Marketing plans for small business or in fact any business should be dynamic, easy to follow and easy to amend if market conditions change. If your marketing plan is well thought out and kept simple then you will find that marketing your small business is more effective, even if market conditions become tougher.
The first step to developing your marketing plan is to develop your marketing objectives. To make it simple just select 2 objectives that you really want to achieve with your customers. To do this you will need to make sure you have identified your most valuable customers particularly if you are just starting out in your business. Remember to make your marketing objectives realistic and always align them to your sales and financial objectives. The words to use in setting marketing objectives are verbs i.e. words of action such as gain, reduce, maintain, increase etc.
If you are starting a business then your marketing objectives may be:
Gain 50 customers by the end of the year
Gain 10% trial of product X by the end of the year
If you have an existing business, then your marketing objectives may be:
Increase the purchase frequency (i.e. the number of times customers will buy your product in a year) to 4 times a year by end December 2008
Increase the average transaction value from $50 to $60 by end July 2008
The next step is to select your marketing strategy, which is your overall game plan to achieve the marketing objectives you have set. You actually need to set the marketing strategy before you select your marketing tactics as this will save you money and time.
If you are starting a business and your marketing objective is to gain 50 customers, then your overall marketing strategy may be one of attracting new profitable customers to your business and the area(s) you may want to focus on is service delivery or the product you offer. If you are an existing business and your marketing objective is to increase the average transaction value then your marketing strategy may be one of expansion of business with the customer. The key area of focus may be one of communication with your customers or perhaps pricing.
Now comes the fun part, selecting the marketing tactics you are going to implement over the coming months. Remember you do not have to spend a lot of money to get your desired results. The key is to select marketing tactics that fit in with your marketing strategy. If you are a new business and your marketing strategy is one of attraction with the key focus service delivery then your marketing tactics may include implementing a customer service program or PR campaign highlighting service delivery.
If you are an existing business and your marketing strategy is one of expansion and the key focus is pricing, then suitable marketing tactics may be a free trial of your product with another in your range or multi pack promotions.
Effective marketing plans, no matter what your budget is, enable you to maximize your marketing spend and enjoy success in your market. Put simply a marketing plan enables you to identify what needs to be done now and in the future to drive your business’s performance.