Research Your Marketing Plan
Welcome to lesson 8—the first of our lessons about marketing.
It is entirely right that we should spend three whole lessons on getting the marketing right, as it will make or break your business.
To create a great marketing plan, you need to research what should go into it, so before building your marketing plan, you need to undertake research in two areas:
• where your business is right now
• what’s happening in the marketplace
Unless you understand these, you are going to miss opportunities and fail to avoid pitfalls.
The first time you do this research, it will take a lot of time, but each time after that will be much quicker.
Key questions to answer about your business:
• How many customers do you have? How good are they?
• How frequently do your customers buy? How much do they spend on an average visit?
• How many of your customers order online? And how are they different from your other customers?
• What contact details do you have for your customers, and for how many of them?
• Do you have a working email address for everyone, especially for your best customers? Do you have postal addresses for your enquirers?
• How do your customers get to your website?
• What’s the trigger to them going there? Catalogues, in-store leaflets, search results, emails?
• Which traffic sources drive the most traffic to your website? Which traffic sources drive the best traffic?
• What promotions have you run in the past, and did they perform?
• Which promotions worked well in the past? Which didn’t?
• What other marketing are you currently doing, and what impact is it having?
For some marketing activity, it’s hard to measure the traffic, and it can take months/years before the traffic impact is felt. So you also need to be looking at how well these are already doing; this might include Facebook Likes, Twitter followers, column inches, mentions in magazines, or positions on search engines for your keywords.
Researching the Marketplace
There are three areas to research to understand your marketplace:
1. What Are Your Competitors Doing?
What marketing have they been using? What products are they now selling? How have their prices and promotions been over the last year? Go and place some orders with them to see what their process is like. This can give you some ideas of things to test and also things to avoid!
2. What Opportunities and Threats Are There in the Marketplace?
What do you need to be aware of: currency fluctuations, big national events, new routes to market, etc?
3. The Marketing Methods at Your Disposal
You need to roll out marketing methods fast and take advantage of changes and opportunities quickly. This means you need to know what you could be doing and be ready to react.
Tomorrow, I’ll run through how to pull all this research together into your marketing plan.
Catch up tomorrow,
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