Among the tools you need to become a young entrepreneur, you need a marketing plan. You may not have even heard of marketing plans. But we promise: a solid marketing plan could be the difference between your enterprise doing fine versus your enterprise blowing up the scene.
A marketing plan doesn’t have to be long, complicated, or confusing. We want to help you get your small business up and running. That means keeping it simple. Doing what you can. With a little bit of homework and research, your marketing plan can turn into your secret weapon to massive success.
Here’s the bottom line: what will your customers care about? That’s the message you need to figure out before you start marketing your business.
Your message should be based on the product or service you offer. The Kantner Foundation already knows you are a brilliant pre-med student with stellar A.P. scores who has come up with an exciting new way to help oncology nurses. But what does that have to do with your customers? How will your product or service make their lives better, easier, or more efficient?
When it comes to your message, brand consistency is important. Don’t market your product as one thing and then change your mind and market it as another. The psychology of young entrepreneurship is that you aren’t really selling a product. You’re selling a solution. A way of life. A chance at happiness.
Customers don’t shop logically. If that were the case no one would buy sports cars or brand-name clothes. People shop with their emotions. And the three major emotions you can aim for are:
- Happiness. Spread joy! Make people laugh! Give them a smile! Happiness is a universal desire. How will your product make customers happy? “Kids love my chair because it’s exactly the right size, comfortable, and comes in their favorite colors!”
- Fear. Your customer has a very real problem. Something is wrong. Something could definitely go wrong. Thankfully, you are here to fix it and give your customer peace of mind. “I created this face mask after seeing my grandmother struggle to find one that was both secure and comfortable.”
- Anger. Why does something always break? Why is it so hard to find a quality service? No one likes to be disappointed, especially for something they’ve just spent money on. Here you are to save the day and make life easier. “When you hire me to babysit, I’ll bring a bag full of both outdoor and indoor games so they’ll never be bored!”
The best marketing strategy in the world will fall flat if you aren’t targeting customers. Do your classmates really care about your hearing aid recycling company? Do your neighbors need an app that tracks the number of texts a company sends to their clients?
An easy (and kinda fun) way to make sure your message hits the bullseye is to create a customer persona. The most successful young entrepreneurs know better than to cast their nets out as far and wide as possible. Narrow it down.
Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to market your service to “health care workers,” be more specific. Which sector of the health care system does your customer work in? How old are they and how long have they been working at this job? What is their biggest problem? How will you fix it? How will this improve their quality of life – not just at work, but overall?
Sell to a person, not a group. This way your marketing message will bring the right customers to your business. The right customers are more likely to buy your product, give you good reviews, and refer you to their peers.
The message is on-brand. You know your ideal customer like a best friend. Now what?
Get your message out there and in front of the eyeballs of your target audience. There’s no point in advertising yourself in places where no one will see you. For example, older customers probably aren’t going to subscribe to your TikTok channel. Younger audiences likely don’t care about business cards.
The main types of marketing strategies are:
- Social media
- Content (blogs, articles, etc.)
- Physical marketing (flyers, business cards, etc.)
As a young entrepreneur, we know you don’t shy away from a little legwork and research. Knowing the best way to reach your potential customers will boost your sales significantly more than haphazardly posting on social media or handing out flyers.
Remember to make your marketing interactive. If social media is one of your marketing tools, respond to questions and comments. Keep your website and blog updated with fresh content as often as possible. Don’t spam customers with emails, but don’t neglect them, either.
By now you should have some idea of what you hope to get out of your marketing plan. If not, some possible goals include:
- Brand awareness
- Customer retention
- New customers
- New subscribers or followers
- Business partnerships
Having a goal is like knowing which direction to go. There may be several routes to your destination, but you still need to get there.
Marketing goals will be unique to each young entrepreneur. Your goal looks different than your friend’s goal, and that’s fine. Not everyone wants the same thing or has the same product (or service) to offer. What success looks like for you and your enterprise is entirely up to you. There’s no right or wrong measure of success.
A marketing plan doesn’t have to be fancy. This template is simple and straightforward, perfect for young entrepreneurs. At the end of the day, spending a little bit of time on a solid marketing plan can rocket your enterprise into the stratosphere!
Find out more about the Kantner Foundation’s commitment to young entrepreneurs, including our college scholarships for high school students, by clicking here.