Imagine two internet merchants. Handmade, personalized greeting cards may be created using a combination of calligraphy, watercolor, and woodcuts. For what they provide, their costs are very reasonable, and their clients enjoy the work they produce. “Small Business Marketing Plan”.
However, this store has no marketing plan and depends on word-of-mouth advertising to promote its cards. The second seller, on the other hand, bulk-purchases prefabricated cards and sells them on eBay for a 50% profit.
No personalization is offered, and the cost is very exorbitant in comparison to other generic cards of a similar kind. However, the second seller has invested heavily in its marketing efforts, employing email lists, social media postings, and digital marketing tools to connect with prospective buyers for its cards. Which business do you imagine makes more revenue?
A lot of small enterprises depend on their ability to attract attention to survive or fail. A business with a great product but no marketing plan may fail, whereas a competitor with a subpar product may succeed thanks to outstanding marketing efforts.
What is small business marketing?
“Small business marketing” refers to using every marketing discipline and channel at your disposal to promote your services or products.
The fundamentals of marketing apply regardless of how large or small your business is. Of course, compared to a corporate goliath, a small business often has less funding and resources.
How to develop a small business marketing plan
When you're prepared to start a small business marketing campaign, it will be beneficial to focus your efforts on the following eight key tasks:
1. Set measurable goals
The goal of your marketing campaign should be crystal clear before you launch it. Do you want to grow revenue, attract new clients, or increase brand awareness? Which marketing strategies and tactics are best for your business will be determined in part by your marketing goals.
2. Get to know your target market
What do your consumers want? Who are they? Think about their hobbies, geography, gender, and age. The better you understand your target customer's demographics, the easier it will be to create a marketing message that resonates.
Market research is one of the finest ways to know your target market. Surveys, focus groups, or competition analysis may all be used for this.
3. Describe your products and services in your own terms
Start your marketing efforts by writing descriptions of the products and services you provide. Consider the advantages they provide or the issues they resolve for your target audience. Write about your services with sincerity and consider what makes them exceptional. This will provide a structure for how you will market your product to the general public.
4. Assess the competition
There is a significant possibility that you will have competition unless you create the product from scratch. Observe how they promote their products.
- Have they dug into social media marketing?
- Are they mostly using digital marketing tools?
- What language do they use to describe their products?
- Do they engage in influencer marketing, where a famous online celebrity endorses their products?
Pay equal attention to what they’re selling and how they’re selling it.
5. Determine your unique sales proposition
Your company's USP, or unique selling proposition, is what sets it apart from the competition. Determine how you will set yourself apart in the eyes of your target market now that you are aware of your competitors. You could outperform your rivals on either price or product quality.
6. Set your marketing budget
List all of the costs involved in executing your marketing plan, and then think about how to effectively distribute your budget among them. You'll probably require staff, equipment, and a budget for advertising. A budget for attending a live event or allocating complimentary products to influencers may also be appropriate.
7. Plan and begin your marketing campaigns
Now that you have a budget and a marketing plan, it's time to organize and start your campaigns.
These campaigns can be varied, using a blend of traditional advertising (radio, TV, print ads, billboards), social selling (person-to-person engagement on social media platforms), paid digital advertising (web-based ads, paid social media posts, influencer marketing), and content marketing, depending on your budget (blog posts, podcasts, explainer videos).
Any of the following elements may be included in a lean, startup marketing plan:
- Brand strategy. This makes a response to the questions: What is the identity of your business, for who is it there, and what distinguishes it from rivals? This serves as the basis for all marketing strategies since it establishes how your company fits into the market.
- Content. This is the message that your company wants to convey about itself, its products, and maybe the whole globe. A blog post, a billboard, or an Instagram post may all be considered content.
- Advertising. This is one method of spreading your brand and content across the globe. It can include pushing social media postings to attract new audiences, bidding on strategic keywords as part of a marketing plan, or paying for a pre-roll ad spot on a podcast.
8. Track results and make adjustments
Not all marketing campaigns are successful. Be aware of which marketing messages are well received and which are not, as well as which methods are most effective, and be prepared.
Marketing is not something you can do once and then leave alone. It calls for ongoing monitoring of important indicators and modifications as you get to understand your target audience's media consumption patterns and purchasing tendencies.
11 strategies for small businesses marketing
Business for small and local enterprises has difficulties that do not apply to large corporations. To successfully navigate the unique waters of your next campaign, use these marketing tactics.
1. Use content marketing to build organic website traffic
Although creating content marketing purposes takes a lot of effort up front, once you do it, it may last a lifetime. By creating really helpful films about your product or sector that appeal to your target market, you may gain a following on YouTube.
