Do you have a small business and have you done without a marketing plan yet?
It is not a worthless scrap of paper. Thanks to a marketing plan, your marketing will not get out of control and will help you achieve the appointed goals and maximize results in the agreed ways. And don´t forget about the profits!
We have put together a simple guide for you on how to write a practical marketing plan for a small business that will help you, rather than interfere and get in your way. Remember that it should fit within your business plan and support your long-term and main goals.
A marketing plan is your strategy, it helps to identify important opportunities and risks, resources, and the way to use them effectively. It will still be necessary to adapt to the circumstances, but with a correctly written plan, changes will be less difficult.
Analyze the current situation: Small business and their competitors
Evaluate objectively and without emotion the current position of your company and the service or product you offer.
Assess your market, who your competition is, what they offer, what their strengths and weaknesses are. What is the added value of your product? What market needs are not yet served? On the contrary, where do you fall behind your competition? For a small business, common disadvantages include a busy market or little staff experience.
Definitely consider the definition of your unique selling point: what sets you apart from the competition and what is “the thing” that makes your product sell?
Define the target group and market: Who are your customers?
Somewhere in the world there are people who need your product or service but do not know about it. Who are they?
Do not stop at determining general demographic characteristics such as gender, age, geographic destination, and so on. What are the needs and interests of your target group? What philosophy and values do they profess? How do they behave and what lifestyle do they lead?
What products do they currently use? Where do they get information? Are they interested in Facebook for Business, or do they prefer to read a blog article?
If you trade with companies, what type of business, size, location are they? What position will you deal with? Are they a target of online marketing? Will you have to make a phone call?
Base your actions on numbers: A small business has its demands
In order to properly determine the marketing plan and budget for your marketing, you need to keep in mind all the numbers that affect your pricing strategy and the way you generate your profit.
What is a reasonable limit on the marketing budget at which you can cover your costs with a profit? Is there a market for the products at the prices you offer? Are you willing to sacrifice profit margin in favor of a larger market? What are your marketing and distribution costs?
How is your business doing now and where are its biggest growth opportunities?
Remember that even a limited budget can help you grow if you identify your opportunities correctly.
Identify goals and criteria for achieving them: Sell more or gain more customers?
What goals do you want to achieve with your marketing? Each goal should meet five key criteria: it must be specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time-framed (read more in the article about SMART goals).
The goal of your marketing plan can be focused on sales numbers, client acquisition, customer retention, revenue, market penetration, brand promotion, website traffic, or any other indicator. But don’t forget to determine the goal as specific as possible, along with the criteria by which you will judge success and failure.
In other words, “increasing sales” is not a good goal. “200% increase in teddy bear sales by the end of next year” sounds much better.
Create a marketing strategy: Facebook for Business or a billboard by the highway
You should already know who your target group is and what their life habits are. So how can you best deliver your message to them? What distribution channels do they use?
If your target group is on social media, Facebook for Business might be the ideal solution. How about an Instagram account? Maybe your target group spends whole days there, but can your product be promoted mainly on the basis of images? In addition to the online world, offline marketing is also an option. Giant billboards scattered along the road probably won’t be a good fit for a small business, but you may be one of the exceptions. Always consider your target audience and the limits of your product.
Set a budget: Small business opportunities and their limits
When creating your marketing plan, you will definitely face the limits of a small business. Most often these are a limited budget, time, or knowledge. Take your limitations into account. If your budget turns out to be smaller than your goals require, go back and revise them. Try to think about different forms of marketing. Online marketing can be much more suitable for limited financial and time resources than offline marketing and you will get faster results. Think about the possibilities of outsourcing.
Even a small budget goes a long way if resources are used properly.
Evaluate and adapt: A marketing plan that changes over time
According to the selected criteria, regularly evaluate how you manage to meet your goals through the chosen methods. If the plan fails, change it. Adapt to the circumstances. Once a year, review your marketing plan carefully and rethink each point. Is it still relevant? What new goals can you set?
If you’re not sure how to do it, you don’t have the time, or you just don’t want to, we have a great solution for you: outsource marketing to myTimi! We will do a market analysis for you, advise you on which form of marketing is best for your company, help you draw up a marketing plan, and advise you on the business strategy.