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Posted: 4/27/20150 Entries
The First Thing You Need To Know
By Patricia Meek
When it comes to developing a branding and marketing plan, the first thing you need to know are your customers. Just exactly who is going to buy your service or product, and where do they congregate?
 
Start Here
Suppose I sell soap. Well, anyone would need that. But what if it is all natural pomegranate-lime soap?
 
Not Everybody Wants You - Find Your Customer
Well, that narrows the customer field. Do some research into who buys soaps that are similar. Now you are looking for people who are primarily women, who don't mind spending more to have something unique, and who care about ecology and health. You will not find them slogging through the markdown bins at Wally Mart. So you can surmise that they are women with refined aesthetic tastes and some money to spend. Either young singles with jobs, or older women who don't have kids to put through college.
 
Find Out Where They Shop
Where would you find an audience like that? Health stores, organic grocers, bath boutiques, gift and bridal stores. Perhaps more so in populations such as Asheville NC, Savannah GA, California and the Northern Pacific, where people are a little more free spirited and health conscious. You might visit to get a better sense of who these buyers are. You might even consider cross-marketing with some of these places. Ask a boutique owner if he will sell or give away some of your product (advertising your website for more purchases) in exchange for a blurb about his boutique on your website.
 
Now You Are Ready To Build
This information tells you how to design your website to make such buyers feel at home, and how to market to them.
 
Let Your Competitors Speed Up The Learning Curve
Once you have zeroed in, you can see exactly who your competition is, too. Just a quick bit of research for my imaginary company brought me four Asheville competitors: Faerie Made, The Laughing Mermaid , Essential Journeys and The Appalachian soap company. Immediately, I can see three esoteric names that allude to the 'experience' of the fancy soap, and one highlighting its all-natural properties.
 
You can draw from their marketing experience to determine what direction you would like to pursue in designing your website and marketing your product.
 
Watch Your Language
Take a look at the competitor websites and notice what key words or phrases they use. Perhaps you can incorporate some into your web script. Be careful not to 'lift' whole sections or sentences out of another website. That is called plagarism. Some people will send cease and desist letters or sue you for using their work.
 
Just get the overall tone of the sites, notice what words many of them have in common, and use that to create your own online masterpiece that will be competitive and will reach the people who are most likely to be searching for your product.
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