A marketing plan in 2020 can be an essential toolset that helps you grow your business. Without marketing, people might not hear of what your business has to offer and without a plan, well, its just a dream.
Many small business owners tend to find marketing plans somewhat overwhelming which is why we have prepared this short, no non-sense guide to help you create your very own small business marketing plan.
Before we start we should quickly go over what is a marketing plan and why do you actually need one.
Just like a business plan gives you a clearer idea of your business in general, a marketing plan helps you define your marketing strategy and execution plan. It helps you build markers to understand what you are trying to achieve and more importantly how.
It will also help you build a reference guide which you can quickly and easily refer to when working on your marketing efforts whilst helping you budget your business’ finances easier.
Do not aim for a perfect marketing plan, like everything else you can iterate and perfect it over a longer period of time. The most important thing is to start. Having said that, let’s dive right into it.
Step 1: Define your market.
Defining your market is perhaps the single most important step any business owner or marketing person needs to do. It can spell the difference between a small business taking off and tumbling to the ground. This applies even to those businesses who serve a large market segment with a product that seemingly applies to everyone.
Why? Because a marketing plan needs to target someone; your target market. It is also likely that your specific product will appeal more to a specific market; understand it and you will be on your way to marketing stardom.
Action Plan: Build a persona that personifies your target market.
Step 2: Write down your mission statement
If you do not know where you are going, every path you take will take you there. Understanding what your business is trying to achieve is important if you want your business to achieve something. Your mission statement can also include your core values which specify how you want to achieve your mission. Have these two, and you will be able to move much faster and achieve success that much quicker.
Action Plan: Write down your mission statement and core values.
Step 3: Define your Unique Selling Point
In 2020, it is highly unlikely that you’re selling a product or a service that nobody is. Even if it is unique in every way, you are still competing with alternatives; if you’re the only restaurant in town, people might still decide to eat at home and go watch a movie at the cinema instead. Understand what is unique about you and why customers should part with their hard-earned cash to buy a product or service from you.
Action Plan: Define your Unique Selling Point (USP)
Step 4: Understand what you are dealing with
Nobody, let alone a business operates in a vacuum. As such, it is very important for you to understand the climate and environment in which you operate. Thankfully there are many tools that allow you to understand this in a structured manner including SWOT and PESTLE analysis.
The objective of a SWOT analysis is the identification of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal. Opportunities and threats are external. PESTLE, on the other hand, helps you identify factors that can affect you in multiple areas including Political, Environmental, Social, Technological, Legal, and Economic.
If you can’t think of anything…think harder; there is always something lurking, you need to suss it out to cover all of your bases.
Action Plan: Draw up a SWOT and PESTLE analysis
Step 5: Define your marketing goals
Marketing needs to deliver results however you need to know which kind of results you are expecting. There are many ways a marketing plan can deliver success such as awareness, sign-ups, likes, and sales.
Not all marketing plans have to drive sales, however, you need to understand what it is that you are trying to accomplish and how it fits in within the larger plan for your business.
Action Plan: Define your marketing targets.
Step 6: Build your funnel
A marketing funnel is the process through which a potential customer thinking about needing your product or service becomes an actual customer. It is called a funnel because more people think about needing your company’s service or products than actually buying them.
The idea is to make this funnel journey as easy as possible so that more people become your customers. Put yourself in their shoes and follow their journey; how do they search for your services, what drives them to choose a product?
Is your website easy and intuitive to use? How about the checkout process? List the process down and think of ways to optimise the journey.
Action Plan: Draw up your sales funnel and seek ways to optimise it.
Step 7: Define a budget
Understanding how much you can afford to spend in getting customers is important when it actually comes to implementing your plan. It ensures you do not spend too much whilst giving you the insight into which strategies work and which ones do not. Then you can focus your money and energy into what works, driving sales up and with it the success of your business.
Action Plan: Set a budget and track those numbers.
There’s an old saying that says no plan survives contact with the enemy. This also applies to marketing plans in 2020 which might need to be altered and tweaked as you learn from the implementation of your strategy.
Remember, there are no failures, only lessons learned. The important thing is to list them down so that you can get a clearer picture of what works and what does not as you strive on your way to success.