Creating a simple yet effective marketing plan for your small business does not have to be a source of overwhelming stress.
A strategic marketing plan is something that will give you direction for the course of the year. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated and include every last detail. It doesn’t have to be something you rack your brain over for weeks or months. In fact, it shouldn’t be.
A good strategic marketing plan can be developed in less than 24 hours.
It should contain specific goals and action items.
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That way you can go back and review it throughout the course of the year.
To start creating your small business marketing plan, it’s important to understand your current situation. Answering these questions will provide a situational analysis that will influence the rest of the decisions that factor into your strategic marketing plan.
Q: What do my customers say they like about my small business?
These are your strengths. These will be some of the points you will leverage in your marketing.
Q: What are my customers saying in reviews and through other forms of feedback those things that they do not like or are not satisfied?
These are your weakness. Quickly checking on review sites such as Yelp, Google, Angie’s List and Tripadvisor will provide lots of insights into your business from products/services to customer service.
Q: What are the opportunities you know you can and should take advantage of?
Examples may include offering new services/solutions, improving customer service, keeping current customers longer, etc.
Q: What are the external threats to my small business?
Examples may include new competition in local area, regulations, continual changing rules in online marketing, and other external factors that affect your small business.
What you just did is called a SWOT analysis. This is an important step and which you should dedicate adequate time. Make sure you write these points down under Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats.
Next, establish what your business goals are for the upcoming year that your marketing plan will help accomplish. For example, you can create one large revenue goal for the year, and then break that down by segmenting it into the individual months.
So in the process, you can ask yourself:
What are my revenue goals?
You can then break that down, and segment monthly or even weekly amounts to help you keep on track throughout the year.
It’s also important to take a look at reputation goals, such as how your small business ranks on review sites and evaluating your social media numbers.
Here’s the tricky part to be very honest. You can’t just circle Valentine’s Day on your marketing calendar and wish more people “love” you and will do business with you.
There needs to be some strategies and tactics at play here. Are you going to offer customer specials? Are there ways you can leverage your marketing efforts by repurposing content? Are you going to only focus online, offline, or integrate your efforts?
There are several “bizarre” national days every single month. You can use those days to increase exposure for your small business as well. So take a look at a calendar, and evaluate your marketing strategies and tactics. Then, pay attention when we get to point #5.
You’ll also want to determine what platforms are the best for marketing your planned promotions. What combination of your website, social media platforms, email marketing, content marketing, direct mail, or even video do you want to use? Maybe its time for you to seriously investigate an outsourced solution for all of your marketing needs (yes that was a promotional plug for the Small Biz Marketing Specialist). Do you need assistance with proven marketing strategies from our experts? Contact us for a free consultation.
Look at what’s worked and what hasn’t in the past. Try new things. Implement what makes sense for your small business. All these things will matter.
Your marketing budget can quickly become a black hole if you are not careful. It’s important to consider the marketing strategies that have worked well for you in the past, and figure out how to make those happen, economically.
Marketing is also the MOST important factor that will help you achieve your business goals. It’s like putting gas in the car. You’re not going to go anywhere without refilling the tank along your marketing journey. That’s another reason why it’s smart to work with an outsourced marketing agency where you pay a flat fee monthly to get your marketing done. This way “you’ve got skin in the game” and you’re committed to helping your business grow, while at the same time letting the experts do it for you so you can achieve results faster and more economically. It’s not always the easiest thing, but it’s important to consider your marketing efforts an investment. You should be seeing results based on what you spend. So determine your budget to get more leads that convert to prospects who then convert to paying customers, and consider point #5.
Once you have your strategies and tactics, as well as your budget in place, it’s time to take an inventory of your resources. You can quickly do that by answering a few easy questions:
What resources should I leverage?
Can I realistically do the marketing myself daily?
Should I hire a marketing staff?
Should I use freelancers?
Should I use a specialized marketing agency for each area of marketing (ex: SEO, design, email, etc) or should I use a “one-stop shop” who can handle all of it effectively ?
Having these answers in place can help you greatly determine your marketing success for the future.
Once you have your small business marketing plan in place, review it monthly.
It doesn’t have to be painstakingly difficult to complete, either. A good strategic marketing plan with actionable items can be written in under 24 hours by answering the above questions.
Do you want some creative ideas that can help breath life into your plan? Contact us for a free consultation.
Stacey Riska, aka "Small Business Stacey" is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small business and rebuilding Main Street. She helps small and local business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients/patients, MORE sales, and MORE money. Stacey is the founder of Small Biz Marketing Specialist, THE go-to place for marketing tips, techniques and strategies that get results. She's also the author of "Small Business Marketing Made EZ" where she shares the 6-simple-step plan to get your marketing into ACTION - literally and figuratively. Stacey is also the creator of the Daily Deals for Massive Profits, an online video training program that teaches small and local business owners how to use daily deal sites like Groupon to skyrocket their business growth and get massive profits. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn't!) and spending time with her amazing husband.
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