The marketing plan is a powerful tool that belongs in your small business arsenal.If you've been making do without a plan so far, or using a "play it by ear" approach, you're missing out on boosted revenue. A plan focuses your best efforts on activities that move your business forward.Once you've gathered market research, it's time to prepare your Market Overview section. What strategies are they using and how are they positioning themselves in the market? What kind of an impact do they have on your business? Now that you've described your current market situation and analyzed how various aspects of it affect your business, it's time to set your marketing objectives. Think of your marketing objectives as answering the crucial questions: What is my plan going to accomplish? Some examples of common marketing objectives include: It's a good idea to make each objective conform to the SMART goal criteria.
This should help you answer questions like: If you did any research when you developed your business plan, you may already have this information.
If not, talk to your salespeople and your customer service staff.
Does your ideal customer spend a lot of time on social media? Are there particular events or activities which are a big draw?
Once you know where your target market can be found, you can brainstorm the most effective ways of reaching them.
Maybe it's a certain number of new leads, a defined increase in revenue, walk-in customers, or social engagement (more likes, re-tweets, pins, etc.). In the Marketing Strategy section you'll answer the question "How".
This section is all about execution, evaluation and correcting course.Look at recent financial reports, current and past sales numbers and your product and services list.You'll also want to gather together information about your target market.This is the first thing someone sees when they read your marketing plan but it is the last thing you write. Once you have a basic overview of your current market situation, it's time to take a closer look at your market environment. First, identify those trends that might present you with challenges. There will also likely be market trends that provide you with opportunities or benefit you in some other way.The Executive Summary outlines all the major points of the plan itself, so anyone in management can pick up the plan and get an idea about your vision. Identify these trends and describe the positive impact they could have on your business and how you can take advantage of them.In marketing parlance, marketing strategies fall within what's known as the four Ps: product, price, place (distribution) and promotion.For a typical small business, promotion will form the bulk of your strategy.Some common promotion strategies include: Now is a good time to get creative!At the same time, make sure you watch costs and check that the strategies you embrace are measurable.After all, stuff like airplane banners are great, but not if they sink your whole marketing budget.Ask yourself, what's the best way to get your message in front of your target market?