You might be wrong if you think your small business doesn’t need a marketing strategy.
Even if you are a small business, technology and consumer behavior today require that you use multiple channels and tactics to reach customers. Marketing plans for small businesses and their teams keep your strategy on track.
Only half of small businesses have a marketing plan. 25 percent of small business owners are unsure how to grow their businesses, 58% spend less time marketing each week, 86% prefer other activities, and 25% say they don't know what they should do.
Marketing is not for everyone, I know that. Marketing is essential to your business' growth and the acquisition of new customers. You will need a partner or team to help you create and execute a marketing plan if you are not able to do so.
It is likely that small business owners are aware of the importance of a marketing plan for their small businesses, but don't know where or how to begin. We'll walk you through the process in this article.
Here are 8 steps to help you create a marketing plan that will help your small business reach its goals.
Let's get started.
- A SWOT analysis and competitive analysis can help small businesses assess their marketing success.
- A marketing plan that is focused on your target audience requires a well-developed goal and a clear understanding of the goals.
- Small business marketing plans that work well for small businesses use a variety of tactics and channels.
- Small businesses that don't have large marketing departments often outsource.
- Your marketing plan's success will depend on your ability to measure results using data-driven metrics.
Eight steps to create a marketing strategy for small business success
Evaluate your current situation
Before you begin creating your marketing plan, it is important to understand where you are at the moment. This includes both your goals and how you compare to others. To understand them both, you can do a SWOT analysis or a competitive analysis.
SWOT stands for strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A SWOT analysis can be a honest assessment of your business's current performance and future potential.
An analysis of your competitors' offerings, marketing strategies, and performance is a competitive analysis. It helps you to understand how yours compares. A competitive analysis can help you find gaps that you need to close and opportunities to exploit.
Here's an example:
img alt=”Competitive Analysis Framework.” class=”aligncenter” height=”1188″ loading=”lazy” src=”https://marketinginsidergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Competitive-Analysis-Framework.png” width=”1301″/>
A SWOT and competitive analysis will give you a complete and accurate picture of your business. This helps you to create a marketing plan that's specific, focused, and customized for your business.
Identify your target audience
Next up: identifying your target audience. To create a small business marketing plan that works, you must know the people you are creating it for. These frameworks can be helpful.
If you are a small B2B business, it is important to create your ideal customer profile. The ideal customer profile is a description of the customer's organizational characteristics that would be most benefit from your solutions. This includes things such as company size, industry, location and customer base.
Next, develop your buyer personas. Buyer personas are the people in those organizations that make decisions about B2B purchasing. These two concepts can be viewed in conjunction.
img alt=”Ideal buyer profile and buyer persona relationship.” class=”aligncenter” height=”500″ loading=”lazy” src=”https://marketinginsidergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/ICP-and-BP-10.jpg” width=”800″/>
Source: Image Source
B2C companies also use personas but not in the same way as B2B. B2C companies create personas about people who purchase their products for personal use, rather than looking at the motivations and roles of employees.
Both cases should however be guided by your customers' needs and goals.
Establish clear goals
It is important to establish clear goals that will guide your small business marketing strategy. What makes a goal a good one? They must be clearly defined and specific, describing exactly what you will accomplish, when, and how to measure your success.
To set goals that meet all these criteria, you can use the SMART framework.
Make a marketing budget
A budget will give you an idea of how much money you can spend on your marketing plan. Small businesses often assume that a smaller budget means fewer effective plans. However, this is not true. Technology allows you to do so much even with a modest budget. It is important to understand your marketing budget in order to maximize your potential.
It is a great place to mention content market, which is the most cost-effective strategy with high ROI. While content marketing is 62% less cost-effective than other marketing methods, it also earns 6x more conversion rates. It should be part of every marketing strategy. To learn more about how to leverage content, see our guide on building a content marketing plan.
Choose the right channels and tactics
Multichannel marketing plans that use multiple tactics to reach customers are the best. There are certain channels and strategies that work best for certain companies. No company should try to do it all. It is important to understand which channels and tactics you have available and to choose those that are most effective for your goals.
Let's look at some examples.
Search engines are the best way to make your content visible in today's technological-driven society. Local SEO is especially important for small businesses located in a specific area. Find out more in our SEO guide for small business.
It's something we have already said, but I will reiterate it: Content marketing is vital for all businesses today. Consumers are now in control of the purchasing process. Your content is what customers will be most interested in when they search online for brands or solutions.
Social media marketing is a great way to get your message out where customers are looking: on their social networks. You can make sure that your target audience is more likely to find your brand by optimizing their social profiles, using paid social media ads and sharing your content via social platforms.
It is true that brands are finding it harder to be noticed in the sea of emails. However, consumers across all industries still prefer email as the preferred method of communication with brands. An effective email marketing strategy can help you engage your customers regularly and without being intrusive.
They aren't dead! PPC ads are still a great way to be seen and drive traffic to your site. Although you shouldn't rely solely on them, they can be used to boost your marketing or kickstart a campaign.
Marketing to Influencers
Celebrities are now being endorsed by influencers. People trust and relate to influencers and will buy products that they recommend, even if they are getting paid for it. Influencer marketing doesn't require a large budget or connections with influential people to be successful. Studies have shown that micro-influencers who have a niche following have higher engagement.
Word-of mouth marketing
The short version is that 90% of consumers trust recommendations from their family, friends and online reviews. It is extremely important to build a network of brand advocates and get reviews about your products and services. This will help drive sales and revenue in both B2B as well as B2C environments.
Traditional media channels like TV, radio and billboards are all considered offline channels. Although offline marketing may seem outdated, it is still important for reaching customers. This is especially true for small businesses that are located in a specific area. Research shows that offline marketing can help drive more online sales.
Your marketing plan should be developed
Time to develop your plan. This may seem overwhelming, so let's simplify it. These are the most important elements to include in your marketing plan:
- What is the next step?
- When it will get done
- Who will do it?
Now that you know who your target audience is, what your goals are, and which channels you prefer, it's time to put all of this information in one place. You can find a lot of marketing plan templates online that you can customize for your small business.
Below is a quick look at the one we use at MIG. For more information, check out our complete list of marketing templates.
img alt=”MIG Content Marketing Planning Template” class=”aligncenter” height=”645″ loading=”lazy” src=”https://marketinginsidergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/MIG-Content-Dashboard.jpg” width=”1315″/>
Source: Image Source
Your team is your best asset
Who will execute your plan? Failure to clearly define who is responsible for each task in your marketing plan can lead to unanticipated gaps or worse, the blame game. It shouldn't happen to your small business. Identify your team and get them involved. Communicate expectations.
Outsourcing might be the best choice for you if you don't have an in-house team to execute your plan (many small business don't). About 70% of businesses outsource content creation and marketing activities.
Outsourcing is a financial investment, but it doesn't have to cost a lot. It often produces better results than doing it yourself. While you can focus on your core business, marketing agencies have the expertise, knowledge, and resources necessary to deliver results.
Your progress can be measured
After you have put your marketing plan into practice, the work is not done. It's important to regularly measure your progress and make improvements to ensure the best ROI. Do you remember those SMART goals that you set? These goals have clear, often data-driven metrics that will help you see if you are meeting them. You should meet with your team regularly to review progress and find new opportunities, so that you can maximize your results.
With great content, create a winning marketing plan for small businesses.
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Marketing Insider Group's first article was How to Create A Marketing Plan For Your Small Business.
By: Michael Brenner
Title: How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your Small Business
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/marketing-plan-small-business/
Published Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2022 10:00:18 +0000