For a small business, possibly like yours, to survive in today’s competitive culture can be difficult.
One successful technique that can help a small business or any business thrive is a marketing plan.
What is a marketing plan? A marketing plan is a live document that will guide a business owner; within the document is content ideas that a business owner comes up with and can use to implement over a course of time.
Why might one include this planning? This plan will help to identify different tactics and actions needed to be taken place to help achieve a goal. May the goal be bringing on more customers or helping keep previous customers.
A small business might not think to bring into place a marketing plan, however, let’s discuss what a small business owner needs to know to possibly start implementing one.
A marketing plan is designed to fit the business. Each business will have a different plan depending on the situation and strategy of the business.
Let’s not be confused, the plan will be different with the different content produced. The main aim may stay similar to others.
These aims tend to be:
- Attracting more customers.
- Increasing the average sale amount.
- Make your customers buy from you more often.
- Keeping your customers loyal.
These are just a few of the aims that a business can choose from. It’s a good idea to start with an overview of what you want to achieve to make sure all strategies put in place will be successful.
PS. this doesn’t have to be too complicated or in a specific writing style, just make sure it’s clear and you can understand!
Time to begin!
Who is your audience? What location? How old? Etc…
Considering and understanding who is actually buying your product or service first are critical as it stops the mistake of marketing to all.
Which is one expensive and two not always effective and appropriate.
The best way to put it is that you can’t make someone buy something they don’t want or need.
So to have this understanding of your profitable market, which is a group of people who genuinely have a need for your product or service, will benefit the business massively as well as the marketing techniques decided.
The entire promotion of a product or service should be effective and having an understanding of the target market means that paid ads, content and emails would be received by an audience that will provide investment back, ROI (return on investment).
Each plan for each business should look at answering the following:
- Is there a part within a businesses market that’s being underserved?
- Could the audience being targeted be large enough to make a profit?
- How much competition surrounds the business?
- Is there an area for improvement in the content of the competition and could a business capitalise on this?
- What value does the business offer? Is it appealing to the target audience?
A deeper dive into the audience.
To be able to clearly say you know your audience for your product or service is essential.
Questions a business should ask themselves are:
Who are your customers? Age? Gender? Location?
What will motivate the audience to purchase from you? Could it be a good CTA (call to action) or a special offer!
For further information take a look at Finding Your Target Audience And Why It’s Important.
The market niche
A good marketing strategy should be able to identify the niche market they’re supplying their product or service to.
This involves looking at a customer group that’ll benefit from purchasing.
To determine the customer group a business needs to focus on demographics such as age, gender etc alongside looking at the psychographics; this is the lifestyle of the customer.
For a business to pay extra attention to their audience ensures that they won’t be marketing to all which is a highly competitive market but be targeting their specific niche and would be able to start to plan how they could dominate that market.
Defining your niche and narrowing your market focus as well helps to make your product or service more desirable!
DO YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS?
Your marketing message
After running through your target market and niche customer group, it’s now time to look at focusing on your marketing message.
Typically this explains the product or service a business is selling and persuade people to buy from the business.
Quite often you find there are two different versions of marketing messages. One is quite frank and short, straight to the point; known as an ‘elevator pitch. See it as your 30-second pitch of ‘what do you do?’ if you were asked by the biggest deal!
The second version is a complete marketing message and your plan should involve this message.
A good marketing message needs to be persuasive and for this, it should follow these:
- Good customer reviews and testimonials of satisfied customers.
- A briefing on your target markets problems.
- Proof that the problem is important and should be sorted.
- Reasoning why you are the only business that can solve this issue.
- An explanation of the benefits people will get from your business.
- Price and payment terms.
Methods of marketing
Decision making time.
What platforms or media will you, as a business, utilize to ensure that your marketing message reaches your target market?
There are plenty of different media that a business can use, it’s about choosing the one that will be the most effective and most efficient for your business. Hopefully, as well cheapest!
For instance, there are online and offline marketing techniques, both being highly useful. It just depends on your TA.
If your target market is of an older generation (65+), you will find offline marketing can be more effective just due to the generation they are from.
Offline marketing techniques involve newsletter and magazine adverts, leaflets, sales letters, window displays etc.
Looking at it in a different direction would be if your audience was females 16-25. Marketing techniques would be more focused on online media. Such as Instagram, Twitter and famously now TikTok.
These are just two examples of how a business could market its product or service using appropriate marketing media for each audience.
Other marketing techniques are:
- Online search- paid search on google.
- Online directories- Yell.com.
- Networking (this is a great way of generating new contacts as well!).
- Business cards.
The list goes on!
DO YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS?
The market route all depends on the type of product or service a business sells and the market they’re trying to reach.
One business can use multiple different routes such as e-commerce and directly to the customer.
It’s important to be clear about what route you will take in your plan and always provide a backup solution if you don’t receive the results you want from the first route.
Being on target
To be able to measure the success of your marketing plan, it’s a good idea to set SMART targets which reflect your goals.
Keep in mind that these marketing targets should be specific and realistic. Without setting targets and goals, you may be just wishing for success to happen instead of planning for it.
SMART goals stand for;
Make sure it’s specific, meaning it can’t just be ‘I want to grow my social media presence’, which platform; Instagram? Facebook?
Being measurable translates to setting yourself a % as such. For example; I want the engagement rate on Instagram to grow by 25%.
Do you have the resources or skills to meet your target?
Can you complete it within the time frame you’ve set yourself?
Set yourself a time frame of when you want to complete your target. ‘I want to increase my engagement by 25% on Instagram and hope to complete it by the end of July 2022’
To begin with, it’s a good idea to set 1-3 targets. These goals don’t always have to be marketing related they can also reflect the volume of sales and sales per salesperson.
These SMART targets help to identify whether the marketing efforts put in place are attracting engagement but also transferring them into purchases or even getting in contact.
Money and time
As mentioned before this plan needs to be realistic.
Be realistic in your budget and timetable to secure that all desired marketing activities can be implemented.
If a business owner has been trading for a year or more they will be able to calculator their ‘cost to acquire on customer’ or ‘cost to sell on product’.
This is done by dividing businesses previous years annual sales and marketing costs by the number of customers acquired or units sold.
Take the unit cost and multiple it by sales or customer acquisition, this will help to set new goals for the year ahead and can give an indication of how much a business may need to invest to achieve new marketing and sales objectives.
After taking into consideration the estimated budget a business needs to produce a timetable.
This timetable should be;
- What marketing action would be taken
- Who will take ownership of these?
- When will each marketing activity begin?
- Should identify any key events or product launches.
- Also, include whether any external ‘aid’ will be required; graphic design, PR etc.
Review, review and review!
A marketing plan is an active document!
Monitor and review the progress continually, if able do this monthly.
This helps to see whether the activities put in place are achieving what a business needs.
If the marketing isn’t. The reviewing allows the opportunity for a business to try another marketing strategy in hopes to see more successful results.
Plus, monitoring the marketing plan allows a business to consider any seasonal aspects that a business may want to involve in.
Alongside all of this, developing a marketing plan allows a steady flow of content to be released as well as being able to input any other content along the way.
Finally, a marketing plan is a good way to ensure that a business is working towards creating brand awareness which helps to provide a business with new customers and possibly contacts!
Want to learn more about marketing? Digital Hype is one of those that will teach you to understand the digital world just that little bit more!
To get involved reach out to us on 01642061062!
May this not be the one for you right now, don’t worry our Going For Growth Programme might just be! Check out both and get involved today! Don’t wait any longer.