Developing a Small Business Marketing Plan
March 19th, 2014 by Digithales
While a marketing plan can become very detailed, for your small business, a basic plan will include a description of your product or service, including what differentiates you from the competition. A description of your main competitors should be a part of it, as well as a marketing budget, advertising and promotional plans, a pricing strategy and the current state of the market for your products or services. Marketing plans also include sales forecasts and current financial information and projections.
Begin to think about your customer’s wants and needs. You will need to perform a SWOT analysis on your competitors, which analyses their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Marketing plans are generally designed to cover a fiscal year, but you can include long–range goals and forecasts. If you decide to add new products and services during the course of the year, remember to review your plan and make changes or adjustments as necessary.
Why is a Marketing Plan Necessary for Your Small Business?
A marketing plan keeps you on track to achieve your marketing goals and objectives for the year. This marketing road map organizes your marketing, allows you to view your budget and figure out how to best allocate your dollars.
The plan clearly states who your target market is and the competition. It shows how you can reach your target market and what to do when you do.
If you don’t have capital yet to hire a marketing company or an in-house marketing staff, there are many online resources available to help you not only design and write up a marketing plan, but these same resources can help you with creating and implementing your marketing budget as well.
Be Creative and Flexible With Your Marketing Budget
Even though you have settled on your marketing budget, this doesn’t mean that you have to follow it religiously. Set aside some marketing dollars in the plan to use on unplanned local events, corporate or non-profit sponsorships that fit your customer demographics or some additional advertising methods that may come up during the course of the year. These unplanned marketing ideas or events may help you reach more of your target market.
Measuring Your Success
Measuring the impact your marketing has on your sales is important. You can measure it by taking the results of marketing programs you ran during a specific time period, like a business quarter, and compare it with a similar time period where you tried different ideas. Some advertising methods are more difficult to measure than others, such as mailers, but you can get an idea of what is working and include these in your next year’s plan.
In the end, the more time you spend developing your marketing plan, the better off you and your company will be because you will have gained valuable knowledge of the market and your competitors, will understand your current financial situation and know your marketing dollars are being spent wisely.