I wrote a post recently on why your small business needs a marketing strategy. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out and then come back over here.
Today I’m going to be explaining why your small business needs a marketing plan. Firstly let me start by saying that whilst a marketing strategy and a marketing plan go hand in hand, they are two separate things.
A marketing strategy is the WHAT, WHO and WHY and a marketing plan is the HOW. You can’t define how you are going to market your small business if you don’t know your business goals, your target market, your packages or your competitors. Which is why you need to work on your marketing strategy first and then use this as a basis to form your marketing plan.
Simply put, your marketing strategy focuses on WHAT you want to achieve in your business and a marketing plan details HOW you’ll achieve those goals.
What is the purpose of a Marketing Plan?
The purpose of a marketing plan is to clearly show the steps and actions that will be taken in order to achieve business goals. For example, a business goal might be to increase turnover by 20% that year. The marketing plan will detail how the company is going to achieve that by stating the activity and budget required in order to meet that goal.
What should a Marketing Plan include?
Your marketing plan should essentially include three things:
1 | Marketing Avenues
Marketing avenues also known as the marketing mix is a combination of marketing methods used by a company in order to grow their audience and influence consumers to purchase products or services. Your marketing mix may be completely different to someone else’s marketing mix depending on your business goals and target audience. Examples to think of when deciding what to include in your marketing activity includes content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, events, digital advertising, SEO and so much more.
Whilst I don’t recommend only focusing on one marketing activity, if you only have time to focus on one then I would always recommend it’s content marketing, especially for online service based businesses. Doing content marketing correctly will over time increase your audience and build their trust therefore leading them to purchase from you. It will also naturally help with your SEO even if you don’t do any of the other SEO methods.
2 | Marketing Goals
Let’s go back to our business goal to increase turnover by 20% this year. Your marketing goal needs to reflect that. For example, a marketing goal might be to start a Facebook group and grow it by 1000 members in the next six months.
You need to ensure that your marketing goals fit the SMART acronym – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. The above goal for increasing your Facebook group by 1000 members in the next six months fits this model.
I go into the SMART acronym in more detail in my FREE 5-day marketing strategy e-course.
3 | Marketing Budget
So you’ve worked out the avenues that you need to use in order to meet your business goals and you’ve decided on the marketing goals that will help reach them, now it’s time to work out a marketing budget.
One of the best things about marketing is that it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money but it will take up a lot of time, especially in the beginning when you are just starting a business or launching a new service or product.
One thing you need to decide on is whether you want to spend less money and more of your own time on marketing or whether you want to hire someone to do it for you leaving you to do what you do best in your business.
Take SEO for example. SEO is an overwhelming subject for the best of us but I bet if you took the time to read about it via reputable sources then chances are you will start to get your head around it. But that could take days, or weeks or even months. By hiring an SEO specialist, they will do the work for you in the background whilst you get on with your day to day activities. But this costs money.
Take some time to work out how much of a monthly or yearly budget you have for marketing and then work out where you feel the money would best be spent and put it into a simple marketing budget table or spreadsheet.
Can the marketing strategy and marketing plan be one document?
Most definitely yes! The marketing strategy and marketing plan can be all as one document however you might want to use spreadsheets to plan things such as your marketing budget or content calendar.
I hope this has helped clarify what you need to include in your marketing plan.
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About Fleurir Creative
Fleurir Creative is a brand design and marketing strategy studio for online service-based businesses. I work with creatives, coaches and consultants to define their brand, increase their visibility and grow their business online. My signature offering, The Flourish Experience, is a three-month branding and marketing experience for women in business who are ready to grow a successful brand.
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