You’ve taken a big step to follow your dreams and pursue your passion of photography, blogging or maybe even direct sales. For some, their business is an extension of their passion or hobby, but when it’s time to make a profit; it’s time to get down to business.
Marketing is more than a business buzzword; it’s the nutrients your business needs to achieve growth and maintain your customer base. Don’t let the terminology frighten you; once you understand the basics you will be on your way to a thriving business.
The 5 P’s in Marketing
There are 5 P’s in marketing– Product, Price, Place (Distribution), Promotion and People. Each of these components will help you develop your marketing plan.
Product: Determine what your product is. What is the forefront of your business, taking pictures, web design, t-shirts, jewelry? Whatever it is that you want customers to buy this is your product.
Price: Setting your price is crucial because this will help determine your customer’s demographics. Also how do you set your prices? Based on your product, you’ll either charge a set fee or charge by the hour.
Place: Do you have a bricks and mortar store, an online operation or does your location move with you?
People: These are your customers, the meat of your business. Understanding your people (target market) will make promotion an easier process. Break down the demographics (age, gender, location, employment status, marital status, education, income and children) of your customers. These factors will help you choose the right message (promotion) and build lasting relationships (customer service).
Promotion: Once you identify your business in the categories above, you can begin promoting (the fun part) your business. Social Media is an easy and very useful tool to promote your business, sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and even You Tube can give your business a boost in reaching your Target market. Public Relations including press releases, sponsorships, events and trade shows are other resources to connect with customers. Networking is one of my favorite forms of promotions. Connecting with business owners like yourself, for example, Vend Raleigh. Attending meet-ups, Twitter parties and Google+ hangouts will also help grow your customer base, but most importantly you will gain valuable knowledge from those who have walked a similar business path and can encourage you along the way.
Now that you understand the basics of marketing and how they apply to your business, it’s time to execute your business plan.