For entrepreneurs new to the world of marketing, common buzzwords and phrases surrounding themes such as social media, digital content or the dreaded search engine optimisation (SEO) may seem daunting. A clear and achievable marketing plan is absolutely vital to the success of a small business, however, and need not be complicated.
Whether you decide to hire marketing professionals or go it alone, the following tips highlight the importance of a small business marketing plan:
1. Good planning helps target customers and improve receptivity
One of the golden (and, sadly, overlooked) rules of successful marketing is to accurately define your target audience. Understanding the needs and desires of your target demographic will help you tremendously when you’re drawing up plans to market and advertise your services, as well as help you to pick and choose your marketing channels more wisely.
If you’re a company that markets products towards an older demographic, for example, it may be beneficial to avoid spending too much time on social media channels that they rarely use. If you’re hoping to appeal to a younger demographic, the opposite may be true.
2. Understanding the marketing landscape promises better returns and efficiency
Once you know who your audience is, it is important that you consider the various ways in which they can be reached. This could include:
• Content marketing (blog posts, podcasts, videos etc)
• Social media (networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)
• Search engine marketing (understanding how to increase your visibility in search engines)
• Public relations (knowing how to generate good publicity around your brand)
• Advertising (including pay-per-click advertising on search engines)
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into a comprehensive marketing plan. However, it is not necessary to put the same amount of effort into every strategy. Understanding the various methods you can use to market you business, as well as planning out how much time you should spend on each, will optimise your marketing strategy considerably.
3. A plan is a tool with which to measure success
Strategies and itineraries rarely go to plan, but this does not have to be a bad thing. Setting out a plan allows you to measure what went well over a given period of time, as well as what did not go so well, and provides a wealth of information about how to improve your marketing strategy in the future.