• Dawn

Key Things to Consider When Writing a Small Business Marketing Plan

Good marketing is key to getting your business name out there – but with a brand new business about to launch, it can be difficult to know where to start.

The first step is to sit down and write your objectives and goals – these can be long or short term, but should provide you with a focus to plan towards. It also helps to make sure that your goals are SMART – which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

The next step to consider is your market and it is important to profile your target audience. This could be your local area, type of business you want to target, or group of potential customers. This decision can then lead to the creation of new contact lists, initial marketing collateral and taking the first steps in getting your business name out there.

Another important step to carry out is an analysis of your competitors. Conducting online research into other businesses who are offering similar services is a simple way to establish who you will be competing with – and give you ideas on how to offer a competitive advantage.

This exercise then leads you on to a deeper analysis of your business – What Makes it Special? What do you Offer that Other Businesses Don’t? This forms the start of a SWOT Analysis – where you can spend some time looking at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities in the market that your service could fill and what Threats you are facing. The thought process, and physically writing down the answers to these points, can really help to focus you on the way you want to move forward with your business planning and help to identify any niche areas you could target your marketing at.

Once you have formulated these ideas, you can move on to laying out some more practical plans and tasks. A good way is to create a table of the different marketing channels you have available and the advantages to your business of using them. These can include email, social media, PR, Direct Mail and leaflets/flyers. Include details such as the advantages of using each method, how you should measure the effectiveness and the related costs. This table can then be referred to and updated on an ongoing basis, depending on the type of campaign you are running, or which is working best for you.

Finally, make a marketing action plan – pick out key points to initially focus on and make a list. Prioritise the tasks and make a start on ensuring your business name is starting to be heard.

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