One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of running a successful small business is creating an effective marketing plan. A marketing plan will help guide you in the direction you need to go in order to reach your short and long-term business goals. If you choose to skip this crucial step or don’t follow proven best practices, you may end up wasting a lot of time and money trying to find your way in a competitive marketplace.
Keep reading to discover how to create a marketing plan for your small business that will help you get results.
Determine Your Goals
Before you get to the “how” of your marketing plan, it’s important to set some goals so you know when you get where you want to go. Set both short-term and long-term marketing goals so you have reachable milestones along the way and still have a big goal to strive for. These goals can include things like revenue, profits, breakeven points, number of customers, subscribers or followers, number of employees on your team and what percentage of the market you hope to have.
Set a Budget
Before you get into creating a marketing plan, it’s wise to set a budget so you know precisely how much you have to work with for each step of the process. Marketing of any kind requires a budget and your plan will go much smoother if you know where you stand. Keep in mind, your budget can change as you move along if your early marketing efforts are fruitful, but setting a budget at the start is a critical part of the overall process if you are to be successful.
Conduct Market Research
If you hope to dominate your chosen market, then it stands to reason you should know everything there is to know about your competitors and your prospective customers. When it comes to your competitors:
- Who are the main ones?
- What products and services do they offer?
- How much do they charge?
- Do they have exceptional customer service?
- What do they do very well?
- Where are they leaving openings for you to do better?
For your customers, you want to have a crystal-clear picture of who they are so you can create marketing materials that are engaging and will keep your conversions high. Some of the things you want to know include:
- Age range
- How much they earn
- Where they hang out online
- Where they shop
- Their wants, needs and desires
- Their fears, frustrations and problems
Once you know all of the above customer information, you can create your ideal customer avatar that should tell you all you need to know when crafting marketing campaigns and strategies.
Identify the Marketing Channels You Will Use
Using the information you learned doing market research, you will identify the various marketing channels to use to reach your ideal customer and accomplish your marketing goals. Depending on the nature of your business, you may use an even mix of channels or you may focus solely on online marketing or some other channel to get results. Part of your decisions in this area will also depend on your budget, and you will allocate funds to those channels you feel are most important. Some of the possible marketing channels you can use include:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- PPC (pay-per-click)
- Print ads
- Live events
- Television or radio ads
- Outbound phone calls
Track and Measure Your Results
In today’s digital world it’s never been easier to track and measure your marketing results and there’s really no excuse for not knowing if what you’ve been doing is working or not. Despite your best efforts and careful planning, not every marketing idea you have is going to be a home run. Market conditions change, trends change and sometimes things just don’t work for no apparent reason at all. The key is to recognize when this is the case and make the necessary adjustments, which is possible when you track and measure your marketing results. It also helps to identify big winners so you can double your efforts.
Naturally, you’ll need a competent team to help implement your marketing plan.
The team of digital marketing experts at Outreach Digital Marketing is passionate about attention to detail and personalized SEO services that attract more website traffic and leads for your company. Schedule your free consult today.