Existing Business: Resources

Marketing Your Small Business

Looking for ways to market your business to attract and retain customers? Business owners should carefully plan their marketing strategies.

Sample Marketing Plans

A marketing plan is a document that outlines the situation or business environment that the business is currently operating within and then lays out the objectives, strategy, and programs to accomplish the objectives going forward. Want to grow sales? Increase your market presence? A marketing plan can help you get there.

Here is a simple outline for the steps to writing a marketing plan.

  1. What’s the situation, the external environment?
  2. What is the mission of your organization? Who is the customer, the target market and how will the organization solve their needs?
  3. What are the objectives that need to be accomplished?
  4. What is the organization’s strategy?
  5. What are the marketing programs, the tactics, which the plan will execute? Consider all of the 4 Ps in creating the plan: product, promotion, price and place (channel of distribution).
  6. Create a calendar of initiatives over time with a budget and expected results.  The calendar could be drafted using a spreadsheet and organized monthly and weekly for the year under consideration

Need an example? Mplans.com contains the largest single collection of free sample marketing plans online. Visit their site.

Need more personalized help? Meet with an advisor.

Digital and Social Media Marketing

There are so many ways to use the internet to market your business. Finding the proper channel to reach your customers is important. Inc. put together a great Business Owner’s Social Media Toolkit.

Other helpful sites for getting started with e-marketing and social media include HubSpot and Social Media Examiner.

Check out an in-person Social Media Breakfast in Portland and Waterville.

Exporting & International Trade

Looking for new markets to sell your products or services? Considering exporting? Register on Export.gov and take their free readiness self-assessment.

SBA Export Resources: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a wealth of resources available for small businesses considering exporting. Visit their site for more info.

Maine International Trade Center: The Maine International Trade Center (MITC) is Maine’s leading source for international business assistance. They offer customized counseling, trade missions, and resources to help Maine small businesses explore international trade. Visit their site for more info.

Selling to the Government

Do you want to sell your products to the government? Your business must be:

  • Experienced
  • Financially sound
  • Ready and willing to perform
  • Computer/internet capable
  • You must have resources, time, patience and tenacity

Check out this handy Introduction to Government Contracting presentation.

Think you are ready? The Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is the place to start. PTAC helps Maine businesses who are interested in selling their products and services to federal, state or local government agencies. Visit their site for more info.

Other Programs/Associations

Local Chambers  – Your local chamber can be a great marketing resource. Chambers throughout Maine provide opportunities for Maine businesses for promotion, visibility, and networking.  Many chambers offer great training programs and events as well. Find out more information about the Chamber of Commerce in your area. 

Maine Products Marketing Program (MaineMade) – The Maine Products Marketing Program (MPMP), a program of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, builds recognition for hundreds of exceptional Maine made products, their producers, and Maine’s industries in general. MPMP is open to all qualified Maine producers. A selection process is in place to ensure that high quality, Maine products from reliable producers are part of the program. Visit their site for more details.

Trade Associations in Maine:

Environment & Energy Technology Council of Maine – www.e2tech.org
Maine Aquaculture Association – www.maineaquaculture.com/
Maine BioScience – www.mainebioscience.org
Maine Brewers’ Guild – www.mainebrewersguild.org
Maine Built Boats – www.mainebuiltboats.org
Maine Campground Owners Association – www.campmaine.com
Maine Crafts Guild – www.mainecraftsguild.com
Maine Forest Products Council – www.maineforest.org
Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association – www.mgfpa.org
Maine Innkeepers Association – www.maineinns.com
Maine Maple Producers Association – www.mainemapleproducers.com
Maine Marine Trades Association – http://mainemarinetrades.com/
Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association – www.mofga.org
Maine Potato Board – www.mainepotatoes.com
Maine Pulp and Paper Association – www.pulpandpaper.org
Maine Restaurant Association – www.mainerestaurant.com
Maine Tourism Association – www.mainetourism.com
Maine Wood Products Association – www.mwpa.org/
Manufacturers Association of Maine – www.mainemfg.com
Retail Association of Maine – www.retailmaine.org
United Maine Craftsmen – www.unitedmainecraftsmen.com
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine – http://wildblueberries.maine.edu/