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Thursday, 02 April 2015 20:59

Small Business Q&A (Questions & Answers) - Part 2

Q: Do I really need a website for my small business? Or can I use my Facebook business page as my website?

Facebook business pages are a great way to connect with your customers and build an online presence, but it should not replace your website. In today’s digital age, a business website is essential in broadening your reach.

Websites offer the following:

  • A place for customers to go and learn more about who you are and what you do
  • Customizable interface and content
  • eCommerce
  • Blog page (more opportunity to highlight who you are and what you do)
  • Online marketing capabilities (AdWords, retargeting, SEM, SEO, etc.; essentially, more opportunity for customers to find you online)

Q: How do I get people interested in buying my products and services?

In order to start moving product and selling, you need to start marketing. Steuart H. Britt illustrated it best when he said, “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does”.

One of the most fundamental sales strategies is called the “Marketing Mix”.

Product:

  • What does your product/service offer your customer? What problem does it solve?
  • What makes your product/service different?
  • How and where will your customer use your product/service?
  • What does your customer experience when using your product/service?
  • How is your product/service branded?

Place:

  • Where do customers find your product/service?
  • Is your product/service available in a brick and mortar store, online, or both?
  • Are you utilizing the right distribution channels?
  • How and where do you optimize sales? Do you attend trade shows, contact and send samples to retail buyers, use a sales force, etc.?
  • What do your competitors do? How can you use their tactics to improve your own?

Price:

  • What value does your product/service bring to your customers?
  • Are there established proce points for products/services in your market?
  • How does your price point effect sales? Will a slight price increase or decrease impact your market share? How does that cut into your profit margin?
  • Do you offer discounts to wholesale (large order) buyers? How does that cut into your profit margin?
  • What price points are your competitors offering?

Promotion:

  • How do you communicate your marketing message to your target market?
  • How will you reach your target audience? Print, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, PR, digital marketing?
  • How do you time your marketing campaigns? Will you create material based on seasonality of your product/service? Are there upcoming events or holidays that you should capitalize on?
  • How do competitors utilize marketing and advertising? Can you learn from their promotional activities?

By evaluating these four aspects of your product or service, you will have a better idea of how to effectively reach your target market.

Q: Do I need a business plan?

Writing a business plan not only helps you map out where you are and where you want to go, it also allows you to conceptualize aspects of your business you may overlook otherwise.

As you start out, your business’s direction may be clear, but as you begin to grow and experience unforeseen obstacles and challenges, a business plan is a good roadmap to look to to help guide you forward.

Business plans help you plan out marketing strategies, define target markets, calculate financials, plan distribution channels, and much more. All of these things allow you to create a solid foundation upon which a successful business can be built.

marketing lead generation

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Lauren Cannon

 

Graphic Designer

Lauren started her life as an entrepreneur at the age of seven, selling homemade candles door to door. From that point, she has dedicated herself to a life of imagining, designing, and creating. As a serial entrepreneur, Lauren is committed to not only escaping Corporate America, but helping others do the same.

Find me on: Team Page | LinkedIn | Google+

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