It is an incredibly rare phenomenon for products and services to sell themselves. Many small businesses labor under the notion that because they offer a quality service or product that word of mouth will be enough. It is not. Marketing and a budget for marketing should be taken seriously. Especially in the beginning and especially when launching a new concept, even within an already successful brand. If you only have small budget, you must make sure that it is well thought out, specific and targeted. Haphazard attempts and a lack researched approaches will only lead to lost money and lost opportunities.
Failing to put value on marketing your small business, service or product is akin to writing failure into you business plan. A budget for marketing should never be based on what is left over once all the other business expenses are met. This means you are not thinking critically about marketing and you don’t feel that it has value or is important.
Creating a marketing budget and plan can be scary because there is always a possibility that what you perceive as your best efforts still might not work. Do it anyway, this is business. If marketing isn’t an area of familiarity to you, it can be overwhelming. It is difficult to know what services are worth investing in and which are not. Make sure you do your homework. Lazy efforts in marketing are rewarded with lazy returns.
First things first, do you know who your target market or audience is for your small business or service? Once you know who you want to market to, your methods of getting your message to these people will become more clear. Know your market. Where do they live? What do they read? What do they like and dislike? Where do they shop, eat and spend their time? Once you know these things you can start to formulate a plan to communicate with the people who will ideally have a use for your product or service. Here are a few ways to make sure you have a marketing plan in place for your small business as well as an appropriate budget for your plan.