How to create a marketing strategy for a small business
Developing an effective marketing plan is essential for any small business looking to get ahead. It involves research of the target customer, evaluation of competitors, and the implementation of creative strategies to reach the desired outcome. By following these six simple tips, small business owners can create a formidable marketing plan that sets them apart from their competition: develop buyer personas; identify goals and objectives; determine budget; choose the right channels; implement strategies; track results. Each tip serves a specific purpose in helping create a custom-made marketing plan tailored to the needs of a small business. With some thought, effort and creativity, success is well within reach.
How to develop a business marketing plan
Your business marketing plan should set two primary goals: customer engagement and loyalty, and the growth of market share in your target audience. Your marketing plan will lay out the strategies and actions you’ll take to achieve these goals, such as campaigns through various channels, budgeting, and projections based on data. As with any successful venture, remaining committed to your long-term objectives is essential to meeting them: while you may need to adjust your approach or actions along the way, having an interconnected plan that ties back to your original strategy will ensure consistency in execution.
Most marketing may start with getting creative to capture a target audience’s attention, but all successful plans will always circle back to the four P’s of marketing. Product, Price, Place and Promotion are the fundamental building blocks necessary for any business decision. In marketing, these four points should be considered when brainstorming ideas on how to best present a product or service. It is often easy for marketers to focus on one of the P’s too heavily and neglect the others. As such, it is good practice to consistently review each of these important touchpoints while planning any marketing campaign in the order they are all equally taken into consideration. Heeding these tips will create strong campaigns that contain balance throughout the promotional process.
Write an Executive Summary
Creating an executive summary for your company’s upcoming marketing campaigns is essential to telling a consistent and engaging story. By establishing SMART goals–specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound–you can better ensure that each campaign contributes to creating a unified message. For example, you may plan to increase your company’s social media traffic by 15% in 90 days. Using professional language will help establish an authoritative tone while encouraging engagement from your customers. With careful planning and organisation, you can craft a narrative that not only informs consumers of your message but also keeps them intrigued and involved with your brand.
Identify your target audience
Finding and defining your target market is an important first step in formulating a successful marketing plan. By understanding which demographic your business appeals to the most, you can focus on the types of messaging they will respond to. Take the example of a business selling 30-minute meals: by focusing on those who work traditional 9-to-5 jobs, you can create content and communication that speaks directly to this group’s needs and concerns. Learning about their struggles helps you develop custom solutions for them, allowing your brand to stand out from the competition.
Differentiate your brand with inbound marketing
Differentiating your brand from competitors through inbound marketing requires making use of specialised internal tools. Content marketing is a powerful way to leverage the full potential of inbound marketing. It includes creating informative blog posts, interviews and podcasts featuring industry-relevant figures, as well as supplementary guides on how to get the most out of your product. For instance, if you’re selling cooking supplies, you could post creative recipes around the holidays, demonstrating what your products can help you achieve. By amplifying one component to improve visibility across social media and search engine results, it becomes easier for customers to find differentiators based on content quality and tone. Through this feedback loop between various components within an inbound strategy, your brand remains recognisable and stands out from the rest.
Identify competitors that also target your customers
Identifying competitors who target the same customers as your business is an essential measure to take when running a small business. By thoroughly assessing both industry-specific and outside-of-industry competitors, you can gain insight into possible strategies to combat customer losses. Keeping track of competitor offerings and strategies can also tell you what’s missing from the market – insight that you can use to help differentiate your own business. Further, observe how your competition operates so that you can make well-informed decisions about differentiating your products or services. Knowing who your competition serves as an immense asset towards devising a successful strategy for lasting success.
State your brand position for your target customers
Your company’s brand is your key to success, creating value for customers and standing out from the competition. It all comes down to a single sentence that captures how you will meet customer needs – so make it count! By providing solutions that surpass customer expectations and delivering superior value, your company’s brand stands ready to confidently meet their needs. Make sure you’ve captured this advantage in a concise statement – one journeyman sentence summing up how customers will benefit from trusting your business.
Plan the budget
As you craft your strategy, remember to consider the budget you will assign for its implementation. Many elements of a successful marketing strategy require money – think paid advertisements, software tools, events or even outsourcing to professional services. Build this expense into your plan to ensure there are adequate resources available as you put together and execute each tactic. When calculating the budget, factor in estimated expenditures, resources, and work hours necessary to accomplish the set objectives; this will be useful when creating a concrete budget that allows for achieving success within your means. Additionally, keep any goals realistic so they can be met with the given budget.
Channels to include in your marketing plan
Making sure your customers know about your business is vital for its success. Setting up a marketing plan can help you reach potential clients and increase your sales. There are several elements to consider when creating a successful strategy, such as the type of media channels you use to get your message across. Aside from classic print and broadcast media, modern businesses often utilise more digital methods like social media, email campaigns, and search engine optimisation. When producing content through these channels it’s important to adopt an engaging yet professional tone of voice that appeals to your target audience. With the right promotional plan, your business will be well on its way to connecting with its target customers!
Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing is a powerful channel to consider when devising your digital marketing strategy. When implemented correctly, PPC can provide highly targeted results and a great ROI due to its low cost and vast reach. Think of it this way: if you want to deliver the right message, to the right people at the right moment, then PPC should be one of your go-to channels. It allows you to target keywords that your potential customers are typing in search engines, eventually leading them back to your website. A comprehensive yet thoughtful approach is key when creating a successful PPC campaign, so create strategies with these goals in mind for maximum impact and return on investment.
Social media is a key element of any successful business’ marketing strategy. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have a huge market share, appealing to customers from a myriad of demographics. Picking the right platform for your business needs is crucial to ensure maximum return on investment. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are posting content in the correct channels for your target audience and adapting it for each platform accordingly.
Email marketing is an affordable, effective, and efficient approach that many small business owners use to stay connected with their customers and prospects. Not only does email engage existing customers, but it can also be used to reach new potential buyers. Companies can create fluid campaigns by utilising services such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact to distribute newsletters, promotional campaigns and transactional emails, helping them reach a larger target audience quickly. Email remains an effective marketing tool as it allows companies to segment audiences more accurately.
As a result of mobile devices’ constant presence in our lives, companies are finding new ways to target consumers through mobile marketing. This type of marketing is unique in that it gives the consumer more control over when and how they receive promotional content. The success of this approach lies in honouring the consumer’s power to opt in or out of notifications, allowing them to interact with marketing material on their terms. This has enabled brands to craft marketing messages that are timely, relevant, and engaging.
Having a clear plan is the first step in achieving success in any marketing campaign. Once your budget, goals and action items have been set with the right people assigned to each, it’s time to track progress. Digital channels provide an unparalleled depth of analysis when compared to more traditional routes – you can monitor results as they happen, assess customer behaviour and navigate the journey of individual prospects. With this data, marketers can fine-tune their strategy to consistently reach audiences at exactly the right time and direct their efforts accordingly.