The marketing plan is informed by, and supports, your marketing strategy. Having a marketing plan for your small business allows you to clearly identify the following 5 key elements to effective marketing: what you are trying to accomplish, what you will do, where you will do it, when you will implement and how you will track success.
Element #1: Marketing Objectives
Marketing objectives are targets designed to provide, not just overall direction, but clear and specific actions. They clearly identify what you are trying to accomplish with your marketing activities. Your objectives should be based on the marketing goals that you’ve outlined in your marketing strategy.
Example of a Marketing Objective: 2X leads by the end of Q1
Element #2: Marketing Initiatives
Marketing initiatives are the things that you will do in your business in order to achieve your objectives. Your initiatives will be determined by understanding the activities that will move the needle for your business. What marketing actions can you take to get closer to achieving the objectives you’ve set out to accomplish?
Example of a Marketing Initiative: Build a referral partner program to generate new leads from a warm audience.
Element #3: Marketing Channels & Content
Where will you carry out your marketing efforts? An important part of choosing your marketing channels is understanding your target audience. Where are your potential customers hanging out? What types of content do they engage with most? When are they online and engaging?
Start by outlining the broader channels, such as: email marketing, social media, texting, etc., and then identify the specific platforms where your audience(s) can be most easily reached (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn).
Once you know what channels and platforms you’ll be utilizing, you will be able to plan the type of content you need to create. For example, if your audience is very active on Instagram, then you’ll know you need to create social media posts plus short videos for reels and stories.
Element #4: Marketing Calendar
Now it’s time to schedule your marketing tactics. How often will you create content? How frequently will you publish content? For example, if you are going to blog regularly, how many blogs will you publish a month?
If you are going to be active on social media – how frequently will you post?
If you are going to send regular email campaigns to nurture your leads/subscriber list, then how often will you do that?
Creating a marketing calendar, or editorial calendar, will help to hold you accountable and to keep you consistent – which is key!
Element #5: Marketing Performance Metrics
This is one of the most important, and often overlooked, components of a marketing plan. Determine which marketing metrics to measure, put the right tracking in place, measure & analyze the results, then adjust as needed.
If something isn’t working, then stop wasting time, money and effort on it and move to the next thing. However, it’s important that you identify what success looks like first and set a timeframe for achieving that success.
You can’t expect social media marketing to bring you leads immediately. Some marketing channels and campaigns should be part of the short-term plan and others are more of a long-term strategy. Knowing the difference is important.
Time to Create Your Small Business Marketing Plan
Remember, marketing isn’t easy, but having a plan in place can help to provide you with a clear picture for your small business. From there, you measure the success of your marketing efforts and adjust as needed. And now that you know the key elements to a solid marketing plan, you can create a simple one for your small business.