Life of a small business owner is busy. So it’s understandable that we tend to be reluctant to spend precious time on things like our small business marketing strategy and planning. Especially as these sort of things end up hidden away in a drawer somewhere and completely forgotten about.
But having a good marketing strategy is vital for your small business. Also, putting together a marketing strategy doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming, and having one will make your life a lot easier. By setting out your small business marketing strategy from the start, you’ll save lots of time and get better results.
Why do I need a small business marketing strategy?
1. Understand your customers
An important part of your small business marketing strategy includes doing some research into your ideal customers. Not only will this help you work out who you should be targeting your marketing towards, it will also help you understand exactly what your customers want and need. You can
- streamline your services or update your products so they suit your customers,
- figure out which platforms are best for advertising and marketing so you can reach potential customers,
- stand out from your competitors by finding a niche customer base.
Creating a marketing strategy which is focused on your ideal client will help you target your products to the right people, rather than spending months (or even years) marketing your product towards people who aren’t even interested in it.
Find out how you can define your ideal client.
2. Identify your competitors
Creating a good marketing strategy also gives you the chance to find out more about your competitors. Do some research to find out who your main competitors are. Take a look at their strengths and weakness to see what you could learn from them, and what you could do better.
This will also allow you to position yourself in the market to stand out from your competitors. What do you offer that they don’t? Why would customers be attracted to your small business instead of theirs?
3. Set goals for your business
Another benefit of creating a small business marketing strategy is being able to set goals for your small business. Your plan should include specific, measurable goals which can be achieved through marketing your business. Don’t forget to set timeframes too.
This will help you to outline what you want to accomplish, as well as giving you a plan for how and when you’re going to achieve this. It also allows you to keep track of how well your small business is doing and see if your marketing is working or if there’s anything you need to change.
4. Focus on running your business
Having a marketing strategy in place will not only help with planning & monitoring, but it will also help with the day-to-day running of your small business. It will allow you to allocate your resources and budget in the right places. You can create weekly or monthly action plans and set milestones and goals in order to motivate you and your team.
Having the strategy already mapped out will give you peace of mind so you can focus on running your small business. You’ll know how to market your business in order to attract your ideal clients and achieve what you want!
How do I create a small business marketing strategy?
I have seen many different versions of marketing strategies. But whether it’s a 40-page document, a simple A4 sheet or a nicely designed leaflet – all of them have 5 basic steps in common and the fact that they’re written down. Don’t just go through the steps in your head, make sure you have something to go back to and to share with your team.
Strategies are not for eternity, so don’t hesitate to adapt it to changes in your market or business. And always keep it up-to-date as it will help you focus, especially during busy times.
1. Who are you?
Write down your reason for existence: What do you do? Why do you do it? Also add your USP, your unique selling point: What makes you special? Why should they choose you over your competition?
2. Who do you want to do business with?
What is your audience? Who do you want to target with your products and services? Make sure to define your ideal client (and not ‘anybody who wants to give me their money’) and their focus: What is important to them when it comes to your services and products? Also what triggers them to look for what you’re offering? See the world with your customers’ eyes!
3. How can you find them?
Where are your customers and how can you reach them best? Are they online? What magazines do they read? What events/trade shows are they attending? List the top marketing channels that you can use to reach out to them and prioritise.
4. What do you want to achieve?
Define the goals you have for your company: Do you want to expand and have several branches all over the country? Or do you want to focus on reaching out to your customers worldwide through e-commerce? Now write down your goals for this year: How many products do you want to sell and to whom? It’s important to be precise and choose measurable goals.
5. How much money do you need?
Now define your budget: What are your planned marketing activities going to cost you? Distribute your budget according to the priorities you have established in step 3. If you don’t know what certain things will cost you, ask for quotes from potential suppliers and service providers. This will provide you with a realistic idea of the costs.
Ask for help
There’s lots of help out there to create your small business marketing strategy. For example, if you don’t feel confident creating a marketing strategy completely on your own, use a template to get you started. Business Gateway Scotland offer a helpful digital marketing strategy tutorial with a downloadable template to give you some ideas.
Or you can sit down with a professional and talk through everything. They can guide you in the right direction so you can create the strategy yourself. Or you can write your marketing strategy with them and benefit from their expert knowledge. Investing some money (it doesn’t have to be expensive!) on a small business marketing consultant now will prove invaluable in the long run.
WANT TO READ MORE?
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
What’s a USP, Why Do I Need One & How Do I Get One?
Why Business Goals Help you Grow Your Small Business Faster
Do You Know Enough About Your Target Groups?
5 Tips to Beat the Competition As a Small Business