how to create a marketing strategy for a small business (and Why you Should)

89% of businesses will invest in marketing, with less than half of those expected to have a business plan, let alone a marketing plan. During the Covid lockdown period, we look at how to use time wisely and learn how to create a marketing strategy for a small business.

What we will cover

The value of strategy

A business without a marketing strategy is like a ship without a destination. You might have the most able crew members on deck but if nobody knows where they are going, you may as well drop the sails. 

In contrast, a business with a top level marketing strategy has a clear picture of their destination. They also have a plan of action for getting there. In fact, the CoSchedule report mentioned above found that goal-setting marketers were 376% more likely than the control group to report success.

What the past few months have shown us is that the environment can throw up unpredictable obstacles at any time. When you have a strategy – and an agile team to execute it – you can more easily change course and plot a new route to the same endpoint.

A big corporate strategy is likely out of scope and budget so we are going to discuss how to create a digital marketing strategy for a small business, just now, whilst we have time on our hands.

The current landscape

We have a range of clients reacting in different ways to this global pandemic, for some pubs, restaurants etc, their hand is forced, but they can look at offering expertise and building a following for the future. Look at Joe Wicks, a household name overnight.

It isn’t sector specific, it’s the difference between having a business setup for a digital B2C offering or reliant on old fashioned personal touch B2B methods for sales i.e. networking & sales visits.

Right now we have clients and contacts smashing sales targets because they put in the hard yards before all of this to get their ecommerce systems polished and offer a consumer focussed product or service.

Setting off for the first time

If you’ve never had a marketing strategy before, where do you start? There are a few things we can suggest and these can be done even if you are isolating at home. In fact, you may be in a better position than ever to take these steps if your business is currently in limbo since there should be fewer distractions (except helping the kids with home schooling of course!)

First, you need to be absolutely clear about your ultimate aims and objectives. What does success mean to you? Where do you want to be in one, five and ten years’ time (apart from out of lockdown!)

Second, you need to find out everything there is to know about your target audience and your marketplace. Try reaching out with market surveys and polls; many people are at home twiddling thumbs so your survey completion rate might surprise you!

The marketplace will be uncertain at the moment, of course, but that makes it even more important to be aware of threats and opportunities so you can act appropriately when business resumes.

Third, draw up a basic marketing plan tied to your calendar. Break this down into quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. Don’t worry about the blanks – that’s where we come in!

Plotting the route 

There is so much that is involved in filling out a top level marketing plan that we could write a book on it. But since this is the 21st Century, we instead created a five step marketing plan that can be completed in less than two hours.

Here is a basic summary of what’s covered:

  • Step One – Business background, you need to know who your target audience is, we will talk through a typical buyer.
  • Step Two – We will explore your products and services, understand the lifetime value and estimate a budget.
  • Step Three – Think about the channels we can engage the audience with, examining our budget.
  • Step Four – Set up measurable tracking for each stage of the user journey.
  • Step Five – Set some targets for your tracking points and a review date.

Sometimes pressing the reset button in business – as in life – is the best thing that can happen. So there’s the skeleton of how to create a marketing strategy for a small business. If you’re stuck in the doldrums, waiting for the wind to pick up again, would developing a top level marketing strategy be a good use of your time? I’d have thought so, if you need a bit more meat on the bones, ask us to help you craft your marketing plan and get some air into those sails!

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strategic marketing plan

Strategic Marketing Plan

Business owners can become frustrated with digital marketing when there is no strategy or actionable plan to follow. Our strategic marketing plan workshop addresses this and provides clarity for your small business.