And the 2nd Commandment is:
Thou Shalt Develop a Marketing Strategy
After you finish your research, and you’ve discovered that your idea is legal and there’s a market for your business/service/product, you need to come up with a marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy can be broken down into two main areas: overall strategy (promotion, advertising, etc.), and pricing policy. For your food business, this strategy also has to be realistic, manageable, focused, and detailed. If you have little to no money, it should also be as low-cost (or free!) as possible.
So let’s begin!
1. Who is your target audience?
You’ve done your research, so you know what similar businesses are doing, but now you need to build your own “perfect client”.
It’s important not just to think of what your target audience is interested in, but their age range, their gender, their income, and what they might want to get out of your business/service/product. Be specific! Pretend like you’re the Build-A-Bear of clients and you can make whatever kind of client you want!
Oh, and don’t be cheeky and just say, “Everyone.” You want to maximise your return on investment, and by having a clear direction, you’ll be better equipped to effectively advertise!
TIP: If you’re not sure, try working in reverse, like I do sometimes. Host a cooking class! See who comes. Note who the people are and ask them why they came. Ask them if they’re interested in other classes, if they like the price of the class, if they’re willing to recommend you to a friend, etc. Sometimes working backwards can give you a clear idea of who you should be targeting!
2. How do you plan to reach all of your prospective clients/customers?
Let’s say you’re teaching cooking classes out of your home, and you’re specialising in farm-to-table, seasonal fare. You might want to think about advertising your classes on shared spaces like Dabble, or post up info on community boards, local farmers markets, host a Meet Up group, or partner with local organisations that share the same belief in slow food like you do.
TIP: Be brave!!! The “ask” is sometimes the hardest part, but if you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to get outside your comfort zone and put yourself out there! You and your business are basically going to be one entity for a while, so ALWAYS put your best foot forward!
3. What’s your pricing policy?
- Think competitive: What do other businesses with similar services/products charge?
- Think profit margin: You’re in this to make some cash money, right?! You’re gonna have to wear your finance hat and think about what’s fair to charge to a customer, and fair to charge yourself. If you need more info. about finances, I highly recommend you check out the Small Business Association’s page!
- Be flexible. In order to get people to buy in, you might need to lower the price at first until you build your brand and your reputation.
4. How will you measure your success?
This is where traditional marketing and finances come into play. Maybe your success will come from selling X amount of product, or selling out your cooking classes. Maybe at first it’s just to build a loyal client base. Whatever it is, write it down. Track your finances. Keep a client/consumer list. Write notes as you go along. Ask for constructive criticism and feedback.
Have you answered all of these questions? If so, add them to the Marketing Plan section in your Business Plan.
Still lost? Feeling confused? That’s okay! This stuff isn’t meant to be easy. Instead of panicking, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll answer your questions!
THOU SHALT USE CONTENT MARKETING EFFECTIVELY.