Small Business Marketing Plan: 8 Simple Steps to A Winning Marketing Strategy
Starting a small business can be a thrilling adventure, but it can also be a daunting task. With so many things to consider and decisions to make, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. One of the most crucial components of a successful small business is a marketing plan because small businesses often work with smaller budgets and limited resources, with almost half of all small business owners doing their marketing on their own. (Source: Nerdwallet) In this blog article, we’ll guide you through the steps to create a small business marketing plan that will help you grow your business and attract new customers.
How to Create A Small Business Marketing Plan That’s Right for You
Step 1: Define Your Target Audience
The first step in creating a marketing plan is to define your target audience. Who are your ideal customers? What are their needs, wants, and desires? Knowing your target audience is critical because it will help you tailor your marketing efforts to reach them more effectively.
To define your target audience, you can use demographic information such as age, gender, income, and location. You can also look at psychographic information such as their interests, values, and lifestyle. Use this information to create customer personas that represent your ideal customers. These personas will help you visualize and understand your target audience better.
A lot of small business owners get stuck at this step because they think that targeting one specific audience means they exclude everyone else. And they think they’ll be losing much-needed income by excluding consumers from their marketing focus. But that’s a misconception.
The reality is that when you focus on marketing to your best customers, you’ll get a mix of your ideal customers and others… and… you’ll have more customers you enjoy working with – customers who absolutely love the products and services you offer. It’s a win-win!
Let’s look at an example. Imagine you’re an orthodontist. Who do you think your ideal customers might be? Sure, you can help anyone who has crooked teeth, but here’s how defining your ideal customer can help your business be more successful.
Your business will be more successful if you focus your marketing efforts on consumers who:
- Have crooked teeth.
- Live within 5 miles of your practice – because consumers are most likely to visit businesses within 5 miles of where they live. You can always expand your marketing efforts beyond this radius, but remember we’re talking about your ideal customers.
- Are committed to their dental health overall – because it doesn’t make sense to straighten your teeth if you’re not going to take care of them.
- Who can afford your services – so their household income is at or above the median household income for your geographic area and have dental insurance that covers orthodontal treatments.
- Are old enough to understand and willing to comply with your treatment recommendations. So likely, consumers aged 13 to 21 with dental insurance coverage.
Does that mean you refuse to treat consumers that live farther than 5 miles away from your practice or who need help to afford your services? Not necessarily. But, if you fill your practice with non-ideal customers, it will likely take more work on your part to serve these customers, and your practice may not be as profitable.
Two final thoughts on defining a target audience.
- You can always change your target audience.
- You can have more than one target audience. But for now, start with one. Then, once you master that audience, you can target another.
So start by getting a clear idea of your target audience and market to them first.
Step 2: Analyze Your Competition
The next step in developing a small business marketing plan is to analyze your competition. Who are your direct and indirect competitors? What are they doing well, and what can you do better? Analyzing your competition will give you a better understanding of the market you’re entering and help you identify areas where you can differentiate yourself.
To analyze your competition, research their products or services, pricing, marketing strategies, and customer reviews. Look for gaps in the market that your business can fill, and consider how you can position yourself to stand out from your competitors.
If you need help with your competition analysis, please reach out to us. We’d be happy to help!
Step 3: Set Marketing Goals
Once you understand your target audience and competition, it’s time to set marketing goals. What do you want to achieve with your marketing efforts? Do you want to increase website traffic, generate leads, or increase sales?
Make sure your marketing goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, a SMART marketing goal could be to increase website traffic by 20% within the next six months.
Two great marketing goals for new businesses to start with are:
- Generate ten new leads a week within the next 90 days.
- Attend one networking event and meet at least three new business contacts within the next 30 days to develop referral partnerships.
Step 4: Determine Your Budget
Your marketing plan’s success is also dependent on your budget. How much can you afford to spend on marketing? Consider all the marketing activities you plan to undertake and the associated costs. Your marketing budget should be based on your marketing goals and the return on investment you expect from your marketing activities.
Step 5: Choose Marketing Channels
With your budget in mind, you can now choose the marketing channels that will help you reach your target audience. There are various marketing channels to choose from, including social media, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media advertising, print advertising, radio advertising, content marketing, and more.
When selecting your marketing channels, consider your target audience’s preferences and where they spend their time online. For example, if your target audience is millennials, social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok may be more effective than email marketing.
Step 6: Create a Content Plan
Content marketing is a crucial part of any small business marketing plan. Creating high-quality, relevant content can help you attract new customers, build brand awareness, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Your content plan should include the types of content you plan to create, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, or social media posts. It should also include a content calendar that outlines when and where you’ll publish your content.
Strategically creating content that helps consumers learn about your business and the products and services you offer, as well as content that demonstrates your industry expertise is an effective way to help consumers get to know, like, and trust you enough to choose to do business with you.
We specialize in helping clients create strategic content plans that help to build their businesses and brands.
Step 7: Implement and Measure
Now that you have your marketing plan in place, it’s time to implement it. Start with a few marketing channels and gradually expand as you gain more experience and resources. Make sure you track and measure your marketing activities’ results to identify what’s working and what’s not.
Use tools like Google Analytics, social media analytics, or marketing automation software to track your progress and see how your marketing efforts are affecting your business. Make adjustments as needed to ensure that you’re meeting your marketing goals.
Step 8: Review and Refine
Finally, it’s important to regularly review and refine your marketing plan. Your business, market, and target audience are constantly evolving, so your small business marketing plan should be too. Conduct regular performance reviews, analyze your data, and make adjustments to your marketing plan as needed.
Creating a small business marketing plan may seem overwhelming, but breaking it down into smaller steps can make it more manageable. Define your target audience, analyze your competition, set marketing goals, determine your budget, choose your marketing channels, create a content plan, implement and measure, and review and refine.
Remember that your marketing plan is not set in stone and should be adjusted regularly to reflect changes in your business and industry. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful small business marketing plan that will help you grow your business and attract new customers.