The success of a small business can be attributed to effective marketing and proper planning. Below, has outlined some critical steps you can take when creating a successful marketing strategy & plan for your small business.
Step 1: Conduct Market Audit
It is important to take into account factors that affect your small business’s growth. These factors include but are not limited to: sales, marketing, and customer service. Examining the growth factors of your business can help you obtain answers to vital questions, such as: What are the strengths and unique qualities of my business? Who are my customers, how loyal are they and what do they value the most? Who is your competition and what kinds of marketing activities do they engage in? All of these questions and more can be answered by conducting a marketing audit to evaluate the growth factors of your business.
Step 2: Perform a Market Analysis
Once a marketing audit is complete, it is time to evaluate the “answers” gathered and perform a market analysis. You must define and isolate areas of strengths and weaknesses of the various sales and marketing components of your small business. Once strengths and weaknesses are defined, you can determine if new marketing strategies are required of if current strategies should be refined.
Step 3: Identify Marketing Objectives
When identifying marketing objectives you should highlight the broad goals you wish to achieve. Some common marketing objectives include: changing the way customers perceive your brand, expanding into a new geographic market, seeking out and securing new customers, and increasing the average size of an order.
Step 4: Develop Marketing Strategies & Tactics
Each marketing strategy possesses numerous potential tactics and is carefully developed for each objective. For instance, a Market Share & Expansion Strategy is used to develop aggressive sales & marketing tactics to expand your market. These tactics include: consumer and/or trade promotions(e.g. coupons, BOGO’s, contest, special offers, etc..), direct mailing to include incentive, securing additional distributors and/or salesforce, and licensing your brand to other product categories.
Step 5: Outline Marketing Activities
Lastly, a marketing plan is created detailing each activity (step) to be implemented for each tactic. Included in the marketing plan are: completion dates (deadlines) for each step, individual(s) and/or groups responsible for specific activity, and detailed costs versus budget for each step.
By implementing a successful marketing strategy & marketing plan your small business can benefit immensely.