How to Prepare An Easy Marketing Plan for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, I imagine you would not have the time to prepare a detailed marketing plan. Some business owners might not have a plan at all. However, I personally think a marketing plan is necessary for the success of your business. But, you do not need a 10-pages-or-more plan. I always develop a plan with no more than 3 pages that highlights major key points. On a marketing strategy level, Tim Berry has suggested a framework of “thinking” on how to develop a marketing plan. Those steps are basic and not difficult. His suggestions should act like a guideline for you to start with. He encouraged you to think about what you want to achieve, your strengths and weaknesses, your unique offerings, your target markets, and how you want people to perceive about your brand.

To make it simple, I would also like to suggest that you incorporate your promotion plan in a marketing plan. This way, you will have everything you need in one place for the whole year. Jeff Williams provided a short list of what you need for promotions in his article – How to create a powerful promotional plan for your 50+ business.

Let’s put all of them into easy-to-develop steps, shall we? In your marketing plan, you might want to split into two main sections: an overall marketing plan and a promotion plan.

Section 1: Marketing Plan. You should at least have the following items in a plan.

  • Marketing Objectives: What do you want to achieve this year? It could be… To generate $ in revenue or To gain 10% market share.
  • Unique Selling Proposition: What make your offerings different from your competitors? Lower cost? Better distribution channels? Price? Products?
  • Target Markets: Please be clear about your target markets. You do not have a lot of resources to invest in mass market.
  • Communication Channels: Your target markets should determine how you plan to communicate with them. It will save you a lot of money if you are clear about who your customers are.
  • Budget: Many businesses determine their marketing budget as a percentage of the total revenue for a year. Alternatively, you might want to set a “ceiling” that your marketing spends would not be higher than $$$$.

Section 2: Promotion Plan. To prepare a promotion plan, you need to understand your business cycle or season. Basically, you need to know when to spend money to boost sales and when to save the money. If you own a restaurant, for example, you might want to spend the marketing money during slow periods e.g. in February or May. What you need in your plan can be as simple as a spreadsheet with the following fields:

  1. Month
  2. Launch date
  3. Promotion: e.g. buy 1 get 1 free
  4. Points of Difference: why should your customers be excited?
  5. Target Group
  6. Communication channels: this is very important. You could have the best promotion in the world but it would do nothing for you if your communication channels are ineffective.
  7. Promotion Budget
  8. Results: e.g. sales volume
  9. Return on Investment (ROI): [(sales volume-cost of promotion)/cost of promotion]. If your ROI is lower than bank saving interest rates, you should rethink about your promotions because it’s easier to get the same return by simply depositing the money in the bank!

Please trust me that if you could list all promotions you need for a year, you would feel so good! It creates confidence, it makes you think, and it helps you identify potential opportunities in advance. Ultimately, it helps you to be ahead of the game. Please also understand that this is an ongoing process. You will need to visit your plan to update it every now and then. Most importantly, you will need to track the results for two reasons: 1) if a promotion fails, you want to learn from it, and 2) if it is successful, you want to replicate it.

So, it’s not too hard, isn’t it? I believe many small business owners would already have a marketing plan in place. However, for those who don’t, why not start preparing it now.

Develop An Effective Marketing Plan To Ensure Your Business Success

A successful business is raised on the foundation of a great marketing plan. Selling is the most crucial and also the most difficult aspect of any business. Marketing of a product or service is real hard work and a good marketing plan is what ensures that the hard work bears fruit. It outlines how a business will go about attracting prospects, converting them into customers and retaining these customers in the long run.

