How to Develop a Marketing Plan for a Small Business

A marketing plan is an essential part of any business. However, it can be quite challenging to put one together if you do not have the relevant knowledge. There are specific steps to take to develop a proper one. Our article below will show you how.

· Understand Your Business Situation and Your Goals

Before you start working on your business plan, you need to know the situation your business is currently in. Are you just starting, do you have the revenue, have you been in business but are not breaking even? If you have the answers to the above, then you are on your way to developing a marketing plan. It is not possible to copy someone else’s because each business has its own unique needs. There are specific business scenarios that we can consider.

You have a running business

Your business has been stable, meaning you have been operating for some time, but you want to scale. You have sufficient cash flow, and can, therefore, invest in some marketing activities. You also have a customer base that you can leverage upon to keep the business going.

 Setting up a business

You are in the process of starting a business and do not have sufficient amounts of money for marketing. You may want to take advantage of marketing ideas on a Shoestring budget.

You have to be honest about where your business is. It will allow you to come up with proper goals which are realistic and achievable.

· Do You Have Resources To Invest?

Resources, in this case, mean time and money. Be clear about what assets you have, and how much time you can invest in the business.

· Budgeting

You have to draw up a very detailed budget, taking into consideration how much money you have to invest.  Also, consider some of the things you can do without needing to spend money. For instance, you can take advantage of the online tools to set up a website on your own. You can also do some of the marketing on social media platforms, which will not require expenditure unless you decide to run ads or boost your posts. With specific goals, you can keep track of your plans.

· Work On the Timelines

Your marketing plan should highlight when you hope to achieve your goals. Ideally, you should have short deadlines, usually not more than a year.  Your marketing plan will require some tweaking as you go along because some things might not work. Giving yourself sufficient time to see that whatever you implement is giving you returns is a good idea.  With marketing, you may not get returns immediately, and that is why you need to be clear about the timelines.

Remember, you will need a lot of patience to implement the plans. Do not be in a hurry by setting unrealistic, unattainable expectations.

· Are There Any Marketing Gaps?

If you have been operating for some time, but are not seeing returns, it could mean that there is a marketing gap. You need a proper perspective of the current situation, and you will need to do some research. Look at what the competitors are doing, and also talk to those within your networks. The main things you need to look at are:-

  • The reach of your messaging, meaning how many people will access or be able to see the messages you put out. Some of the things that can improve your reach include developing an emailing list, a website, and signing up to the social media platforms. You also need to consider investing some money into advertising on Google, listing on the local directories, opening a Google my page business, among others.
  •  Engagement depends on the quality of your marketing campaigns. The audience should interact or engage with your messaging by, for example, subscribing, liking, commenting, or sharing your posts. If they are on your website, they should stay longer on your pages so that you are sure that they interact with your content. You can improve engagement by having a user-friendly site, fast loading pages, attractive images, videos, and blog contents. Maximize on SEO and ensure that you are accessible on mobile platforms.
  •  Conversion, which means that once the audience interacts with you, they should take appropriate steps. Such include calling, filling lead forms, and ultimately making a purchase. Make sure you have a call-to-action on your website, excellent follow up from the sales team, and a secure checkout process, among others.

· Work On Your Action Plan

The action plan details how you hope to achieve your goals. List down the tasks you need to do, and prioritize them. A to-do plan works the same way as a shopping list, write it down and stick to it. It will make it easier to implement whatever you need to do.

· Measure the Results and Make the Necessary Adjustments

The only way to know whether you are successful is to measure the results. It also allows you to adjust the marketing plan to take care of the aspects that are not working. You have to give yourself room to make the necessary adjustments because priorities tend to shift, the more you run your business.

Final Thoughts

A marketing plan for a small business is not difficult to put together once you have the relevant information. You need to research so that you know how the market is. Have goals that are attainable and measurable. Do not go into the process with lofty expectations, especially if you do not have enough finances to undertake substantial marketing campaigns.

The online platform has made it possible for a small business to advertise cost-effectively. With the use of platforms such as social media, you can reach a broad audience base, thus raising brand and product awareness. However, anything you undertake requires a well-thought-out process to ensure success. Use our tips above as a guide but remember each business is unique, and as a business owner, you know best where the marketing gap is.