Essential Elements for a Small Business Marketing Plan

Any company that hopes to make an impact in the business world has to have a business marketing plan. It will help you achieve your organizational goals by clearly detailing the different aspects you must take. Such include timelines, budget, and marketing channels, among others. A good marketing plan should follow the SMART principle, that is, Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. So what are the key elements you need to factor in when creating a marketing plan for your business?

· A Summary of the Business

You are starting a business, but do you really have a good understanding of what you are getting into. Are you clear about what you hope to achieve with the company? Do you have your goals set out, and the steps you will take to complete them?  A proper business marketing plan will highlight these details. You must incorporate your goals and objectives, core values, brand positioning, finances, among others.

· Market Research

A good business plan must have results from market research. Some of the areas you must include are a profile of the target market, and what the competitors are doing. Also factor in industry benchmarks, suppliers to your business, and market dynamics, among others.

A SWOT analysis will allow you to understand the environment within which you are operating truly. It looks at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You need to put in place measures to maximize the strengths and opportunities. You must also take the right steps to reduce the negative impacts of the threats and weaknesses.

You also have to take note of the external environment. A Political, Economic, Social, and Technological Environment (PEST) analysis will help. The world is ever-changing, and your business needs to be able to adapt to what is happening.

· It Has to Have a Clear Strategy That You Must Follow

Do you have a brand or product strategy? Do you have a good understanding of what your customers need? A clear plan must come from responding to the consumer’s pain points. You come in as the company that provides a solution to a problem you have identified.

The strategy should also contain the mission, resources, an analysis of cash flow, and competitor analysis.

·  Objectives

You must have clear objectives, both long and short-term, and how you hope to achieve them. Be realistic when you are coming up with the goals. It also requires that you have a good understanding of the market so that you take into consideration any factors that may impact upon the achievement of your set goals.

· Timelines

A business marketing plan must-have timelines that guide everything you do. Give yourself sufficient time to implement your marketing plan.  It may take up to a year to see any tangible results, so you have to be patient.

· Company Offering

Are you offering a product or service, does the market need it, what the customers currently use, how will yours be different, among others?

· Marketing Strategies

You have the right product or service, but do you have an idea about how it will reach the target audience. Whatever you offer should be cost-effective to draw in the customers. You want to make money, and the only way you will do it is if you manage to get paying customers. You must raise awareness of the company using different marketing technique such as advertising, public relations, the use of social media platforms, and direct marketing. You could also incorporate the use of blogs, industry events, speaker opportunities, email marketing, among others.

· Budget

Many of the activities you undertake will require that you have some money set aside for marketing. It helps if you come up with a very detailed budget so that you try and capture as many expenses as you can. It is better to have them on the budget and not use the money, than for you to have to add them at a later stage.

· What Is Your Pricing Strategy?

Determining pricing is an essential part of any business. It is the one thing that will decide whether or not you stay in business. Your products or services should be premium to attract the right pricing. Customers have no issue paying for good quality, and you must show them how what you are offering will give them value. The correct pricing will allow you to make a profit and to keep afloat.

· Monitoring

Put in place appropriate tools to measure the impact of everything you do. Only then can you be sure that your marketing plan is a good one.  Customer feedback is always a good indicator of whether you are reaching the target market or not. You could also have more people visiting your website, more considerable interest in your products, more visitors to your physical store, among others.

Monitoring is especially important because it allows you to make relevant changes to your marketing plan.  You can let go of what is not working and only keep what is showing good Returns. It also allows you to incorporate any new marketing channels that may open up.

Final Thoughts

Starting a business requires that you put in place measures to sell your products or services. You need to position your business uniquely and find the right tactics to raise brand awareness. A marketing plan is, therefore, a must-have document in your company. Research so that you incorporate all the elements we have highlighted above. It is not a one-day job because it is something that will determine how you run your company.

Take your time, research thoroughly, and once you finish the plan, make sure you implement it. Some people will develop a beneficial marketing plan, but shove it in the farthest part of the drawer and forget it. Why would you want to develop such an important document, and not utilize it? You must also make sure that you review it regularly and make the necessary adjustments.