Small Business Brief


7 Tips for Developing a Marketing Plan That Will Make 2019 Your Best Year Ever

In 2018, there were over 30 million small businesses employing more than 58 million employees. Small businesses are the engine that drives the economy. 

Do you own a small business? Are you ready to take it to the next level? Marketing is key when it comes to sales. But many small businesses don’t have a marketing strategy. 

Preparation is key for success in marketing. You need an integrated plan that includes all the tools in your marketing toolbox. 

Keep reading for 7 tips for developing a marketing plan for the rest of the year. 

1. Define Your Mission

Elucidate your company’s “why.” Understanding the company’s why makes everything else clearer. Think about big companies like Apple, Inc and where they started.

Steve Jobs had a big vision. His early mission statement was, “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”

This was a strong vision and mission statement. It didn’t limit the company in any way, and it facilitated the company moving far beyond computers. Apple, Inc is one of the most valuable companies in the world

The company mission is important. Define the company’s mission statement and core values. Make sure all your employees know what the company stands for.

2. Revisit Your Target Market

When was the last time you defined your target market? Do you know who your prototypical buyer is? You can’t have a marketing strategy if you don’t know your buyer. 

Who buys your product? What are their needs? What solution do you bring to your buyer’s problems?

If your industry has changed, it’s likely your buyer has too. Don’t brainstorm your ad campaigns until you’re clear on your buyer’s demographics. 

3. Define Your Marketing Objectives

You’ve defined your “why,” and you know who your customer is. It’s time to define your marketing objectives. 

Everyone knows the generic marketing objectives:

  • Generate leads
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Grow repeat business

But you need specific objectives for your company. If you operate only from the generic goals, it’s much harder.

If you want new leads, how many? How are you getting them? Write a specific goal such as, “Generate 1,000 new email newsletter signups in the first quarter.” Defining specific goals makes strategizing easier. 

Write down the goals and talk about them with the team. If you’re not hitting your goals, revisit them. Make sure the goals are realistic, but not too easy.  

4. Analyze Your Marketing Channels

What marketing channels will you use? 

Most marketing professionals are in agreement: ignore social media at your peril. Facebook has over two billion active users! That’s a lot of potential customers.

Analyze and keep up with digital marketing trends.

Targeting your customers’ demographics is easy when setting up a Facebook ad campaign. Don’t ignore other social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. 

Don’t focus all your marketing efforts on social media and digital marketing. There are many effective offline and online marketing channels. Don’t forget:

  • Direct marketing
  • Events and trade shows
  • Public relations
  • Workshops
  • Print ads
  • Digital ads/website/blog

Map your campaigns across the available channels. This step is also optimized by knowing your target market. Focus your energy on the channels where your market lives.

Maintain brand consistency across all marketing channels.

5. Create a Paid Media Plan

Differentiate between free marketing channels and paid channels. Some free media channels, like Facebook, also offer paid advertising options. Will you stick with placing free content only and hope it gets shared?

Or will you pay for Facebook ads? Answer these questions based on your target customer. Try running a few ads and look at your analytics. Did the ads result in new signups? Did they generate leads or bring back new customers? 

The answers to these questions determine whether you’ll want to place more ads or stick with free content. 

Determine your budget. Then break it down into marketing channels. Then create a month-to-month plan for spending. 

6. 12-Month Content Calendar

A 12-month content calendar seems ambitious, but it’s crucial. The content calendar keeps your team on track. It syncs your online and offline presence and pulls your marketing plan together.

Outline all content channels and the type of content. If your company is on Instagram and Facebook, a lot of your content does double duty. Use original authentic content that builds trust with consumers. 

Aim to share at least one photo per day on Instagram. Analyze your results for engagement. Both Instagram and Facebook have their own analytics pages. Also, look at your competition. What type of photos does the competition share?

What’s your company’s unique selling proposition? This is the thing that sets you apart from the competition. Are you the lowest price? Highest quality? Make sure your customer knows. 

Create content that reflects your brand and adds value to your target audience. 

7. Optimize the Company Website

This is crucial and often overlooked. And it’s a big part of your marketing plan. 

Every bit of content you create should drive traffic to your website. And your website should have great content too. Create a robust website that can handle traffic. Your website needs easy navigation. 

If your site isn’t clear and functional, potential customers won’t stay. Keep your site clutter-free. Don’t make people figure out what your product is. Make it clear.

Keep your website simple. Complexity causes cart abandonment. Don’t make customers work hard to get through the checkout process. And don’t ask for too many personal details. 

Give your customers lots of payment options. Eliminate hidden costs. Make sure your customer can see shipping costs before they order. 

Test and update your website on a regular basis. 

Developing a Marketing Plan

Know you know the elements that go into developing a marketing plan. Don’t leave your marketing plan to chance. Define the company mission and research your target market.

Clarify your marketing objectives. The objectives should be concrete, and they should be written down where the team has access to them.

Analyze your channels and determine your paid media plan. Create a 12-month content calendar and stick to it as much as possible. 

Optimize your company website. Make sure it’s robust and easy to navigate and understand. 

The last step is launching your plan! Look at your analytics once a month and make any necessary changes to your content calendar. 

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