When you are developing small business marketing plan all the pieces like branding, website, content, social media, networking and your sales process need to fall into place. This guide outlines the first five key elements of a fully developed small business marketing plan so that you can build one of your own. This is the first part in a three-part series of articles to help you understand the key steps for an effective small business marketing plan. All of these elements need to work together in order for your marketing strategy to actually work. If you are missing one of these elements, it's likely you are missing out on clients and sales.
#1 Current SituationBefore starting any planning, you need to understand your current situation so your Marketing has the right messages and you know where your Business is at now. This should include looking at your:
- Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT);
- Customer Sales to find repeat and the most profitable customers;
- Developing an ideal customer profile or buyer persona;
- Keyword research;
- Google analytics reports; and
- Top three competitors.
#2 Creating a Sales PlanThere are several key questions you need to ask at this stage:
- What is your sales process?
- How do you keep track of all the prospects in the sales pipeline?
- What are your Key Markets?
- Who are your Key target accounts?
- Which companies do you want to target?
- Who are the key decision makers within those key accounts?
- What referral strategies do you have in place?
- What alliances and referral sources do you have in place?
#3 Brand StrategyWhen developing your brand strategy there are some questions that need to be addressed:
- What does your brand represent?
- What's your brand story?
- What visuals are you going to use to describe the brand?
- What tone and style?
#4 Lead Generation StrategyThe first thing you need for a Lead Generation strategy is to understand is how many leads you need at the different stages of your sales funnel. For example;
- Win 10 new customers per month you may need to
- Prepare 30 Proposals per month and
- Meet with 50 new prospects per month and
- Contact 150 potential leads per month to secure these meetings
- “Inbound” lead generation strategy where you attract visits to your website via SEO, paid online ads and/or Social media with ongoing content creation and distribution to convert the visitors to leads by offering a piece of helpful content that help them along their "buyer's journey" and then follow through on opportunities; and/or an
- "Outbound" lead generation strategy where you identify target industries, clients and contact and reach “out” to them via email, mail or call initially and then follow through on opportunities.
#5 Content StrategyThese days the worst thing you can do is only publish content once to your website and never update or add more content. So, in terms of content creation you need to think of:
- What content does my prospective buyer need at each stage (Awareness, Consideration or Decision) of their Buyer's Journey;
- What format should the content be in:
- Visual content like photos, infographics and video;
- Written content like checklists, brochures, blogs, e-books, articles and guides;
- Audio content like interviews or podcasts
- How will the content be distributed – Blogs, emails, social media posts, downloads, sales presentations, webinars, podcasts.