When you’re running a small business, you need a marketing plan that can help you increase sales. You want potential customers or clients to know who you are. And you want them to see the advantages of doing business with you.
But how can you achieve these goals? Read on to learn 5 essential strategies to include in your small business marketing plan!
1. Know Your Niche
Your niche is the market that your product will satisfy. When you’re determining a niche, you’ll be more successful by finding an underserved and focused area. Think about what slice of the population you want to serve, too.
When you know your niche, you’ll be able to know your target customers better, too. Create a profile for the type of customer you think is most likely to be interested in your product. Consider their age, gender, and geographic region.
For instance, imagine you sell shoulder bags made from recycled materials. With this product, you may want to target environmentally-conscious young women. Women between the ages of 18 and 35 might find your product most appealing.
From a geographic standpoint, you may want to focus your ads on urban areas or outdoorsy college towns. Marketing materials should reflect the language and color scheme that connects to a younger demographic. Using earth tones and demonstrating how your product helps the environment will be key selling points.
2. Determine Your Budget
Before you start spending money on ads and branding, establish a budget. You may need to allocate more funds toward marketing when you’re just getting started, but you need to give yourself a limit. If you’re a one-person show, consider how much you can afford to spend to hire a part-time person to execute your marketing strategy.
Map out what you’ll need to create a strong small business marketing plan. If you’re hoping to refresh your brand, you’ll need to hire a graphic designer to craft a better logo. If you don’t have a skilled copywriter, you may need someone with writing and digital skills to shoulder that load.
Similarly, you may need to hire a photographer or invest in a good camera to show off your products. And if you’re planning to run ads using Google or other platforms, designate a portion of your marketing budget toward that end.
Determine if you have the money to hire additional personnel to focus on marketing. And do comparison shopping to determine what software programs can help you track customer data.
3. A Small Business Marketing Plan Includes Digital Content
When it comes to digital marketing for small business, social media is critical. Make sure that you have accounts on at least 2 platforms, and assign a tech-savvy and witty employee to operate those accounts.
Set specific goals for social media engagement on a weekly basis. For instance, you could aim to do two posts on Facebook each day, and a post and short video on Instagram each day. Aim to post during mid-afternoon, too, because traffic will be higher on social media platforms.
Also, check your website situation. Is it updated regularly and easy to navigate? If not, it’s time to hire a web designer to bring your website into the current year.
Make sure that you include professional photographs of any products you offer. Make your contact info and story clear for any newcomers to your site. And add a blog where you can use search engine optimization to direct more traffic to your site!
4. Enhance Your Public Relations Game
When you have a great product, you need to get the word out through press releases. An active public relations strategy can share your brand and services with news outlets around the region — or globe.
Assign someone with strong communication and writing skills to head up this part of your marketing efforts. They’ll need to draft emails and conduct interviews. Their goal is to help create a positive image for your brand and provide information about it.
There are ways to streamline this process, too. Turn to eReleases to ensure that your press release reaches bloggers and relevant influencers. Press release distribution for small business owners can help build your visibility!
5. Measure Your Progress
Once you’ve launched a marketing campaign, you’ll want to take stock of how it’s going. A small business marketing plan needs to include benchmarks — and a willingness to dig in if you don’t meet them.
Plan on holding meetings with key constituents to evaluate progress. This could happen on a monthly or quarterly basis. Schedule regular meetings with your leadership or board so that multiple voices have an opportunity to weigh in.
Use customer relationship management (CRM) software as another way to track progress. This software offers a convenient way to document a customer’s journey. You’ll be able to see their transactions, social media engagement, and other metrics.
Data from CRM can help you know when you need to pivot your strategy to capitalize on a new lead. You’ll also be able to catch glitches in the customer journey.
Part of measuring progress is soliciting customer feedback, too. Send anonymous surveys to customers asking about product and service experiences. Incentivize them to fill it out by offering a small discount or entering their name into a drawing.
Put Your Plan into Action
A small business marketing plan should include a clear understanding of your audience — and a clear path to reach them. You’ll want to use a combination of traditional and digital strategies to make progress. And after some time has passed, be sure to measure your progress and make adjustments as needed.
For more tips to grow your business, check back for new articles!