Write a marketing plan for your small business

Writing a Marketing Plan for a Small Business

Does your company have a marketing plan? Without a plan, your business lacks direction. You also risk overspending or underspending your marketing dollars, and your efforts may not be as effective if your strategies are disjointed and inconsistent. Being organized is a prime way to grow your business and gain the upper hand over your competitors.

A marketing plan can be as simple or as detailed as you wish. Let’s look at an easy process of writing a marketing plan for a small business. Then, you can start planning for a year of business growth!

4 Easy Steps for Building a Marketing Plan

Step 1: Set your Overall Goal

Before developing a marketing plan, set your primary goal. Whether it be a specific increase in your bottom line, sales, or customer count, set a target and keep it in mind throughout the process.

Step 2: Identify your Target Customer

Reaching a target audience is every marketer’s dream. Here in the Smoky Mountain tourism industry, most of our ideal customers live miles away in different cities and states. We don’t see them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis; our customers’ habits can be sporadic.

Marketing in the tourism industry presents challenges, but technology has helped us fine-tune our strategies. Whether your business is trying to attract families on vacation, honeymooners, or retirees, determine your list of target customers first. Then, you can focus on maximizing your efforts.

Another demographic to consider is local business. What percentage of your sales come from Sevier County residents and day trippers from surrounding counties? Striving to reach more of these guests is a strategic way of boosting sales.

Step 3: List Current and New Distribution Channels

What is working for you now? Start by listing your successful marketing streams. Then, note some new strategies. Examples include email, social media, print, and your website.

We recommend working on a spreadsheet. List your channels along with the costs of each one. This act alone can help you realize if you’re spending too little or too much.

Step 4: Set Goals for Each Strategy

Measurable results will help you become accurate in your marketing campaigns, so strive to obtain metrics for each strategy.

Social media and internet advertising provide hard numbers, so it’s easy to see which campaigns produce results. Conversely, billboards won’t give you precise metrics. As the owner or manager of your business, use your intuition. With so many billboards in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, finding a great placement can bring hordes of customers through your door.

Don’t dismiss unmeasurable tactics but be realistic about them.

A More Detailed Marketing Plan

Now that you have a basic marketing plan, the next steps are up to you. For a small business, these fundamentals might be enough. However, adding additional parts will be helpful for marketing departments and large companies because each one tells a story that can help other team members understand the goal and the process of reaching it. These ideas are also key components to a strategic business plan. If you’re curious about any of these additions, read more about them here.

Executive Summary

Write an executive summary to accompany the plan. This overview sets the stage for the plan’s reader and spells out your expectations. Place the summary at the beginning of the marketing plan. This way, it acts as an introduction.

Mission Statement

A mission statement, as short as it may be, can take a lot of time and thought to develop. Once you have a strong mission statement, it can act as a lighthouse for your entire company. Does your company have a mission statement?

Regarding your mission statement’s contribution to your marketing plan, it can put the plan into focus and make it easier to execute. If you already have a mission statement, include it in your marketing plan. Otherwise, consider crafting one so your entire organization understands the company’s mission.

Competitive Profile

Determine your top competitors and conduct a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis for each one. Then, perform one for your business. See how you stack up against your rivals for a fresh perspective.

Writing a Marketing Plan for a Small Business

There are numerous marketing plan templates on the internet, but writing a customized version might be best. No one knows your business better than you, so don’t feel locked into a specific design or layout. There are no rules!

Your plan can be as unique as your brand. Regardless of how it looks, the most important part is that it works. Remember to visit the plan regularly to update your strategies, costs, results, and goals. A marketing plan is an effective tool for growth; read this for more business growth ideas. Having a marketing plan is the first step to deploying focused marketing tactics.

Writing a marketing plan is a lot like writing a strategic business plan. Click here to learn more about crafting a plan for your business.

Kellum Creek Business Solutions

Would you like help in reaching your goals? Our team helps talented small business owners develop and implement plans for success! Plus, we can fill in your team’s missing links.

We can help you realize goals with human resource development, public relations, and marketing support. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. Getting started is easy – click here.

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Authored in Appalachia || Amy Morton