Developing a marketing plan for a small business
Even though you run a business yourself or with two to five employees, it is a no-brainer to have a marketing plan that drives business growth. Some businesses think of marketing as cost-oriented when, in fact, with proper planning, your business can get twice the budget after proper execution.
To get started, we have to define what a marketing plan is. A marketing plan gives you an overall view of your marketing strategy for months or a year. It forces you to get realistic with your outcomes, as-well-as your business goal in mind. For instance, if your sales goal is to sell 5000 shoes by the end of the third quarter.
To reach this goal of 1000 shoes, how many customers would I need to close 1000 shoe sales and at what rate do I close? This means if I have 1000 customers; how many of this 1000 would buy – and if only 100, that means our close rate is 10%. What this means is that your prospecting lead goal would be 10000 to make a sale of 1000.
Now that we understand this mathematics. We can use that to develop our strategies towards getting this 10,000 people that will give us our 1000 sales of shoes.
Steps to help you develop a marketing plan
Do market a survey:
This is where you do your SWOT ANALYSIS. Businesses analyse their strength, weaknesses, opportunity, and threats. It allows you to have an objective observation of the system of your businesses.
The investment plan you make will be based on your observations from your SWOT analysis. This serves as a guide to not spend too much on a business operation that is already working or not part of your business goals.
Set your marketing goals:
A better way to set your marketing goals will be to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reliable and, Timebound). For instance, a smart goal can be to have 100 prospects for your books within two months.
Know your target:
The whole world cannot be your market; neither can everyone buy your product. If you sell beef – you have to know not to sell to vegetarians. That means you need to know what they do, where they are, and their interest. These are factors that determine your audience.
Strategy to employ:
Now that we understand our marketing plan, what tactic should we use to achieve these goals. For instance, should we start with a Freemium plan where customers pay a certain fee and get into our club, after which they then pay an extra?
This is a part of the plan where you need to understand your task and your action plan within a specific time. As a business, know when a plan is to be executed or what time it is to be completed.
As a business, you can design a template that works for you on a Microsoft excel sheet where you input in action points and figures to direct yourself or your small team towards reaching its goal.
A brief like an executive summary can also be drawn up in a file or online documents. This is where you describe what you want to achieve for the year, the major key determinants as well as financial numbers. This always means anyone who would be reading your brief would understand – what exactly you want to do and how.
Marketing plans for a small business requires that a lot of analytics is taken into consideration. Marketing also is not a miracle worker or a healer. However, marketing requires a lot of testing – some which may be successful and some won’t be.
Our job is to ensure that we look for the strategies that will help meet all our goals. Also, don’t forget that existing customers too are a source of upselling and information. Tap into this and ensure you identify your strengths and use that to build your marketing capabilities.