A well thought out marketing plan is just as vital as a well thought out business plan.
No business is too small to not need a marketing plan. After all, even the smallest business needs customers or clients and new business! While small businesses often have minuscule promotion budgets, they can still design and implement effective marketing plans to promote their business.
Your marketing plan focuses on winning and keeping customers. It’s your action plan specifying what you’ll sell, who’ll want to buy it and the tools and tactics you’ll use to generate leads that result in sales.
It generally doesn’t have to be lengthy or overly wordy. Simply create your marketing plan using bulleted sections and get right to the point.
Step 01: Define where you are now:
A successful marketing plan begins with a Situation Analysis. Situation Analysis is a detailed review of your current situation, goals, and expectations. This first step defines your company and product in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Step 02: Describe your target audience.
Develop a simple profile of your ideal prospective customer.
Is your business a “Business to Business” company?
Demographics such as the type of business, geographic location, job title etc.
Is your business a “Business to Consumer” company?
Demographics such as : age, sex, lifestyle location etc.
Or do you conduct business with both?
Create a separate profile and plan for both business types.
Step 03: List your marketing goals.
Write down a short list of goals and make them specific and measurable. Don’t say: “Increase sales.” Do say: “Increase sales 5% per quarter.”
Step 04: Outline your primary marketing strategies and tactics.
How will you reach new prospects – Your COLD Market?
How will you reach current and former customers – Your WARM Market?
Will you use email, local online search, social media, website, billboards, or direct mail?
Step 05: Set your marketing budget.
Marketing is absolutely essential to the success of your business. You’ll need to devote a percentage of projected gross sales to your annual marketing budget.
If you find the cost of your marketing strategies and tactics exceeds your budget, you may consider borrowing money or self-funding your marketing program at first. The other option is to go back and adjust your tactics until you have a mix of tactics that are affordable.
Step 06: Implement, review, and adjust.
Don’t just launch your marketing plan and leave it alone. It’s important to review the results often. What’s working? What’s not working? That way you can adjust the mix accordingly.
The key is to never stop marketing! Your competitors won’t!