Now that you have found your passion. Whether it be making jewelry, wood-crafting, or writing e-books, it is time to sell it. Your passion can fund all your dreams. The key to any successful business is marketing. It does not matter if you are on the Internet or in a brick store front. People have to know what you are selling in order to buy. This is where marketing comes into play. You have to advertise your product or service so people can buy it. The key is market your passion without breaking your bank account.
There are some key components to developing your marketing plan:
1. Defining your product or service: How is your product or service packaged? What is it that your customers are really buying? You may be selling web-based software tools but your clients are buying increased productivity, improved efficiency and cost savings. And if you offer several products or services which ones are the most viable to promote?
2. Identifying your target market: Everyone or anybody might be potential clients for your product. However, you probably don’t have the time or money to market to Everyone or Anybody. Who is your ideal customer? Who does it make sense for you to spend your time and money promoting your service to? You might define your ideal customer in terms of income, age, geographic area, number of employees, revenues, industry, etc.
3. Knowing your competition: Even if there are no direct competitors for your service, there is always competition of some kind. Something besides your product is competing for the potential client’s money. What is it and why should the potential customer spend his or her money with you instead? What is your competitive advantage or unique selling proposition?
4. Finding a niche: Is there a market segment that is not currently being served or is not being served well? A niche strategy allows you to focus your marketing efforts and dominate your market, even if you are a small player.
5. Developing awareness: It is difficult for a potential client to buy your product or service if they don’t even know or remember it exists. Generally a potential customer will have to be exposed to your product 5 to 15 times before they are likely to think of your product when the need arises. Needs often arise unexpectedly. You must stay in front of your clients consistently if they are going to remember your product when that need arises.
6. Building credibility: Not only must clients be aware of your product or service, they also must have a positive disposition toward it. Potential customers must trust that you will deliver what you say you will. Often, especially with large or risky purchases, you need to give them the opportunity to “sample”, “touch”, or “taste” the product in some way.
7. Being Consistent: Be consistent in every way and in everything you do. This includes the look of your collateral materials, the message you deliver, the level of customer service, and the quality of the product. Being consistent is more important than having the “best” product. This in part is the reason for the success of chains.
8. Maintaining Focus: Focus allows for more effective utilization of the scarce resources of time and money. Your promotional budget will bring you greater return if you use it to promote a single product to a narrowly defined target market and if you promote that same product to that same target market over a continuous period of time.
You can use the marketing strategies no matter what your product or service is and no matter if you are on the Internet or in a brick store front.
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