[Guest Post] Hi, my name is Lesley Bambridge, and I’m the founder of We Mean Business London, a specialist Marketing Consultancy that helps entrepreneurs to create a winning marketing plan for their business.
Here are my top 3 tips for all of you wonderful start-up and small food and drink businesses out there.
So you’ve started your business, created your product and have a website and logo. Congratulations, you’ve started building a brand. Now you need to get the word out there!
You want to tell the world about your business and get them to start noticing you, so what you need is a marketing plan.
Marketing is an essential part of your business plan and should be a large part of your day-to-day activity. You need to be constantly sharing your story with the outside world in order to generate the awareness you need to convert your audience into your customers.
But as with all things, it’s often difficult to know where to begin.
Marketing can be anything from social media and advertising, to trade shows, packaging or SEO. How do you know what to do, where to invest your marketing budget, and how to go about it? How do you choose from the array of marketing activities and tactics out there and know which is right for you?
I always recommend that it’s best to start at the beginning. With that in mind, the following 3 questions should form the basis of your marketing strategy and planning. It will help you make quicker, more informed decisions and create a stronger, more effective marketing plan.
1. What is your USP?
As a founder, you are mad about what you have created, it’s only natural! But do you know what really makes it stand out?
You need to identify your unique selling point, the thing that makes you different from all other brands and businesses out there, in your category, in your competitive set. What you can become famous for?
It can be the product itself, an aspect of it, the way you do business or your values. There are many ways to make yourself different. But without a point of difference, you have nothing to connect or engage your audience with and have no way to make yourself famous or stand out in a crowded marketplace – and that is exactly what you need to start doing.
Define what makes you distinct in a short, sharp sentence, using the benefits your business brings to your audience. Check out these examples to help you on your way…
M&Ms. The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand
Ugly Drinks: Because you’re sweet enough
2. Who are you targeting in your marketing plan?
This sounds straight forwards enough. However defining your target audience can often make some of the best marketing plans ineffective, because the audience you’re speaking to is not listening. Go too broad and you’re wasting your efforts because these people don’t need you. Go too niche and will you have enough people to keep you in business?
Spend some time really identifying the people who you will be speaking to with all of your marketing efforts. You need to really get to know these people, get under their skin, understand their daily habits, where they hang out, what they do, where they find their information.
A great way to do this is to start building a customer pen portrait. Create an example customer, name them, give them an age, a job and a life. Make them into the person you are targeting and make their life as close to real life as possible. Now when you think about your audience you have a portrait of that person in your mind, and this can help you make better decisions about where to find them with your marketing activities and how to communicate with them.
3. Why do they need you?
The key to really identifying your audience is understanding their needs and most importantly, why do they need you?
If you can delve into their psyche and understand their lives enough to answer this question, then you are tapping into the insight of your audience and have the ability to connect with them on a much deeper level with your brand, your messaging and your marketing plans.
Insight led marketing will always engage and connect and have more meaning for the customer because you are demonstrating that you understand this customer and, how you fit into their lives. You start to add value which differentiates you further, leading them to choose you over others.
Now, with these questions answered, you are in a great place to start writing your marketing plan. You will be clear on what you are communicating, to who, when and where.
They will also help you understand how best to connect with your audience in what you say – pulling out all those great reasons why you are exactly what they are looking for, helping them choose you over all the other brands out there, and build a loyal customer relationship. Which is exactly what marketing is all about!
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I’m offering readers a 20% discount on our marketing mentoring package – a 2-hour workshop session to address your marketing plan needs – for only £200 instead of £250. Mention this offer when booking in to receive your special discount.
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This is an ongoing offer, no matter how far into the future you’re reading this post!