You Are a Laser Beam: How to Create a Marketing Plan
Guest post contributed by Kris Rayner for Direct Hygiene Ltd.
For a small business owner, creating a marketing plan can be daunting. But you can do it yourself, buying small amounts of help where it’s needed most, and make it work for you. You don’t have to devote long tranches of time, but discipline yourself to return to it at regular intervals.
First, clarify where you stand now and where you want your laser beam to take you. Do a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths you can build on and the weaknesses you have to overcome. Consider where the opportunities lie and the threats or obstacles that might get in your way.
Your current financial position might be a strength or weakness. The marketing budget should be as much as you can afford without putting your business at risk.
The opportunities lie in the markets. You need to be aware of the wants and needs of your targets, which will be influenced by their lifestyles, current trends and the economic climate. The threats will probably include your competitors. You need to find out as much as you can about what they are doing as well.
You probably already know where you want to be at the end of the year. Your marketing plan is the laser route to take you to that point from where you are now. It will identify a series of intermediate targets to be hit by completing relevant tasks.
Techniques and Tactics
Next, decide what to put into your plan. Pick the techniques most likely to help you reach your targets, and schedule what you will do through the year and what you expect to get out of it.
Don’t try to do it all at the same time, but beam grouped activities into short burst campaigns, drafting in the help you can afford for short periods. Keep your marketing eyes beamed on the results and rework your marketing plan at regular intervals.
For a small business on a limited budget, the tactics might include:
• Leaflets and one-off promotions – these could be just you on the street offering freebies with leaflets, or something more creative if you can involve friends and family or the budget will stretch to actors.
• Websites, affiliate marketing programs or blogs – No time or talent to write a blog yourself? Don’t worry; plenty of expert writers can help put your messages across.