A marketing plan may not be at the top of every new business owner’s to-do list, but it should be. While a business plan helps map the direction for your company, a marketing plan helps your company understand how to get there by detailing important steps on the road to creating customer relationships.
“The single most important thing for a small business to include in its marketing plan is a very clear understanding of its customers and its competitors,” said Robert Thomas, professor of marketing at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
Though a marketing plan can be formal or informal, at a minimum it describes who your customers are, where they get information, and how you are going to reach them. Thomas said the development of a marketing plan requires four specific tasks:
While good business ideas are a dime a dozen, great ones are as common as a 1965 silver dime.
Just a fraction of new businesses last more than two years. So what makes a successful venture? From uniqueness to the ease of scaling the concept up or down, entrepreneurs say a number of things should be considered when trying to establish whether an idea is just good or really great. Here are 10 factors to contemplate:
Don’t be afraid to take action if a customer is holding you back. Here’s an argument for why you should cut ties with problem customers, and what you can do to keep the ones who are loyal.
As a business owner, you naturally love your customers – that is, all of them except that one bad apple who seems to be leading a grand mission to take you down. You plan and stress and lose sleep over the bad apple’s demands, and you even consider changing your policies for them. But here’s the truth: you should quit that relationship while you’re ahead.
“The customer is always right!” is a common expression you’ve heard many times over, and most often, it serves as a great mantra for conducting daily business operations. However, as Noah Fleming writes in Evergreen, all customers aren’t always right all the time. At some point, it becomes your responsibility to cut ties with the customer who is bringing you down.
You might think dogs are an unlikely source of inspiration for your customers, but you’d be surprised how similar they can be. I don’t mean to denigrate your customers! Quite the contrary. I think if customers were more like dogs in the following four ways, we’d all have more business than we could handle.
What’s the first quality you think of when it comes to dogs? Loyalty! They’re there with wagging tails, whether we feed them, walk them, or ignore them. And when we treat them well? That loyalty skyrockets.
You already know that having loyal customers is great for business. It’s easier—and cheaper—to get past customers to come back than to find new ones. So consider ways you can build loyalty with your customer base.
Help keep your sales flowing by marketing to the right customers in the
NOVEMBER 12, 2014 One of the biggest concerns of running a small business is finding new prospects to keep your sales pipelines full. You can panic if you have no systematic plan on how to identify who your perfect customer is, where to find them and how to nurture them to a sale.
So how can you identify, target and nurture your new prospects until they become your ideal customers?
There may be only one day a year devoted to giving thanks, but expressing thanks year round and doing it well is one of the most profitable business strategies you can have.
Numerous studies reveal that when you thank your customers, they spend more money and tell their friends about the exceptional service and products you deliver, increasing your profits. Volumes chronicle how employee productivity zooms when appreciation is expressed, raising your margins. Vendors go the extra mile to extend credit and deliver “just in time” when they hear gratitude regularly, and keep your cash flowing. Giving thanks works in business.
But you’re already doing more with less and the last thing you want is another item on your to-do list. What are the most effective and efficient ways to express gratitude to these important players in your positive business success?
Start today implementing these 4 tips to develop the profitable habit of saying “Thank you” to your customers, employees, and vendors year-round:
Keeping your customers happy is the key to earning their trust and their business. Some companies do this well, and go above and beyond to make sure their customers are satisfied. Others seem to view customer service as an afterthought.
“It’s always befuddling to watch businesses that say they focus on customer service turn around and act like their customers don’t matter,” said Aishwarya Hariharan, product marketer at customer support software company Freshdesk. “They claim that no one matters more [than their customers], but their approach just doesn’t seem to reflect it.”