You may increase organic inbound traffic to your website by writing blog entries that respond to queries people are looking for on Google.
2. Word of mouth is your friend
When you first start and don't have many clients, ask your family and friends to help you spread the word about what you do.
Word-of-mouth advertising depends on natural encounters and discussions with or about your business, such as those that take place in person or on social media (which is probably your biggest source of word-of-mouth advertising).
You may benefit from the fact that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family by increasing your social media presence, launching a hashtag campaign related to your brand, or hiring friends to promote your company. This statistic comes from Nielson.
3. Create a unified image for your brand
You may still use your internal resources to give your company a uniform image even if you don't have the budget to engage a professional brand consultant. This contains a slogan, a defined description of your products, a logo, a color scheme, and a collection of fonts.
This procedure will assist you with integrated marketing efforts, where the objective is to have a consistent appearance and message throughout all of your marketing and distribution platforms, in addition to creating a sense of professionalism.
4. Build an email marketing list
Email marketing is an inexpensive way of connecting with lots of people who have previously shown interest in what you do. By adding a sign-up form to your website or blog to collect subscribers, you may start developing your list.
You may also entice people to sign up for your email list by offering them a gift, like a coupon code. You may start sending out monthly newsletters or marketing emails as soon as you have a few hundred people on your email list.
5. Invest in search engine optimization (SEO)
Making your website more visible on search engine results pages is known as search engine optimization (SEO). This is crucial as it may increase the amount of organic traffic to your website.
You must do keyword research to learn what people are looking for in order to optimize your website for search engines. Additionally, you must ensure that your website is intuitive to use and well organized. You also need to provide high-quality content that speaks to your target audience.
6. Run pay-per-click (PPC) ads
You are charged a fee each time a user clicks on your ad in PPC advertising. When you target a certain term, this may be a powerful way to increase traffic to your website. PPC advertisements may be shown on sites including Facebook, Instagram, and Google.
7. Social selling
Using social selling strategies, small business owners may create a network and a connection of trust with their clientele, both current and potential.
Building a trustworthy connection with your customers is more important than trying to sell them products, since this may ultimately result in sales. You largely do this by encouraging conversations and interactions with you (and, thus, your brand) on social media or at unofficial social events.
8. Public relations campaigns
This is an endeavor to acquire media coverage for your company or product. You might issue a press release to encourage a news organization to write about your business and potentially interview you or your staff.
However, news interest in your brand might arise from a number of other sources outside of a press release, such as, for instance, a campaign going viral.
9. Customer acquisition
Customer acquisition is at the bottom of the marketing funnel. You are aware of your target market and have their attention; all you need to do is move them from consideration to purchase.
Using A/B testing, you can compare the effectiveness of two different page designs or messages on two different customers. Customers have a variety of payment alternatives, including things like Shop Pay and Apple Pay, so they don't have to enter their credit card information. You should make sure your checkout experience is easy, streamlined, and secure.
10. Customer retention
Retention is the act of maintaining a customer once they become a client, preferably by getting them to use your product or service again.
Marketers use re-engagement strategies such as email newsletters and push notifications. These serve to remind customers of your company's activities and often include an invitation to take action, like taking advantage of a current promotion.
By enhancing customer service—decreasing response times to inquiries or guaranteeing that customers communicate with people, not machines—you can also enhance the interactions that customers have with your company. Gaining new customers—ideally, customers who will be devoted for many years—is the ultimate objective of a small business's marketing efforts.
11. Referrals and loyalty programs
By offering them a reward for doing so, you can entice customers to recommend your company or product to others. Think of it as rewarding a friend for introducing you to a new contact. Customers who have already purchased from you are rewarded for their loyalty via loyalty programs.
Both of these programs may be handled digitally with a loyalty program app or with physical cards or points—think of how many points you earn at a coffee shop for each visit. You may exchange points for rewards or even cash back. Hard data can tell you when a person is in danger of churning, or when they are most likely to quit your company for another, by observing their behavior.
Small Business Marketing FAQ
A combination of physical and online marketing initiatives that you will carry out over a set period should be part of your marketing action plan. Set realistic objectives for each task and keep track of your progress to make any necessary adjustments to your plan.
A small business does not need a marketing plan, but one may keep your marketing efforts structured and on track. To establish one, you may either engage a small marketing team internally or work with a marketing agency.
1. Research your target market
2. Set marketing goals
3. Develop your brand
4. Create marketing materials
5. Plan your marketing budget
6. Create a marketing calendar
7. Measure and track results
1. Company or brand