How do I find and attract customers?
- The first step is to have a clear understanding of your customers’ market segments (customers fitting into smaller subgroups broken down various ways, for example: by geography, age, behaviors or lifestyle). Knowing your customers’ market segments helps you determine the most effective way (newspaper ads, direct mail, radio, networking) to reach each segment. Consultants at the Georgia SBDC have access to demographic data, as well as expertise in designing effective marketing campaigns to help you find new customers for your business.
How do I put together a marketing plan?
- The first step in creating a marketing plan is to analyze your current situation and see how you fit into the market. You must consider factors such as competition, the economy, political, legal and regulatory environments, advances in technology, and the changes in demographics, attitudes, beliefs, norms, customs and lifestyles of your target market. Next, you must conduct at SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to determine what internal strengths and weaknesses exist as well as what external opportunities and threats exist, so you can then determine what needs to be done, marketing objectives and how it will be accomplished, marketing strategies. Then the strategies need to be put into action and the results must be measured and evaluated to see if goals are being met or if changes need to be made. Please contact your nearest SBDC office for further details and assistance in developing a marketing plan for your business.
How much should I spend on advertising?
- How much you should spend on advertising will depend on the industry, your marketing strategy and your intended delivery vehicles. If you are selling business to business you probably do not need to spend very much, but if you are selling to consumers in a mass market you will need to spend a lot more for advertising. A general rule of thumb is that small business owners should allocate from two to five percent of gross sales but as much as ten to fifteen percent of expected gross sales when launching a new product or service or when competing in the mass market. Georgia SBDC consultants are available to help you with industry information, delivery vehicles and planning your advertising budget.
What is the best form of advertising for my business?
- Every business has a “best” method of advertising. Experience is a good teacher, so compare the methods used by your successful competitors with what you plan to do. Use caution if you plan to do something radically different from what others have done. Create and utilize evaluation methods as part of your advertising campaign in order to judge the effectiveness of your efforts. SBDC consultants can help you evaluate advertising alternatives and evaluation methods.
Do I need a website?
- A website is an essential marketing tool for almost every businesses. Before spending a lot of money on development and design, investigate a number of web development and hosting services. For more information on maximizing your online presence, talk with your local SBDC.
Does the SBDC conduct market research?
- Yes, the SBDC’s Applied Research Division is available to provide in-depth customized market research for clients on a fee basis. Research staff works closely with entrepreneurs to help them better understand their market, designing market-based studies in the form of surveys or focus groups to analyze shopping patterns, consumer preferences, and other essential characteristics about the market for their product or service. In addition, SBDC business consultants regularly assist (at no charge) clients with identifying key information for inclusion in business or marketing plans, or for compiling loan documentation.
Does the SBDC offer classes in marketing?
- Yes. These classes provide useful information on how to market your business using effective and unique strategies designed specifically for small businesses. Learn simple secrets on how to maximize your marketing dollars and enhance your profitability. Check to see if there is a class scheduled in your area.