your loyal and happy customers should become ambassadors for your business.|
|Loyalty programs||Give customers a reason to stick with your business.|
|Print advertising||Let your market know what you do and how to buy from you. There are many publications offering paid advertising for small businesses, including local newspapers, industry specific publications, and business and consumer magazines.|
|Brochures and flyers||Brochures and flyers are an important marketing tool. They should focus on what your business offers and how customers can buy it.|
|Mail-outs or letter drops||If your business services a limited area, letter drops can sometimes be an effective tool. People receive a lot of junk mail, so you will need to ensure your letter or card stands out.|
This aspect of marketing refers to how your customers will be able to purchase your products or services. Distribution channels may include:
- retailing direct to the public through a store or outlet
- selling goods via wholesalers
- retailing online
- using distributors, consultants or agents to sell your products
When deciding which channel to use, consider your target market and the logistics involved in getting your products and services to them.
You will most likely have to engage with suppliers, distributors, wholesalers, stakeholders and employees to get your product or services to market. These groups all form part of your team. You need to ensure they understand the importance of providing quality products and customer service.
The right customer service and business processes are essential to support your marketing goals. They may include procedures for ordering new stock, ensuring products or services are delivered in a timely manner, providing opportunities for customers to give feedback and regularly reviewing sales and financial reports.