Why should you develop a small business marketing plan?
A small business marketing plan is essential for your business’ operations and can help drive growth and bolster revenue. For busy SMEs, it can easily drop to the bottom of the priority list. However, it’s vital to creating new opportunities and getting your company in front of the right people.
To get started, you’ll need a well-considered small business marketing plan to help show what you need to do to promote your business, attract customers and drive sales. With all of this laid out, you can start to plot your approach and start hitting your KPIs.
There are many benefits to marketing for small businesses. If you’re looking for inspiration, have a read through our list of why you need to develop a small business marketing plan today.
To define your brand
Marketing adds value by helping to develop a brand. It’s what makes your business stand out from your competitors. A powerful brand makes your business memorable, creates a respectable reputation and instils trust in your customers. Your brand can represent your values and the standards you set, which you can then express through your marketing.
To share business goals
Although marketing can help grow revenue by 19%, according to research by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), it’s all too often undervalued. A fundamental business function, marketing delivers long-term value and an effective plan can have a real impact on your business’ income, so putting one together is a no-brainer.
To find your audience
To sell your products and services successfully, you really need to understand your customers. The more you can learn about them, the better your chance of connecting with them. Building a database with customer information, such as age, location, interests and occupation, can help you profile your ideal customer. Armed with this powerful knowledge, you can search for trends and patterns to focus on the audience that’ll make a difference to your business.
To find your niche
Marketing a small business is much easier if you can show how your product or service differs from the rest of the marketplace. Identifying the essence of your business to pinpoint your unique selling proposition (USP) should form a vital part of your marketing plan. Take the time to clearly outline the benefits, as customers want to know how your business will help them and it can help you stand out from the competition.
To form strategic alliances
While thinking about small business marketing ideas, remember that opportunities also come from forging partnerships or alliances with complementary businesses that are targeting the same market but with different products or services. Working together on a project can help foster strong relationships and stimulate new ideas, too. Be shrewd when looking to collaborate and aim to connect your business with a company of the same calibre as you, as this will help reinforce your image.
To measure success
As you try different marketing activities, such as developing a professional brochure to hand out to potential customers or testing out a new social media platform, you need to measure the success of your efforts. One of the most useful small business marketing tips is to put processes in place to track and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. This will help focus your energies on the methods that bring you the best results and more easily prove the financial return on investment (ROI).
To raise awareness
Keeping your business in the front of your customers’ mind should be a key focus of your marketing plan. Raising awareness of your brand, its products, services and benefits, will make you instantly recognisable to customers. They may not buy immediately, but creating that level of trust and confidence will mean they’ll remember your brand in the future.
To build business assets
Creating an email list or social media page can prove a powerful business asset in the long-term for your small business. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, offer the chance for customers to connect directly with you and give you a way to promote your products. Building a social list will give you an important avenue to increase your sales in the future and improve customer relations.
To determine metrics
Marketing is an investment. It’s important you create a budget to make sure you reach the goals outlined in your marketing plan. Understanding your metrics and, for example, knowing your lifetime customer value (LCV) or how much your average customer is worth, means you can easily work out how much you can spend to get each new sale. This information will enable you to achieve profitability, grow your business and increase sales.
To specify marketing methods
Depending on your target market, you’ll need to decide which marketing methods you’re going to use to promote your product or service and why. You may want to create a presence at trade fairs and exhibitions with a customised roller banner, deliver impact at a key meeting with a professionally printed presentation folder or shoot to the top of Google with SEO.
To identify opportunities
It’s important to keep your eyes open for potential growth opportunities. You can do this using the SWOT analysis strategic planning tool. This useful method will help you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of any marketing scheme. It will also outline the possible external opportunities and threats open to you. Address each section separately and combine the information to create a powerful tool to support your marketing plan.
To manage change
To help your business progress effectively, it’s worthwhile reviewing your marketing plan on a regular basis. This is to check that you’re on target and make any necessary revisions and adjustments if circumstances change. Alterations to business performance, customer behaviour and the economic climate will all impact your marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to tackle changes head on and adapt to survive.
Marketing plays an important role in every business. The value it adds in developing your brand, supporting your business goals and contributing to your bottom line simply cannot be overlooked. It can take time to find out what marketing methods work best for your business. Developing a plan will enable you to make intelligent and informed decisions that’ll help your business grow and prosper.