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Building a Small Business Marketing Plan

You’ve taken all the necessary steps to get your small business up and running. You have a quality product or service to offer and maybe you’ve started to build a loyal customer base. A solid foundation is key, but what steps should you be taking to ensure the continued growth of your business?

A well-structured marketing plan can play an integral role in securing the future success of your small business. Marketing encompasses sales promotions, advertising, product packaging and everything in between; so here are some steps that should help to simplify the planning process.

Defining Your Marketing Objective

Every small business wants to expand its customer base and increase revenue. But those broad goals are easier to achieve once you’ve built a clearly defined list of tangible objectives.

Is there a specific product you’d like to sell more of? Are you looking to boost eCommerce sales or bring new customers into your brick-and-mortar storefront? Maybe you’ve cornered the local market and you’d like to expand sales within a different geographic region. The rest of your marketing plan is going to be built around this objective, so it’s important to put time and effort into choosing the right objective for your small business.

Defining Your Target Market

Nobody knows your small business or its customers better than you. That knowledge is a useful tool when determining the ideal audience to market to. What are the demographics and psychographics of your customers? Insight into your customers makes it easier to build on your current customer base and potentially tap into new markets you hadn’t previously considered.

Some Factors to Consider

  • Age
  • Location
  • Income level
  • Interests

Constructing a Promotional Plan

Now that you’ve successfully defined your target market, you need to determine the best ways in which to effectively reach them. This may involve conducting market research and brainstorming.

Potential Promotional Outlets

  • Public Relations
  • Sales promos
  • Advertising
  • Print
  • Radio
  • Digital
    • Search engine ads
    • Social media
    • Email
    • Website banners
  • Television
Sale sign for business promotional plan

As a small business, you probably don’t have the $5.25 million required to pay for a 30-second Super Bowl ad spot. Fortunately, there are plenty of effective ways to spend your marketing dollars efficiently. And this is where your marketing budget will come in to play.

Meeting to set marketing budget

Creating the Ideal Marketing Budget

If your business makes under $5 million in yearly sales and your net profit margin ranges between 10 to 12%, The US Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8% of your gross revenue on marketing and advertising. This is a good rule of thumb; however, every small business is unique and creating an affordable and effective marketing budget is an intricate process. If you’re not an accounting whiz or a CPA, we strongly recommend working with one. This added expense is well worth it and will most likely save your business money in the long run.

Executing Your Marketing Plan and Tracking the Results

Putting your marketing plan into action goes hand-in-hand with tracking its results. Metrics pertaining to digital marketing efforts are available almost instantaneously. However, tracking the results from promotions like print advertisements and PR campaigns isn’t as easy. You may want to consider including a specific call to action within certain campaigns. For example, “mention this ad to receive 5% off on your purchase”. Just make sure all of your employees are aware of ongoing marketing campaigns so they know how to properly track the results.

The data gathered from your current marketing plan can also provide you with the information needed to make your next marketing endeavor an even bigger hit.

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