Creating a small business marketing plan as a subcategory of your overall business plan is vital for evoking and accelerating business growth. When you have a plan, you are able to focus on the right things at the right time and measure your progress toward a goal.
Many business owners are resisting planning. When you’re running a business, you can easily be consumed by your day to day responsibilities. But failing to plan can be a great mistake.
Now, what is the essential function of marketing? To generate qualified sales leads. There are any number of methods that can be used to do that but how do you know which methods to use if you don’t have a plan?
And how do you know what your lucrative marketing activities are? How do you invest in those activities if you don’t know how big your budget is, or know what results you are trying to produce?
A marketing plan doesn’t need to be a huge document. First, start with your business goals for the next six months. You should already have these, for example your target revenue, if nothing else.
Now, what marketing goals align with those business goals? Ok, you want to make 100k. How many leads do you need to generate in order to allow your selling activities to close the deals necessary to reach this revenue target?
Next, what marketing strategies are necessary to meet your business goal? Will you need to get more publicity? Expand into a new market? Reach more people in your current market? Create a direct mail campaign? Create sales partnerships?
You must pick one or two that deliver on what you are aiming for and hit your target revenue. Now, determine what specific activities will achieve your strategies.
At this point it gets a little bit tricky. You must choose from a vast pool of marketing options/activities and you must choose the activities that will work best for the potential customer you want to reach. You might need to participate in trade show events where you get face to face with your market.
You might need to launch a new website, you might need to implement a referral program for current customers. The list goes on and on.
Whatever your activities are, put them together into your plan and create target metrics (e.g. number of leads collected, number of prospects you talked to, etc).
Finally, you end up with your marketing plan.
The next step, your sales plan, tells you how the leads generated by marketing will be converted to customers, and how back end sales will be made to those customers. Sales metrics include conversion rates, overall revenues, or revenue per customer/per square foot/per time spent in the store, etc.
The great thing is that now you have something to measure against and you can review things periodically to see if you are on track or if something needs to be adjusted.
This process or call it small business marketing plan, doesn’t need to take a lot of time but the benefits to your business can be huge. Having a plan will give you a lot more insights into your well oiled business machine or parts of your business that need some tweaking.