Marketing plans and strategies are ever-evolving and have to be drawn up to fit the situation and its specific needs. They are required at whatever stage a business might be. Whether you are a start-up or an established business, you must have an effective marketing plan. To have a successful marketing plan, you will have to consider the following essential elements

  • Analyzing the Market: You cannot afford to operate on the basis of assumptions about the market and customers. You need to conduct a thorough analysis of the prevailing market environments, your strengths & weaknesses and the existing competition. Study your target customers and get in-depth knowledge of their needs and preferences. Based on this, you can determine your marketing objectives and position your product suitably.
  • Creating Marketing Messages & Determining Marketing Methods: Once your product profile matches the customer profile, you have to plan how to sell the product to the target market. You have to come up creative, meaningful and compelling messages that address the expectations and requirements of your audience. Select the most effective mediums of conveying these marketing messages. A variety of online and offline marketing tools are available. For best results, you will have to use a judicious mix of conventional and online marketing techniques.
  • Planning and Monitoring the Budget: A marketing budget planned to the smallest of details is very essential in a marketing plan. You have to be realistic and exact, and base the budget on your goals. You will also have to monitor the budget, track the expenses and analyze the spending on a budgeted and actual’ basis.
  • Evaluating and Reviewing the Plan: Decide a time-frame for your marketing plan and determine the metrics on which you will measure its success. Measure the results it produces and compare them with the expected success. This will help to know whether any corrections or modifications are required to make the plan more successful.

A strategic marketing plan is the secret behind every successful business. If you are not satisfied with the results of your marketing tactics, consult a professional marketing agency that can devise a targeted marketing plan to help improve your business and increase the sales. A reliable and comprehensive online local business directory is your best source for finding a capable and experienced marketing expert servicing your area.

Door Drops: Effective Marketing Communication

Did you know that 8 out of 10 adults are happy to receive a door drop leaflet?

Leaflet drops are perceived as an unfavourable form of advertising. But, the correct targeted door drop campaign can increase sales, increase confidence in your brand, and save you money.

But, I bet you have never considered such a campaign.

Cheaper

I bet you think a leaflet campaign is irrelevant in a digital age. I also bet you’ll be surprised when a recent survey revealed that leaflets help drive online sales, and are most productive when used alongside another media campaign.

In fact, the same study revealed that 89% of UK adults remember receiving a door drop leaflet. This data is inconceivable when only 80% of adults reported remembering a radio or TV advert.

Now, think, that is 9% of the UK population you are missing out on. When weighted against the UK’s population at the time of the study that is an extra 5,636,380 people that will remember your leaflet rather than a television or radio advert. That’s madness, right? Considering the amount of money that is poured into TV and Radio.

This statistic is even more prevalent since a radio and television advert is only effective when repeated. Or, that you have to hire an amazingly creative and expensive agency to produce a distinctly memorable advert, when such a cheap and vastly more effective alternative is available.

So, not only is your leaflet campaign going to be cheaper because of its simplicity, it’s also going to be cheaper because you won’t have to ensure its constant exposure.

It already forms a constant part of your customer’s life. As most customers keep relevant leaflets in a memorable place like a notice board. A unique opportunity is available, an opportunity that you can capitalise on. Presuming people keep their notice boards in their kitchen, think how much of family life is spent in the kitchen — in waking-hours — certainly more than any other room.

And, certainly more than the average amount of time your average person spends watching television.

Increase Sales and Confidence: Put your product in your customers hands

Not only is a leaflet cheaper, it is also considered a more trustworthy channel.

In a media environment that is bursting with ‘pop-ups’, unsolicited emails, and privacy issues. There has never been a better time to invest in a medium that is considered more trustworthy.

Offers and samples can add value to a brand as it creates a connection between you and your customer that are impossible through other communications.

For example, consumers are happiest to receive redeemable coupons for discounts at local shops and supermarkets. Or, free samples of household products.

By placing your product in your customer’s hands, either literally with a sample, or more arbitrarily by creating an opportunity for future sales with an offer. Door drops provide a tangible and trustworthy form of communication.

Leaflet advertising is not dead it is a flourishing and relevant from of marketing communication. It affords unique opportunities that can be unattainable for a small business. Especially in a media market that is over-saturated with shot-lived communications. A tangible communication channel is a welcomed relief for many consumers.