I don’t know if you have been in business before, but if you have you will have realized that all businesses need to be marketed otherwise they just do not get exposure and do not get known well enough to continue with sales and stay in business making a profit.
You can liken running a business to hopping in a car and hoping you will get from A to B with no petrol in the car. All small businesses need the injection of interest in their business from marketing.
What is included in marketing?
Marketing covers a wide range of activities with some of them costing a lot of money and some of them not costing anything at all. When you have answered the questions below you will be able to work out activities so that you can meet a marketing budget, whether it be big or small, by using some of the techniques listed here:
- email marketing – build a list and email every few weeks about items of interest which could be new colors, fragrances or even decor ideas
- website marketing – for most small businesses it would be best to set up a WordPress blog as they are quite simple to manage and keep in touch with customers
- business cards
- packaging which could include cello bags, boxes, ‘green’ bags but they must have your name on either stamped or sticker
- banner for stalls with name on
- stickers for packaging
- promotional sales – maybe 3 for the cost of 2, or 7 votives boxed for the price of 6
A break down of the steps for developing a marketing plan.
To simplify things you will see that there is a process to this and if you work through these steps one by one you will find that it is not as difficult as you think to create a simple marketing plan for your candle making business. It really is just a matter of listing the questions and coming up with the answers. The answers will be the basis of your marketing plan and you can develop it from there.
1. What type of business are you going to run: retail, wholesale or both?
2. What finance have you got available for marketing? You may need to use start up cash for this but once the business is ongoing allocate a % of your costs to marketing and include this in the costings of your product.
3. Who is the target market for your candles? Age, sex, and other data to distinguish your ideal customer.
4. How far afield do you need to market your product to get the sales you require?
5. How can you reach your target market?
6. How does your competition reach your target market?
7. What type of marketing can you do cheaply and effectively?
8. Are you personally skilled enough do the marketing or do you need a professional?
9. If you cannot afford a professional, what marketing can you do that you can afford?
Keep it simple and just answer these questions in bullet form. Once you have answered these questions the next step is to work out a plan for the next year. Write down each month and start planning what you will do each month for the next year.
When planning ahead for 12 months remember to have a good hard look at how economic circumstances like Easter, Christmas, school holidays and such like will affect your product sales. It could have a good affect on sales or it could slow down sales at certain times of the year.
Allocating your funds
Once you have each month of the year worked out you then can consider how to allocate funds for each month and then for each campaign that you intend to run. Some campaigns will be more expensive than others because they will bring in a bigger income.
When to start marketing
Keep in mind that if for example, you have a boom sales time for Christmas you will need to start your advertising in early October. Starting in December would not be the time to start a campaign. The idea of marketing is to plant the seed and get their attention and create an interest, reinforce the thought and then get the sale. Some marketing will get sales immediately but the majority of marketing is designed to keep the business name in front of your customers so that when they are ready to buy they will think of you.
It would be great if we could market once and get the sale immediately, but unfortunately it just does not work that way. We would all be millionaires if that was the case!
Detailing the marketing plan
With the full 12 months mapped out it is time to break the next three months down into detail. Work out exactly how you are going to market over the next three months and where you are going to spend your dollar.
If you work in 3 month blocks it gives you a chance to evaluate if the marketing is working and if not, change it for the next three months.
What you have not managed to put together is a marketing ‘plan’. If it is not working you simply change the plan. Keep it simple, don’t complicate it and I am sure you will be able to work your way through it. Whatever you do, you must market because otherwise how are you going to get sales on a continuing basis.