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Small business marketing

How well you market will largely determine if your small business stays open long enough to grow and succeed. Many times small business owners feel that they don't have the time or resources to "bother" marketing. However, successful small business owners understand that in order to be successful long term they need to focus on marketing as effectively as they possibly can. The reality of marketing is that if your target market can't find you or know what you can offer them, how will they know to buy from you? This makes small business marketing even more crucial since small businesses have fewer resources to survive difficult times. Here is what you need to know about small business marketing-

- Start with market research-It becomes almost impossible to market if you don't know where and how to start. Market research can show you how to put together a marketing plan. If you effectively use market research you will be able to clearly determine who your customers are and the best way to reach them with your marketing message. You need to take the time to do enough market research to determine not only who your customers are, but what their income level is, their shopping habits, and anything else that will determine how you will market to them.Do not give into the temptation to use the "shotgun" approach to marketing since this is usually just a waste of time, money, and effort.
- Make a marketing plan-Once you have the right amount of market research you will be able to formulate a marketing plan. This will help to increase the chances that you will be successful with your marketing. In addition, having a written marketing plan will help you to maximize your marketing dollars as you consider how to best spend them for the most effective results. Your marketing plan will also help you to chart your marketing goals and determine how you will achieve them. Finally, you will also use your marketing plan as a record of what marketing techniques worked and what needed to be changed.
- Don't forget about pricing-Many small business owners make the mistake of considering price outside the realm of marketing. However, an integral part of your marketing plan will be in the pricing that you set for your products or services. You should keep in mind however, that price alone should never determine how you market but rather will give you guidance on the best marketing methods to use. Finally, it is important to remember that if you offer to low of a price your customers may feel that your product or service lacks value and conversely if your price is to high they may simply go on to look for a better deal with another business.
- Develop a relationship with your customers-The basis of effective marketing happens when a business develops a relationship with their customers. When you have a clear understand of who your customers is and what they are looking for you can position your product or service as the answer to their need or want. Take the time to know and understand your customers. You need to make sure that you are marketing where your customers are in order to gain this valuable insight. This can only improve both your marketing and ultimately what you can offer them. You want to use your small business marketing to position yourself as the expert in the field. This way your customers will look to you with trust and creditability and when the time comes to make a purchase they will come to you.

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