A Marketing Plan for an Independent Retail Store: Is It Necessary?

A Marketing Plan for an Independent Retail Store: Is It Necessary?
November 23, 2021 Industry Use Cases 0 Comment

If you haven’t created a marketing plan for your retail business, whether you are opening your first store or have enjoyed running one for years, you haven’t focused on your target customer or how to reach them.

Whether you are just starting out or have run a store for years, if you haven’t developed a marketing plan for your retail business, you haven’t figured out how to reach your target customer.

As well as boosting your retail sales, a marketing strategy helps you reach your customers effectively and give you a way to reach them effectively. One of the major advantages of having a marketing strategy is that you can plan everything better – not just your marketing.

If you are like me, you may have browsed through some online, small business marketing plans hoping to simply copy and paste them, or you may have purchased a computer program designed to help you, and voila! You have your marketing plan.

The system does not work that way.

There is good news: creating a small business marketing plan isn’t difficult or expensive. However, building something and expecting people to come will not work. Many business owners don’t realize that word-of-mouth is not a marketing strategy, but merely a bonus.

With a marketing strategy, you know who you are talking to from the beginning, which helps you streamline your efforts.

The clients I consult with who do business makeovers always answer, “Everyone.” That’s a lame answer; you can’t market to everyone effectively. It’s like shooting a shotgun into the air and hoping you hit something.

There are many types of shoppers, but most aren’t relevant to your business. Consider the old people who like skydiving, teenagers who use their iPads constantly, or engineers who value knowledge over low price, and I can help you with yours.

Take some time to think

Think about your specific customer, and you’ll discard many ideas that won’t capture their attention. You’ll also save time and money, and you’ll achieve your goals more quickly and efficiently.

The process of preparing your marketing plan doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Just grab a pad of paper and pen, and pour yourself a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine if it’s after hours.  

Simply answer these five questions

Who am I?

This question should not be directed at you personally but at your small business. There is more to the answer than explaining what you do or what you provide. What makes your small business better? What makes you unique? How does what you do differ from your competitors?  

I guarantee your marketing will fail miserably if you are unable to answer these questions correctly. If your customers struggle with it, you can be sure your marketing will suffer as well.  

Who are my customers?

A key element of marketing is being able to target your messages as narrowly as possible. The smaller and more focused your target audience, the less you’ll spend to reach them. Where are they from? What is their age? How do they spend their time? What do they do? How do they buy from you? Look out for the obvious signs…

Are you seeing the same types of cars in your parking lot every month or every year? Do they pay with cash, a credit card, or Apple Pay?

When writing, keep in mind three groups of customers. These are known as buyer personas in online marketing so that when we create our content, we envision one of these groups.

Among the posts I write, some are for independent retailers, others are for large brands, and still, others are for C-level executives, all of whom have the same concerns, but different needs.

As you spend time with your plan, you’ll gain insights into it because you will learn more about your customers. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t know the answers to these questions or your responses appear generic at first.

What are my goals?

I tell my clients that if you don’t know where you’re going, anything will do. And unless you prioritize your goals, you have a very good chance of never getting there.

Creating a goal means focusing on the target and measuring the results of your marketing efforts. Set measurable and realistic goals you wish to achieve within the next 6-12 months.

In order to know if your campaign is successful or not, set your goals to be black-and-white results, not feelings.

How much can I afford to spend to achieve these goals?

You don’t want to spend $1000 on marketing to bring in $500 in sales, so be realistic in your budget. This will keep your marketing expenses from being out of control during important periods, such as the holidays. Besides an event paying for itself in sales, budget for Facebook sponsored posts and high-quality images for your regular newsletter.

Consider that many manufacturers have a set amount of co-op advertising funds they may not spend because retailers do not ask about it.

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How exactly are you going to reach your target market to meet your goals?

Developing strategies (what’s your logic) and tactics (how you’re going to accomplish your goals) from your goals is the simplest way.

As an example:

Goal: Increasing customer traffic by 25% each week

Strategy: In the current situation, customer traffic increases by 10% with each newsletter. Adding 15% more subscribers to the newsletter should result in a 25% increase in weekly traffic.

Tactic: Provide a free widget with every new E-newsletter signup during September. Train all employees on the importance of this. Host a contest for sign-ups. Track all new registrations to see if they returned after being contacted.

To summarize

An effective retail marketing strategy can drive product purchases and help you understand how much you spend to attract new customers. Even a simple marketing plan written on a napkin can make your business more successful. All you have to do is get started. If you wait, nothing will happen.

If you follow these tips, you will not only find your marketing mimaore successful, you will also be able to purchase merchandise that is more closely aligned with the needs of your target customers, thus reducing markdowns and out-of-stocks.

Source: Bob Phibbs