Considerations for Small Business Marketing: The Marketing Plan

So how’s that marketing plan shaping up? It doesn’t matter if you are just starting your business or more than a few years in – if you want to grow strategically in an managed and controlled way you need to have some direction. Good news, you already have all the answers – bad news, you might not have the foundation and tools to take what’s in your head and turn it into a full blown strategy that makes sense to you and your staff. *Cue the drum roll! We can help organize that brain clutter – just try to document it on something other than a napkin or scrap printer paper. Are you ready? Let’s GO!

Choice OMG’s 10 step marketing assessment to get you thinking in 2019 terms throughout the marketing plan process!

Generals talking strategy
It’s important to play things out once or twice to cover your basis.
  1. Pour a stiff drink. KIDDING! Review where you are currently at in your business cycle and where you are positioned against competitors?
    • What Are you in your infancy stage?
    • Are you reaching a milestone anniversary yet, you aren’t in celebration mode?
    • Is your business making money or bleeding out dollar bills?
    • Are your competitors successful, you have a better product or service YET they are kicking your butt?
  2. So we’ve established where your business is at – and likely some problem areas, successes and goals. Next what kind of time and money can you commit to getting to your next step. Your mindset needs to be “short term pain for long term gain.” Be realistic.
    • What’s your budget?
    • What’s your proposed timeline?
    • How are you going to measure the success of more than one implemented tool?
  3. What’s your biggest hurdle right now? At this point, you know where you are at, you know where you want to go and have some idea as to how you might get there but let’s get proactive with possible curve balls and pitfalls. Asses this from a variety of different areas and figure out how you are going to tackle these IN CASE you are presented with them.
  4. Who is your audience, what are they doing and why should they like you [er, your business]? Don’t just THINK like your customer, BE your customer. Mentally go through a typical day of your customer, and figure out why or why not they are visiting your physical or online location. How many clicks to get to the shopping cart? Is your online store targeting a digital UNSAVVY demographic group? Is your physical location on the wrong part of the city?
  5. What’s your current reach – how are people learning about you right now? This is big, like big, BIG! You can’t just throw together a business and pray to the money gods to shower customers with thick wallets your way. No. You need to GO TO THE PEOPLE! What are people hearing about you – or are they hearing anything at all?
  6. What’s your competitive edge? Part of the very first question was to assess your position in the marketplace. But a better question is where do you WANT to be positioned in the marketplace. A part of creating value to your customers is making sure you are actually doing so, and also letting them know that fun fact in your communication and marketing materials.
  7. Are you creating impact and making noise with social media? Well first off…are you on social media? Legitimizing your business with a professional website and actively engaging on social media platforms tells your customers you are invested in creating an online presence and hopefully relationship with current and prospect clients. This is an opportunity to win customers over with your professional charm!
  8. Are you fully taking advantage of online analytics? Learning about SEO? Algorithms? Reputation software? If we’ve lost you and you’re cutting and pasting some of these words into Google we aren’t offended. BUT, we do highly recommend you learn about how your customers are interacting with your website, what your online reputation is and what online reviews are saying about you as well…is your website doing you more harm than good when it comes to luring clients in or frightening them away?
  9. Make a list of tasks, delegate and outsource. If you are a startup and your team is small – divide and conquer because we know you are probably ‘ballin’ on a budget’. If you are a mature company that needs a marketing and brand refresh, you can afford to outsource the heavy lifting and then delegate the maintain pieces to staff. If you are a growing company – this might be the time where you invest in hiring a marketing specialist or manager to run with your ideas and create structure around your marketing plan and strategy. Regardless of wherever you are in your business stage – you can’t do it all so figure out a way to get help where you need it.
  10. REVIEW, ADJUST, REVIEW, ADJUST! Nothing is carved in stone. If something isn’t work and you see that it’s sucking you out of money with no pay off? Ditch the money vampire and move on. Being a risk taker might require some patience but if there is no positive ROI, move on.

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