A marketing plan will help your business grow strategically
A key component of building a marketing plan for your small business, is building your online presence. So you need a website for your business. Yet did you know that 60% of small businesses don’t have a website*, and say they don’t have time to launch one. And 48%* of consumers will stop considering a business if it doesn’t have a website. (*Source – 2018 Telstra Small Business Report.)
In this blog post, I will walk you through how to build a marketing plan for your business and the steps involved in the process.
A common problem for small business owners
The key problem that business owners have when I meet with them, is that they don’t have enough leads. Advertising is losing it’s power in some respects because it’s so easy to access now. Which means, to make your products and services that you offer stand out, it needs to be remarkable, different, and generate word of mouth among your customers.
What is a marketing plan?
“A marketing plan may be part of an overall business plan. A solid marketing strategy is the foundation of a well-written marketing plan. While a marketing plan contains a list of actions, without a sound strategic foundation, it is of little use to a business.” Wikepedia.
So before you attempt to build a marketing plan, with your marketing channel mix and list of activities you need to take the time to build your marketing strategy. Here are the key components in building a marketing strategy for your business:
- Set goals for your business – business, sales, marketing, new customers targets etc.
- Identify your ideal client – there is a core group of people who have a problem that you can solve.
- Market research – you will need to do market research to understand your ideal client, and how they make purchase decisions, and search for their solutions.
- Point of difference – what is it about your business that is both unique, remarkable and different?
Understanding the buyer journey
Once you have taken the time to lay the foundations for your marketing plan, by building a marketing strategy, next you need to think about the stages in the buyers journey.
- Awareness – They are aware they have a problem but they are not sure what it is.E.g. My revenue growth is slowing down.
- Consideration – They know they have a problem and have given it a name. E.g. I need more new clients.
- Decision – They are looking for a solution to their problem and have a list of suppliers to choose from. E.g. I need a marketing consultant to help me with my marketing strategy and plan.
You need to ensure that your marketing plan caters for information required at each stage in the buyers journey. Because the information required at the Awareness Stage is very different from the Decision stage.
Build your marketing plan using the market research findings
The reason you do market research as part of your marketing strategy, is to fully understand your ideal client, which helps you build your buyer personas. The main elements you want to understand from your market research is:
- What triggers the need to start the search for your product/service?
- Where do they start their search?
- How do they search?
- How do they weigh up their options of different suppliers?
- What information do they use from a business website, and in their search to help them decide to contact them.
Once you understand their search patterns, you can then build your marketing plan to reach them where they are searching, and provide useful helpful content along the way to help your potential client make their decision on a service provider.
The Flywheel is customer-centric
When building your plan your existing customers are at the center of everything that you do, they are the energy force that keeps your FlyWheel spinning. Treat your customers with empathy, and create positive word of mouth for your business.
“A flywheel is a machine that stores rotational energy. When you add energy to a flywheel, it starts to spin. If you add more energy to it, it spins faster. And unlike a funnel, where the only way to maintain a constant speed is to keep adding stuff to it, and flywheel will keep spinning.” Hubspot.
The three stages of the flywheel that you need to use to build your marketing plan are as follows:
These are the activities in your marketing plan that will drive awareness about your business, and drive traffic to your website, for example:
- Guest blogging
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Referral marketing
- Paid online ads
Once a potential customers engages with you online via your website, what marketing activities do you have in place to move them further along their buying journey? For example:
- Landing pages and content offers
- Email marketing – how will you capture their email address, what will you offer in return?
- Social media marketing – your research will help you to identify which social channels your ideal customers are using.
What activities do you have in place in your plan to delight your customers into becoming raving fans of your business, for example:
- Customer surveys – to look for ways to improve and enhance user experience.
- Customers appreciation events – regular catch ups to build relationships that are lasing.
- Community building – ongoing activity.
So there you have it, the steps you need to walk through to build a marketing plan for your business. Don’t forget to download your free template and start with your marketing strategy.
iStock Photo Credit: LighField Studios