You’ve got a product or service that you believe in wholeheartedly and know you have an edge on your competition. So, how do you get the word out to the world about your small business?
You probably know the answer is various forms of marketing. But how do you create a marketing plan for a small business? You know, one that actually works?
It can be difficult. There’s all sorts of options and you’ve got one person saying to shovel cash into Facebook ads and another saying Facebook ads are trash. Why is it so confusing?
Because there isn’t a single formula that can be copy and pasted for all businesses.
Creating a marketing plan for a small business
Before anything else, you need to create a snapshot of your current situation.
What do your financials look like right now? What are your sales? Do you have any money in advertising, email marketing, or any other marketing efforts?
Make a note of that so you can compare numbers later. This will allow you to measure your results.
Then, come up with a realistic goal for what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts. Are you looking to increase website traffic? Maybe your conversions seem low? Are you wanting to improve your rankings on Google?
If you have no idea what a realistic number is, try searching for it online. It may not be relevant to your industry but it should be somewhat close.
Now, lets get to work putting together your marketing plan.
Determine your budget
You’ve got your numbers and set some targets for your marketing plan. Now it’s time to figure out how much money you can allot to this plan.
You also need to budget some time. It’s easy to ignore marketing tasks when you’re busy selling or otherwise managing your business. But this is just as important.
Crunched the numbers and have a particularly small amount of money you can devote to marketing? There are still some free or low-cost things you can do.
Find out who your customers are
How you market your business will depend a lot on who your customers are.
You need to learn who they are: What their online and offline interests are, their age range, the percentage of men to women, etc.
Why is this important? It’s going to help you narrow your efforts. Instead of firing off your money into all directions like a shotgun blast, you’ll be able to “aim” your dollars into the right areas.
It may be surprising, but you probably have a “typical customer.” A big group of them will hang out on the same social media platforms, websites, and physical locations in which you can advertise and push content.
Who is your competition and what are they doing?
Before I get into this, a quick disclaimer: If you only do what your competition does, you will never overtake them.
However, you can learn a lot from watching them. You can avoid making similar mistakes and it could give you an idea of how you should market your business.
So, do some research on them now and check in on them from here on out.
Where is your current marketing plan lacking?
Take a look at those existing numbers you compiled earlier. What is it you are struggling with?
Are you getting enough traffic into your store and/or website?
Maybe you’ve had marketing efforts in the past and they didn’t seem to make a difference?
That’s a lack of engagement.
Are you getting people into your store or on your website but they aren’t buying? That’s a conversion problem.
If you’re starting your business from scratch, you may have to simply focus on the traffic at first and do some brand awareness.
Take the biggest issue of the three and get ready to take a swing at solving it.
Take note of opportunities you’re finding
So, you’ve identified the biggest problem your business is facing: Traffic, engagement, or conversions.
Now it’s time to look at what marketing opportunities you haven’t tried that could be the answer.
Struggling with total traffic? You could take the demographics of your typical customer and advertise on the social platform that best fits that target consumer. Or you could do some SEO for your website to increase organic traffic.
Have a little more money to spend? Google Ads could work.
If you don’t have a lot of money to play with, social media could still be your answer. You just need to shore up your content game.
Do you have people landing on your website but leaving quickly without engaging at all? Are you posting a lot on social but it gets very few, if any, likes or comments?
In both instances, video could be the answer. Video on social always gets pushed to the top by the platform’s algorithm. It’s also engaged with much more than any other media. Videos of your product or service on your website could help demonstrate why a visitor should do business with you.
Or maybe there’s not enough content on your website. It could also be that your content doesn’t do a good enough job to get visitors engaged.
It could also be as simple as a technical issue.
Finally, if it’s more conversions you’re after (who isn’t?), does your website have enough points of conversion?
If so, are all of your call-to-actions “contact us” buttons? Try using more compelling language.
You should also make it easy for your visitors to convert on your website. Don’t make them fill out a ton of unnecessary forms and keep navigation simple.
Now you have a marketing plan. Employ it and measure results.
You’ve got numbers to compare, you’ve identified your weaknesses, and you’ve found areas to attack. It’s time to put it in motion.
Just remember to be patient and give your plan time to work. Some marketing, like SEO, takes months to see results.
After an appropriate amount of time, take a look at the data and see if there are some tweaks you should make.
As always, if you need some help with your digital marketing efforts, you can give us a call or hit us up through our form. We work with small businesses with limited budgets as well as established corporations with sizable budgets.
In both instances, we will always do what’s best for you and never suggest something you don’t need.