Small Business Saturday Blog

How to: create a small business marketing plan

Tuesday, May 12 at 15:55Marketing | Planning | Small Business


Are you a small business without a marketing plan? We’re sharing 5 quick tips on how to get started and create a marketing plan that works!

Why is a marketing plan so important?


A marketing plan is the driving force behind your sales. Without a plan in place, your marketing activities will likely be sporadic and inconsistent, generating ineffective and disappointing results. Not a good approach if budgets are tight! Ultimately, no plan = a weakened sales effort.

A well-thought out marketing plan will keep your business on track to achieve defined goals. It will ensure that your marketing activities are carried out in a controlled way (within budget), and that your results (and profits!) are maximised. That’s what we want!


5 quick tips for a winning marketing plan


One: Plan and co-ordinate

A truly effectively marketing plan will deliver results when it is aligned with a wider business plan. Don’t have one? Don’t panic! Even if you just have a skeleton business plan, be clear on your business goals and what you are looking to achieve within the next 12 months. Clarity at this level will shape your marketing plan and ongoing activities, helping you to meet (or even exceed!) your business objectives.

Two: Know your audience

Define, research and locate your target audience. Go beyond the usual demographics and really try and understand your target customers. What are their motivations, aspirations and needs? How and where do they consume media and information about products and services? Research doesn’t have to cost you money – there are plenty of free DIY market research options available to you.

Three: Be clear on your brand positioning

Your brand positioning will be a key ingredient that adds life to your marketing communications. Think about the genuine benefits that your business offer customers and why should people buy from you (over competitors). Dedicate a window of uninterrupted time to creating a concise, unambiguous description of what your business offers. This exercise will also help you to develop your elevator pitch and feel confident introducing your business to prospective customers, business partners or investors.

Four: Know your numbers 

How much profit do you make on each sale? Before you can allocate your marketing budget, get comfortable with how your business is currently performing and where potential growth opportunities are. How big are these opportunities? This information (combined with your business goals) will help you allocate your marketing budget and significantly impact your success. Remember that even a modest marketing investment can achieve great results if invested wisely.

Five: Embrace SMART goals

A winning marketing plan will include very specific, goal-driven measures for each activity. The goals for each of your planned marketing activities should be ‘SMART’:

Specific: well-defined

Measurable: know if the goal is obtainable/know when it has been achieved

Agreed upon: agreement with all stakeholders as to what the goal should be

Realistic: within the availability of knowledge, resources and time

Time-specific: defined time period in which to achieve the goal

Review, test, adapt

A marketing plan should be seen as an evolving guide that helps you to shape your marketing decisions. To be successful, ensure that you regularly refer back to your plan – review, test and adapt your marketing campaigns - and don’t leave your carefully crafted marketing plan gathering dust!



Paula Hutchings is the owner of Marketing Vision Consultancy. Recently featured in The Times, Paula works with a wide range of small businesses and start-ups- helping her clients to engage with more customers and to grow.


Categories:

Latest Posts: