Building Your Small Business Marketing Plan
So you’re ready for your small business to harness the power of the Internet, but you’re not quite sure where to start. Websites, social media, email marketing – with so many channels to choose from, getting your business online can seem overwhelming.
First things first – you need a plan. Specifically, a marketing plan that describes the strategy you will use and the actions you will take to market your products and services to potential customers. Once this plan is in place, you can then move on to the task of deploying your marketing message online.
A well crafted marketing plan that’s based on solid research and analysis and includes important details is a valuable tool for small businesses. Although the exact content will of course vary, the components of a marketing plan are generally as follows:
- Introduction/Mission/Vision Statement
- Situational Analysis
- Who are your competitors and what products and services do they offer?
- What are your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?
- What is the current political, economic, social, and technological climate?
- Where are the opportunities for growth?
- Target Market
- What segments of the market will your business target?
- What are your customers’ needs and wants?
- What would be your company’s ideal customer?
- Marketing Strategy
- What products and services will you offer?
- What will your pricing strategy be?
- What sales channels will you use? – brick-and-mortar stores, online sales, etc.
- What is your business’s Unique Value Proposition? Why should potential customers buy from you?
- Marketing Tactics
- What marketing tools/channels will you use?
- Public relations
- Direct marketing
- Internet marketing
- Budget and Action Plan
- How will you measure results?
- How will you decide where to make improvements?
Upon completion of your marketing plan, you’ll be able to start implementing your strategy and market your business in earnest. It’s also important to keep in mind that your marketing plan should not be set in stone – things change, especially when it comes to technology, and so it’s vital to revisit your marketing plan every so often so that your goals and strategy can be adapted to the changing environment.