Don’t worry if you are not sure what a marketing plan is for a home-based business. It is basically a plan about how you want to convey your marketing message and the tactics that you want to use to showcase your business, your products or your services to your target customers.
Depending on the type of your home-based business, here are a few things that you may want to take note of:
State your business purpose
Write your business purpose, such as:
To provide affordable pricing to help small home business owners create effective website for their home businesses.
I believe without a business purpose is akin to without a firm direction to reach your destination.
Analyze your market situation
Write down the factors that may cause changes, problems and opportunities that might affect you as a small home business owner. You may consider along the following:
Your customers – What will cause them change their minds to buy your products or engage your professional services. Is it due to economic or lifestyle changes or the quality of your products/services?
Your competitors – Who are they? What is good about them that you can learn from for you to better compete with them?
Your market environment – Do you foresee economic changes that will affect your home business? Will your home-based business be affected by regional or industry events that can boost home business if you promote around them?
Set goals and objectives
To have a successful marketing campaign and strategies, you will need to know what you want to achieve in the first place. For example, you may want to set up a social media account with Facebook, Google + to make yourself or your brand known to others or perhaps, you target to increase your sales by another 20% and so on.
I suggest that you write down your goal and objectives, review, adapt and change them as and when necessary and be in line with the opportunities and threat that may arise. If there is an opportunity, grab it but if the opportunity does not support your overall goal and objectives, then pass it on.
Define your market
In general, you may define your market in terms of:
- Where your target customers live
- Who are your customers in terms of age, gender, marital status, income level, household size and education
- Your customers’ behavioural patterns, beliefs, attitudes and values, the so called psychographics factor
I would say that the above are important for you to develop an effective marketing and advertising campaign to deliver your messages across that will appeal to the potential and your targeted customers.
Set your marketing strategies
What do we mean by marketing strategies? To make things simple, it refers to the set of actions you plan to enhance your products/services in order to develop your customers and sales. Hence, your marketing strategies for your home-based business should include the following:
- Product strategies: asked yourself questions such as how will you add, alter, or promote your products/services to develop customers and sales?
- Distribution strategies: How will you speed up to deliver your home business products/services to your customer for greater customer satisfaction and for repeat orders? Is your distribution channel effective for reducing cost of doing your home-based business? Is your website effective for online sales attraction and for product delivery handling?
- Pricing strategies: How would you price you home business products/services to make them competitive or even better than your market competitors? How would you adjust your pricing? Will you introduce new payment options for better sales and collection? Will you introduce any frequent buyer pricing schedule and others such as quantity discounts, rebates, or other pricing offers?
- Promotion strategies: How would you like to promote your home-based business? Is it still through traditional advertising channel, flyer distribution or more by online communications to overall target your customers?
Outline your implementation tactics
This refers to how you want to implement your marketing strategies as mentioned in the foregoing paragraph. For example, in your product/service strategies, you have planned to introduce something new; if so, you will need to think about how you actually want to make that happen, e.g. create sales literature, place ads, sending direct mailers, announce the news in your social media circle and so on.
Establish your budget
I believe this is something very important for a business, especially for a small home-based business owner for how much that you plan to invest in your marketing program. What are the costs that you may incur? Ad creation, media placement, direct mail, packaging costs, agency fees and website design costs are some of the common costs that depending on your business situation should be included in your marketing budget.
Let me share with you this important tip, the emergence of the online social media networking platform has actually provided a very cost efficient way for small home business owners. You will notice that traditionally most businesses invest heavily a combination of marketing dollars and hours to achieve success, however, with the advance in technology and the vast social media platforms available to us now, I believe that the more time a home-based business owner invest their time in networking through social media platform, the fewer dollars small home business owners will need to spend in their marketing campaign. This is because the online social media platforms can actually provide a good opportunity for a one-to-one outreach without you spending much on advertising.
Blueprint your action plan
I personally feel that a calendar is a very good tool to detail down your marketing action. For example, a small home business owner may begin by entering those key events that might affect them, such as during a major buying season, trade shows, community events and so on.
Before you wrap up your marketing plan, have a final section to research for growth opportunities for your home-based business for the coming year. You should review and change them as and when circumstances dictate, nothing carve in stone!
Sound too much work and complicated? Not really, the important thing is to make the first move to ‘Start Now’ and not to procrastinate!
To you small home-based business success,
Tan Kok Hui