You’ve started your business, created your product or services but have no idea how to market them. Believe it or not, this happens all of the time with new and existing small businesses.
Over the years, I have come to learn that Marketing is a strategic activity that requires planning. It is not a “fly by the seat of your pants” action that you take when you need to generate sales or get more clients.
The fact of the matter is this: when you create a marketing plan for your small business, it will make things so much easier for you in the long run. In today’s blog post we will take a look at five steps that you can use to create a one year marketing plan for your small business.
How Do You Create an Effective Marketing Plan?
If you want to succeed with a small business, then I highly recommend that you follow these five simple steps for producing an effective small business marketing plan:
Step 1: Brainstorm for Possible Marketing Activities
No matter how big or how small your business is, it’s a must to learn about and choose the most effective marketing strategies. When brainstorming for the best marketing activities, you might want to consider the following:
- How much time you can devote to each campaign
- How many campaigns can you implement at once and who will be responsible for implementing them. I have been taught that it’s best to run multiple campaigns per month to see which ones work best for you and bring in the best results. For instance you can implement some of the following marketing campaigns:
- o Email Newsletter Campaigns
- Direct Mail Campaigns to a Cold List
- Cold Calling
- Which campaigns will require minimal cost but produce positive results
Step 2: Create a Budget
- Estimate your expenses
- Look for and implement ways to cut costs
- Search for affordable suppliers and service providers
- Continuously track expenses and revenue and modify our budget plans accordingly
Step 3: Create an Annual Marketing Plan
A marketing plan does not have to be lengthy; it doesn’t need to detail what you need to do every hour of every day. However, it should list the following:
- Campaigns you plan to implement
- When each campaign will start and end
- Who will execute the said campaigns
- What tools (e.g., software to use for distribution and tracking)
- How much of your overall budget should be allotted to each campaign
Step 4: Assign Contractors to Complete Tasks
You don’t need to work alone on the development of your small business. Even if you don’t have a business partner, you can always find contractors or freelancers to help you certain areas of your business. When finding the right individuals, it’s essential to look for the following traits:
- Proven and verifiable knowledge and experience
- Good communication skills
- Ability to meet deadlines and accept feedbacks or criticisms
- Rate that matches your budget
Step 5: Monitor Task Completion and Results
After you have hired a marketing manager (employee or freelancer) to plan and execute your marketing activities it’s important to continuously their progress. There are several ways to do this:
- If you hired a contractor from freelance sites such as oDesk and Elance, you can review their work diaries and evaluate their performance based on the cost, time used, and output quality.
- If you hire directly through an advertisement on your website or from friends’ referrals, you can monitor through programs such as Basecamp and Hubstaff.
Aside from your contractors’ output, it’s also beneficial to monitor the actual results you get as seen on your marketing campaigns. That includes:
- The amount of web traffic, leads, and sales you get from your website, articles, guests posts, and social media pages
- New subscriptions, likes, and follows you get
- Amount of interaction on your blog and social media profiles
Having a clear marketing plan and objectives is definitely a necessity for your small business. Before spending tons of money on products, customer service, and marketing campaigns, be sure to sit down and create your own small business marketing plan with the simple steps that I’ve I shared with you today. To get you started with creating a marketing plan for your small business, I am attaching a One Year Small Business Marketing Action Plan that you can download and use for free.