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How to build a Small Business Marketing Plan - Purple Penguin Marketing
Struggling to write a Small Business Marketing Plan? This is the blog for you. 7 key stages to help you build a successful Small Business Marketing plan
Small Business Marketing Strategy, Small Business Marketing, Digital Marketing, Marketing for Small Businesses, Marketing Agency, Digital Agency
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How to build a Small Business Marketing Plan

Struggling to write a Small Business Marketing Plan? This is the blog for you. 7 key stages to help you build a successful Small Business Marketing plan

Whether you’ve just started your journey as an entrepreneur or you’ve been at it for a while, you won’t have been able to escape the massive rise of Digital Marketing or its impact on your business.

We at Purple Penguin Marketing have been supporting Small Businesses for many years and know a thing or two about How to Build a Small Business Marketing Plan. Every business is different but there are some key stages and steps that everyone should take. So, we’re pleased to bring you our latest rapid read on Marketing for your Small Business – your personal secret weapon in the fight for growth…

Step One – Get Prepared

Before you unleash your creative prowess the first step is get all of your accounts, sales numbers and performance data in one place. Take a good look over your own performance and what’s actually working for you and for your sales team.

If like many businesses you’ve ditched the face to face sell for pure e-commerce, then take stock of ALL of your product lines and their performance as well as their PPS (Profit Per Sale).

One step that many businesses fail to take at planning stage is to actually consult their customers, on and offline. Take time to talk with your customers about what’s on their mind, how you help them and what they’d like to see more of.

Step Two – Get clear on your Marketing Objectives

Often when we talk to businesses about supporting their Marketing Objectives the goals can be pretty vague or broad. Getting really clear on your objectives is crucial to helping your Small Business Marketing Plan succeed.

Instead of planning for £300k turnover or £200k growth try “Goal 1 – Achieve £50k turnover from product group Z” or “Goal 2 – Grow revenue from the Professional Service Sector to £100k by acquiring 4 significant new clients”

Getting specific and absolutely clear on what you’re trying to achieve from your Marketing Plan will give you great direction (and accountability) later down the line.

Step Three – Get Geared Up for the fight

Once you know what you’re really trying to achieve it’s time to get real on who you’re up against. You may be incredibly forward thinking and have created a product or service that simply doesn’t exist. If you are then all you have to do is tell everybody – Job Done! Most businesses though have a group of competitors or at the very least will be competing with other businesses for the same revenue.

Knowing clearly where you win and lose will give you a core advantage as you plan for successful marketing. Think about the following as prompter for your own SWOT (Strength/ Weakness/ Opportunities/ Threats) analysis;

  • Where do you sell? Everywhere/ Geographic location?
  • How do you sell? Online/ In person/ A mix? Is it direct or indirect?
  • Who do and could you be competing with? Be sure to include internal teams as a competitor.
  • What’s your price point? Are you cheaper, more expensive, about the same? Price can be a key differentiator but doesn’t always win the day.
  • What’s your real difference? What makes you special and unique? Your people, delivery times, amazing good looks :p Whatever it is use it to your advantage.

It can be all too easy to dismiss this stage but being fully prepared to outsmart the competition is more than worth the effort.

Step Four – Get your Team in Place

Ok – shameless plug – we work with businesses of all sizes as both a fully outsourced marketing department and alongside internal teams where they need us most. Getting your team in place is less about trawling through hundreds of C.V.’s for that perfect candidate and more about getting the skills you need as effectively as possible.

The right mix of skills is more important than ever in building your Small Business Marketing plan. Let’s think back to our example from earlier “Goal 2 – Grow revenue from the Professional Service Sector to £100k by acquiring 4 significant new clients”.  Skills needed? LinkedIn Advertising, Lead Generation, Landing Page creation and Pre-qualification – not easy to find in one person, right?

