Growing a small business takes more than just getting the company started. You have to get prospects in the door. You’ve tried slapdash marketing campaigns on various channels, but nothing seems to be working.
From boosting ads to brochures, any marketing campaign without a strategy is like going on a road trip without a map — you’re doomed from the start.
How can you better market your business?
Creating a marketing plan for your small business will help you create effective deliverables that perfectly represent your mission and get people in the door.
Why is Having a Marketing Plan Important?
A marketing plan will guide you in the right direction.
By identifying who you are as a business and the value you give to the market, you can showcase your brand to potential clients. Knowing the bridge between what people need and what you have to offer will help you connect with your target audience and convert them to actual customers.
There’s a lot that goes into planning your marketing. You have to look at your company, look at potential prospects, look at your competitors and look at your future growth. Here’s an idea of how to get started:
The first step to any effective marketing plan is to conduct research and assess your situation. Regardless of whether you’re a brand new business or have been operating for years, it’s important to see what you already have and what you need to help your business grow.
Know the Essentials
Your marketing begins with you. Make sure to assess where your business is at before starting your investment. Knowing what you have and what you need will help you create realistic goals and strategize accordingly.
Staff: marketing requires people. You need a dedicated staff that is knowledgeable in both your industry and marketing techniques. Know the current capabilities of your staff and how they will fit into your marketing plan. If you do not have a marketing specialist on your team, take note of what you will need from one and look into contracting the work out.
Budget: Depending on your goals, marketing can end up costing more than you think. Create a budget ahead of time so you know your financial limits. There’s no point in creating a grand plan that explodes your business if it bankrupts you before you grow.
Resources: Lastly, know what you have available or within your reach. There are many tools you can find online to help you with your plan. For example, if you want to start with email marketing, you might want to consider a database for your contacts. You may need to budget for acquiring resources with a price tag.
Conduct a Brainstorm
In order to establish your marketing goals and objectives, you need to reflect on your company. Conducting a brainstorm session will give you the opportunity to ask yourself questions about your business and see where you’re at. This will help determine who you are, what you’re doing well and where you could improve.
Examples of questions include:
- What am I trying to sell?
- What is my brand identity?
- Who is our target market?
- What makes my small business stand out?
- Why should customers choose my business over my competitors?
Once you can answer these questions, it will be easier to establish a process for your marketing plan that is specific to your small business.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help guide your decision making when seeking opportunities.
Learn Your Audience
After reflecting on your own business, it’s time to look at who you’re marketing to. Knowing your customers is essential to creating an effective marketing plan. Creating a top notch website is great, but if your prospects aren’t online, then your efforts won’t reach them.
Do some digging and figure out what preferences your audience has.
Look at Competitors
If you know what you need but have no idea how to get there, look at some of your competitors in the industry. For the most part, they will have the same target audience as you and will be trying to market in the same way.
Take note of what they’re doing for their marketing and see what works and what doesn’t for them. This can give you a good idea of where you want to take your own marketing.
On another note, researching their efforts can reveal what you do differently and makes you unique. This unique selling point is something you should focus on in your marketing strategy because it helps you stand out.
2. Create Your Goals
Once you have evaluated where your business stands, you should have a good idea of where it needs to go. The most important step to creating a marketing plan is establishing your goals.
What do you need to do to help your company grow and get customers in the door?
This will shape your marketing strategy and create a focus for the plan.
Examples of goals include:
- Build an online presence
- Increase brand awareness
- Generate leads
- Engage with potential clients
Make sure your goals are realistic to what you can do with your budget and resources.
3. Plan Your Strategy
Once you have researched what you need and have a goal in mind, it’s time to create a plan that’s both realistic and valuable.
There are several things to consider, starting with what channels will have the most impact for your marketing. A website is typically the foundation of your online presence, acting as a virtual sales rep for potential customers. In addition to that, email channels, social media platforms and blogs can have a huge impact on your marketing.
Each channel has its own set of deliverables that you can create for certain purposes. You can use emails to establish yourself as an industry thought leader or pitch your products/services to clients.
Based on the goals you’re striving for, there could be several channels and their deliverables that will effectively send your message out to the right people. For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, posting regularly on Facebook or Instagram can establish your business, as can sending informative emails to client leads.
When planning your strategy, figure out what marketing tactics will have the most success in following your goals.
Your strategy can include:
- Blog Content
- Email Blasts
- Print Deliverables (brochures, posters, business cards, etc.)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Posts
- Social Media Ads
Put Your Marketing Plan into Action
When you’ve got a sound marketing plan for your small business, it’s time to get started. Remember to document the tactics you try and how effective they are so you can fine-tune your marketing plan as you go.
Depending on the scope of your marketing plan, you may have to have all hands on deck. With many different tactics to implement and channels to explore, you could end up biting off more than you can chew.
Marketing takes more than you think. An effective marketing strategy needs time, effort and consistency. Whether you’re trying to establish your brand or gain new customers, it’s important to stay active online. This includes constantly posting on your chosen channels and making regular updates.
Between running your business and trying to have a work-life balance, it can feel impossible to conduct a marketing plan on your own.
You can have your employees step up to the plate, but then you’re taking them away from their day-to-day tasks, which can affect productivity. You can hire a new employee, but then you’re having to budget for their onboarding, training, salary benefits and more.
The best way to get a bang for your buck is by hiring a marketing agency to help you implement your plan.
Marketing Specialists Based in Richmond
Key Web is a marketing company in Richmond, VA that specializes in helping small businesses grow. Our Marketing on Demand services will give your company the boost it needs to increase your visibility with potential clients. You will work with our specialists to fine-tune a plan with deliverables geared toward marketing your business the way you want.
If you need help creating or implementing your small business’s marketing plan, reach out and schedule a consultation with Key Web.