Small business owners (should) know that a strategic marketing plan is key to their online success. Whether you define a small business marketing plan internally, or hire a company like Cazbah to assist with online marketing solutions, you’re bound to encounter challenges when it comes time to execute the plan itself.
At Cazbah, we appreciate and respect small business owners. Having the courage to take the risks involved with starting and running a small business are only a small part of the numerous roles entrepreneurs fill on a daily basis.
A Typical Day In The Life Of A Business Owner
Every day is filled with responsibilities including; marketing, lead generation, increasing sales, customer service, payroll, human resources and accounting, to name a few. Handling urgent situations that arise with customers and vendors only increases the stress and frustration in what might be considered a ‘typical day.’
With all of that on your plate, marketing is usually the first thing that gets set aside and the area that receives the least amount of focus. When you actually do get time to focus on some sort of small business marketing plan, you naturally want to see an easy to implement plan in place as soon as possible. Most small businesses don’t have the appropriate staff in place to accomplish the objectives of a marketing plan and they struggle with finding the right people internally to delegate these sort of tasks to. Unfortunately, this is the way it is with most small businesses, in our experience. So what can you do about it?
What Can You Do About It?
Plenty. The critical starting point is the definition and documentation of goals. The establishment of goals for your small business doesn’t have to be a heady, academic exercise. It’s really quite simple. As a small business your primary aim should be to profitably grow (customers and revenue), year-over-year. Take a look at last year’s revenue numbers. What was your total revenue for the year? What percentage of growth would you like to see next year? 20%, 50%? Whatever that number is, that’s your starting point. Now write it down!
Have Defined Growth Goals
Having a defined growth goal will help you understand what you will need to do to, in all other parts of your business, to support that goal. How many new customers do you need to accomplish that goal? How much additional revenue do you expect to get from existing customers? What is the lifetime value of your typical customer? How many additional internal resources will you need to acquire (raw material, inventory, people) to support these goals? As you start to think through the dependencies of your primary growth goal, other goals will emerge for the different departments of your business.
Time For A Check Up
As the business owner, focusing on how your small business is performing against your primary goal is a good status check that you can perform on a regular basis. In doing so, it allows you to work through and understand the impact it is having on the other areas of their business. Distilling these questions down into a one-page marketing plan provides you with a great way to check the status of your progress. This should be the foundation of your small business marketing plan.
Utilizing a one page small business marketing plan helps you simplify your overall marketing strategy. This allows you to focus on a specific area, for example, and obtain specific information within a reasonable time frame.
Below is a one page marketing plan template that outlines, at a high level, the questions that need to be answered in order to gain clarity in your marketing efforts. Feel free to modify these questions, from time to time, to ensure that you have identified the appropriate areas of focus and that you are moving in the right direction.
After working through this process once or twice, you will start to feel more confident about your marketing efforts. You should also know that it doesn’t require a great deal of time or effort to get something like this accomplished.
Small Business Marketing Plan Template Questions
- Who is your ideal customer for this particular product/service?
- This is commonly referred to as your Buyer Persona. The better you understand your ideal customer, the better able you are to answer their questions and solve their problems.
- What can you tell me about this person?
- Get specific. What is their: Age, Gender, Location, Annual Revenue, Type of business they work for, Interests, Pain or Worry
- What value do you offer to this customer?
- This needs to be more than; high quality, reasonable prices and on-time delivery. These things are ‘table stakes’ that every business should be able to provide.
- What makes you different (from your competitors)?
- Do the research on your competitors and truthfully document your differences.
- Why should your customers care?
- What is it about what you do for your customers that ‘really’ matters?
- Describe what you want to be known for in this area (in-stock items, delivery, lead times, etc.)
- If you are having trouble here, ask a few existing customers what they think.
- Why do they need this product and or service?
- Stand in your customer’s shoes and try to understand how your product or service fits in to their life or business.
- What is your commitment to this customer?
- What are the expectations that you have set with your customers?
All of these questions will help you start to get your head around your small business marketing plan. They will also naturally lead you to start asking other questions like: How can I reach my customer? How do they like to receive information? Where do they go to find information about products or services like mine? This is where the specifics of your marketing plan will start to take shape. Understanding how to ‘reach’ your customers and doing so with the appropriate ‘frequency,’ are two of the principle tenets of a well thought out marketing plan.
Starting with your growth goals and working your way through these questions will get you far along the path to understanding and documenting your marketing plan. The One Page Marketing Plan questions are a simple way to obtain what you need to begin the process of documenting your marketing plan and achieving success with the small business.