Or “Goal 1 – Achieve £50k turnover from product group Z” if you’re purely selling online then you’ll need Search, Copy writing (for ads), Google Shopping and Data Analysis skills – again tough skills to find.

Finding the right skills, people or agency to actively execute your plan could mean new hires or agency spend so be 100% clear on the objective before you start briefing agencies on the task.

If you’re not sure what skills you need then talking to experts is a good place to start and will give you a second opinion on what resources you really need to execute your Small Business Marketing plan.

Step Five – Get your Channels locked and loaded

Wherever and whichever channels you’ve chosen to execute your plan from you’ll want to ensure that they’re in great shape before you start spending any of your hard-earned money on them.

Search, Shopping & PPC – Everything you do across the Google network will inevitably send traffic back to your website and web properties, including landing pages. Get a professional review of your site (not just friends and family!) for the experience you’re giving to visitors, check errors and broken pages as well as making sure your e-commerce inventory is 100% up to date.

Facebook & Insta

We’re all social creatures and we love to share and be seen as part of a community. Look back over any paid or organic social activities you’ve run historically for the best engagement rates. That will give you a good steer on what your audience want from you. Whilst you’re at it make sure contact info and products/ services are up to date too – nothing worse than a phone number that doesn’t work right?

If you’re starting from scratch be sure to take a look at your competitors for a steer on how to, and not to, engage with your audiences.

LinkedIn

Professional Networks are one of the most important areas to get right, not just for you but for your team also. They’re a representation of your business so pictures of falling out of clubs on a Saturday night won’t cut it in any marketing plan – make sure all of your employee’s profiles are consistent with your brand image and message – identity can be a major factor in the selection process.

Now that you’re ready to start executing across channels you’ll want to start both organic community building and if it’s in your plan, social advertising. Don’t treat this as a platform to sell –remember your audience can very quickly scroll past you. Instead of self-promotion use your social channels to engage with your audiences and start two-way conversations, bringing them to your website when they’re ready to buy – not when you’re ready to sell.

Step Six – Get Down and Dirty in the Marketing Data

Data is one of the most fundamental tools that a Small Business Owner has in their toolbox. Whatever your Small Business Marketing plan looks like, assessing its effectiveness should be a regular, insightful part of it.

All of the major platforms will have their own in-house reporting solution – which is great for above the line and in-platform measures. Look at them often and with your objectives in mind, let’s go back to our example for a moment – “Goal 2 – Grow revenue from the Professional Service Sector to £100k by acquiring 4 significant new clients”.  In this example we’d be looking for engagement, clicks, web visits and leads from the Professional Service Sector, right? So, if your LinkedIn organic activity is attracting Construction or Manufacturing professionals then maybe it’s time to switch your messaging or run some targeted ads specifically at your primary audience.

Headline measures from each platform can be useful but seeing the overall picture will give you a bird’s eye view of how your plan is working out. Tools like Google Analytics can give you great visibility on a host of measurements, be sure to check out the Behaviour Flows section for areas of improvement. DataStudio {DS LINK} can also give you clear visuals on performance if you have a good data team member or agency.

Our key recommendation would always be to extend any data analysis you’re doing to the real value you’re generating. Working backwards from sales made and revenue generated from your marketing plan will give you the best view of what’s working and what’s not. Make sure that your CRM or Shopping cart is plugged in to your marketing plan and use the insights to learn quickly what’s working and what’s not.

Step Seven – Get nostalgic and go again

No plan is ever perfect, try as you might there will always be areas that work really well and others that just never seem to get off the ground. As well as looking at the data we’d recommend repeating this process regularly to check in on new opportunities, new competitors and new products and solutions. So, brush of your preparation documents and get ready to go again.

There really is no perfect way to build a small business marketing plan but by getting prepared, understanding your customers and the market as well as getting the right team or agency on board you will create a plan that delivers real value.

If you’re thinking about building your own plan and think we can help we’d love to hear from you, get in touch today

     

     

     

    Helen Brookes
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