With the answers to these questions, you can begin to decide
on your targeted audience. However, you can refine it
further by contacting sample populations of that audience
and getting feedback from them on whether or not they would
be interested in your product/service. You can use surveys,
chat rooms, email questionnaires, or telephone polls to
generate that feedback.
Set a Budget
Many inexperienced business owners make a major mistake when
they begin their marketing efforts: they do not set a
budget. Without a budget, these business owners can easily
find all of their profits being funneled into marketing
Before you make a decision about what types of marketing
methods to choose, you need to first establish how much you
can spend in order to receive the desired results. Most
businesses use the 10% rule. According to this rule, if you
decided to implement a marketing program that would generate
$5000 in monthly sales, then you should spend only $500 a
month on marketing.
Applying the 10% rule prevents businesses from spending more
on the marketing efforts than is generated by those efforts.
You must also remember to be realistic. If you currently
generate $200 a week in sales, do not anticipate marketing
results of $10,000 a month and use that number as the basis
for your marketing budget. Instead, start small at first and
build on successful marketing attempts.
Evaluate Marketing Methods
There are a wide array of marketing methods available, but
not all of them are appropriate for every business,
audience, or product/service. Before deciding on a method,
you need to carefully evaluate what will work best for your
For example, if you run an online business, you may want to
focus most of your marketing efforts on the Internet medium
instead of mailing brochures to people who may not even own
Also take into account your audience. If you are marketing
to businesses, your methods will be different than if you
are marketing to consumers. If you sell to parents, your
methods are different than if you sell to college students.
You may even need to develop more than one method in order
to meet the needs of all of your potential audiences.
Finally, remember your budget. A television commercial may
be more effective than an ad in the yellow pages but it may
also use your entire marketing budget. To make the most of
your budget, you want to start small and test your efforts
before plunging into a major investment. After all, if the
commercial flops, you won't have anything left in your
budget for alternative marketing.
Once you complete these preliminary efforts, you can begin
to explore marketing methods more effectively which will
allow you to pick the methods which should provide the best
results for your particular business.