How To Create Marketing Plans for Small Businesses

Date published: May 07, 2024
Last updated: May 7, 2024

Big businesses make big plans. They also create elaborate marketing schemes to put those plans into action.

It’s easy for SMB (small and medium business) owners and their teams to feel that a full-fledged marketing plan is out of their reach. While they may lack the resources to go toe to toe with larger competitors in the market, though, that makes the strategic planning and guidance of small business marketing efforts that much more valuable.

Let’s go over what it means to create marketing plans for small businesses, why having a small business marketing strategy is so important for success, and how your business can create its own master marketing plan.

What are Marketing Plans for Small Businesses?

A marketing plan, at its most fundamental level, is a series of steps that you can take to promote your brand and its products and services to consumers. In other words, a marketing plan isn’t your actual marketing activity. It’s the strategy or guidelines that you create to set those initiatives in motion. 

In the context of marketing plans for small businesses, this could include anything from creating a website to crafting an email drip campaign, drafting a social media marketing campaign, building credibility through digital PR, and more. A small business marketing plan takes the limited resources of a small business and considers how that entity can effectively reach its target audience with its marketing.

Why are Marketing Plans for Small Businesses Important?

Grasping the goal of a marketing plan is the easy part. For a small business team with finite time and resources, justifying the investment in a marketing plan is where things can bog down.  

It’s tempting to redirect your team’s efforts toward activities with more immediate or tangible results, such as sales or product development. When you take the time to invest in a genuine growth-oriented marketing plan, though, you can provide a long-term blueprint for growth that you simply can’t recreate through other areas of business activity.

The goal of a marketing plan is to create basic parameters, such as a schedule and marketing budget, that help you optimize your promotional resources. Developing the plan itself may require some extra investment, but the benefits are well worth it.  

By planning ahead of time, you give yourself the opportunity to consider all of your marketing options. It also allows you to either establish or revisit key factors, such as your target audience, primary selling points, and your competition. From there, you can decide which marketing activities are the most cost-effective and beneficial for your brand, as well as the order in which you need to execute them.  

For example, a marketing plan might reveal that paying for ongoing PPC (pay-per-click) ads is exorbitant and expensive over the long term. It also may reveal that the money saved from slashing your PPC ads in half allows you to invest in a content marketing strategy. From there, you can plot out the steps required to generate, optimize, and promote that content (see the next section) as an effective way to put your marketing in motion. 

Small business marketing plans also allow you to gauge the ROI of your marketing investments over time. This gives you the ability to make adjustments and maximize results as you go along. It also frees you up to be more creative in your long-term approach to marketing by building on past successes that you otherwise might not have known about.

What Should You Include in Marketing Plans for Small Businesses?

If you’re sold on the concept of developing a marketing plan for your small business but aren’t quite sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. In the following section, we’ll break

down a step-by-step analysis of how you can turn your marketing ambitions into a solid plan of action that can guide you.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

It’s easy to skip this step, but trust us, you don’t want to do that. Most small business owners think they know their marketing goals — and in a certain sense, that’s true. As an involved executive of a smaller enterprise, you probably have your finger on the pulse of your organization more than most leaders. 

But that proximity to daily operations and activities can also make it easy to cloud out the big-picture stuff at times. Before you establish your marketing plan, take a minute to step back. 

What are you trying to accomplish with your marketing in the next year? What about the next five years? Do you want to generate revenue? Build brand awareness? Increase online visibility? Spark long-term growth? 

Each goal is related to your marketing, but the differences are important. Get each specific marketing goal in place before you flesh out your plan.

Step 2: Identify Your Audience

Your target audience should be the central focal point of your entire operation. When you develop products, you should consider whom they serve. When you bring them to market, you want to consider how to communicate to a select group of consumers that they’re available to solve their problems.

Make sure you have a buyer persona in place that reflects precisely whom you’re trying to market to and what their pain points are. If you’ve already considered what your customer base looks like, use this step to review that data and ensure that it’s informed by up-to-date market research.

Step 3: Consider Resources and Competition

As a final step to set the stage for your planning, review what resources you have available. As a small business, do you have a marketing team, or does that responsibility overlap with other employees (or yourself)? How much time do you have to invest in marketing? What is your marketing budget? What assets do you already have, such as a CRM or social media marketing tools?

Also, consider conducting a fresh round of competitive analysis. You likely did this when you were pulling together your business plan. Go back and observe how your competitors are marketing themselves to your target audience. Note the pros and cons of their efforts.

Step 4: Identify the Marketing Tactics You Can Use

Now comes the marketing magic. Once you’ve considered your goals, target audience, resources, and competition, it’s time to bring it all together. 

Consider the marketing tactics you have available and which ones best meet your current marketing needs. Then, weave these marketing ideas into a plan that considers resources and timelines. A few common marketing tactics that work well for small businesses include:

  • Creating a strong website: This becomes your central online presence and a place to host your blogs, user-generated content, landing pages, and other content marketing.
  • Optimizing your website: SEO is important. Optimizing your site with long-tail keyword phrases, links, and technical SEO (think metadata, mobile-friendly, etc.) is a powerful way to maximize your content creation efforts.
  • Build up off-site marketing: Create a social media presence using platforms your target audience prefers. Nurture email marketing, as well, including drip campaigns, newsletters, and targeted announcements.
  • Organize leads in a CRM: As a small business owner, you want to stay organized. When your marketing begins to gain momentum, have a customer relationship management (CRM) platform ready to keep things organized and under control.

Remember, you’re a small business with limited marketing resources. Consider which tactic is particularly relevant to your brand at the moment, and invest in those areas first.

Step 5: Establish Success Metrics and Feedback Loops

Finally, consider how you’ll track your marketing over time. Use tools like Google Analytics 4 to keep tabs on important marketing metrics, such as ranking for brand keywords, measuring organic traffic, and tracking conversions.

Also, request feedback from customers and team members and then use that information to hone your marketing activities moving forward. If you’re unsure how to adapt your plan (or create one in the first place), consider working with a growth marketing agency that can bring a cost-effective degree of experience and knowledge to bear on your brand’s marketing initiatives.

Building Master Marketing Plans for Small Businesses

As a small business, you may have limited time, money, and tools to work with. However, that doesn’t mean investing in a marketing plan isn’t worth it.

On the contrary, creating an effective marketing strategy helps you ensure that every ounce of resources you pour into promoting your business has a purpose. This gives you the best chance of sparking genuine, measurable growth, which can enable you to build larger marketing budgets, plans, and strategies in the future.

Privacy PolicyCookie Policy
Exit mobile version
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram