Learn to Write a Marketing Plan for a Small Business
Starting a business is one of the most significant milestones a person can have in their life. Still, it represents only the beginning of a path that will be full of challenges, representing economic independence.
A very different matter is making your small business success because even if you get enough cash flow to keep it in operations, it doesn’t mean it has reached its full potential. After all, even the most prominent brands we know today started as small businesses.
Marketing Plan for a Small Business
Getting your business off the ground is possible if you establish a marketing plan or strategy. This differentiates big companies from small, if not necessary, giants like Coca-Cola or Apple wouldn’t use it.
That’s why we’ve prepared a To-Do list to help you make your plan to rocket launch your small business.
Evaluate Your Business
Before you start thinking about any marketing strategy, you need to analyze the current situation of your small business. Questions like the following can help you:
- Is my business starting, or has it not even opened its doors?
- Is it a consolidated business with years in the market that still can’t get off the ground?
- Does my company have a statement or differentiation that identifies it among the competition?
- Has my business been struggling to stay operative recently?
Although they are not the only ones you should consider, they serve as a reference for understanding what this phase consists of. In addition, the answers to these questions will help you establish the right marketing strategy for your situation.
For example, if it’s a well-established business that you want to move up, you may need to consider leveraging and expanding your customer base. You may have the resources to invest in marketing.
On the other hand, if your business starts, you will have to think about more economical strategies while allowing a reasonable time to produce results.
Know Your Product
This step may seem ridiculous at first. However, if you are at the head of a business, you are supposed to know very well what is being sold.
However, not everyone who runs a small business understands this marketing plan well. To understand this, it is possible to enter the competition’s website or analyze the commercials of the large chains.
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your product –such as significant competitors and logistics issues- will allow you to determine whether your product can be as competitive as you need it to be in the current market or not.
If your service doesn’t differ in price, warranty, or even marketing status- or your product doesn’t stand out in some way. Then it’s time for you to rethink what you’re selling. Don’t forget to analyze the weak points of your product. Any strategized improvement can make a difference.
Establish Your Target Market and Customers
Firstly, you must understand that these are two different definitions.
- The target market is the set of people you have access to. For example, they can be those in the same city or geographical area (unless you provide specialized service).
- While the target customers are those, who could buy your product or service.
Here is an example:
You own a small shop where you sell flowers and floral arrangements. In that case, your target market would be the people who see your business, read your advertising, and can physically go there to buy.
On the other hand, your target client could be men, especially young men, who want to surprise their partner with excellent detail or woman who wants to keep their home fresh –You could also focus on events like weddings and funerals.
You must understand these two concepts well, as they will determine your decisions to reach the market you need, primarily your target customers. If you have (you should have) a website, electronic media will help you better determine these aspects, such as Nielsen@Plan or Kantar Media, and Google Ads.
Determine What You Can Invest
Part of the initial step of getting to know your business involved understanding its current economic situation.
For example, if you are facing, or have recently faced, difficulties in your business to operate, you will not invest too much money in marketing. Likewise, offering discounts may not be the best option for your business at this time to attract customers.
Establish a budget that includes your most important assets: time and money. How much of it can you invest weekly in marketing?
It is straightforward to start a strategy and focus on it so that after a few days or weeks, it is diluted while you concentrate on running your business. Having a specific objective will help you track how you are performing concerning your plan. About money, create a budget. Don’t go over budget even if your business is solid and has excellent cash flow. Again, it’s essential to be patient at this stage. No business face success overnight.
Identify the Weaknesses Of Your Strategy
Possibly you already have a marketing strategy now. Maybe you distribute flyers, have commercial accounts on Facebook or Twitter, or have a website advertising berries, among other things, but nothing manages to make your business take off.
In that case, you need to analyze well what you are doing from these aspects:
This means the number of people you can reach with a marketing message can be generated from almost anything: the number of people who see your brand logo in its physical location, visit your website or social networks or subscribe to your monthly newsletter.
It’s associated with the quality of the marketing you’re producing.
Assuming that you’re reaching people, are they committed to the marketing you’re producing? In other words, does it hook them? For example, on Facebook, the people who like and comment on your publications directly indicate commitment.
The number of people who look at your marketing strategies and decide to buy from you instead of your competitors. If you don’t see results from any given scenario, one of the above is incorrect.
Implement Or Reimplement Strategies And Tactics.
Given all the steps in creating your marketing plan, the time has come to define how you will reach your target market and, more specifically, your target customer. First, of course, you must be online, both with your website and through social networks in today’s society. But it would be best if you did it well.
For example, implement SEO on your website; if you sell a product that needs the customer to give you some specific technical data, it is not convenient to add a shopping cart because it would have to fill out an extensive form, which will scare away some people.
Keep social networks active weekly.
This is a substantial part of your marketing plan.
Analyze your audience and determine the best way to reach them. Remember that not all customers can be contacted the same way. The more personalized your message is, the more likely it will sell.
Marketing doesn’t just mean establishing a plan and following it. It also means being able to measure whether your new strategies are working. To find out, you will need to use market measurement tools to know, for example, how many of those entering your website are buying or making a call.
If you think this may be too difficult for you, or you don’t have the financial resources to hire someone to do it, an effortless way to measure the results of your strategy may be to ask your customers how they heard about you or why they decided to buy from you, i.e., what attracted them.
This is important to know how successful the new strategies you are implementing are. Then, based on that continuous metrics evaluation, you can go back to the previous step and reinvent your strategy and tactics.
Writing, planning, and implementing a marketing strategy is much simpler than you think. You may have to turn to professionals in this area for advice, but you can still make your business thrive even if you don’t have the financial means. You need to be creative.
Put the tips on the list into practice, stick to your plan, and define realistic goals. You will be disappointed if you aim to achieve a cash flow of $50,000,000 per year within six months. Don’t forget that perseverance and discipline are the most critical things in this field.