How to create and execute a successful marketing plan

Marketing your small business should be an ongoing and regular activity, even if you are currently doing well with clients. Finding new clients is one of the most challenging aspects of running a business. It  requires regular communication to ensure you are being seen by the right people in the right places, so when they are ready to buy your products or services, they will know where you are. Keeping in touch with your potential and existing clients will help to make and keep your brand visible and attract new business.

Marketing doesn’t need to be expensive, especially if you are focusing on  digital marketing channels. But it can be very time consuming – and you shouldn’t waste too much of your time doing unpaid work. Here are a few tips on how to create and follow a tactical  plan that can help to market your small business and create potential new business opportunities:

  1. Start with your overall marketing strategy

Before you get down to the tactics, take time to define your overall strategy.  Work with what you know. Look at what your potential customers are looking for and how they communicate. In the competitive market you need to differentiate yourself and make your business stand out. It’s all about buyer focus – what benefits does it bring to them, what terminology do they use and what would make them stop looking for similar products and services elsewhere.

  1. Set simple and clear objectives

Set some realistic goals that you will work towards. Keep them simple and focused around specific areas. A good way to start is to set the overall end goal focused on new business opportunities and then setting individual objectives that will support that goal. You could look at your marketing ROI, number of incoming enquiries, number of leads generated, social media engagement, website traffic volume or any other indicator that you think will help your business to grow.

  1. Create a calendar

Create a simple table with as many weeks as you need and list all the activities you have planned. The visual demonstration will make it easier to spot gaps and errors. Have your plan visible and easily accessible and always be reminded what’s next. It might be difficult to commit to a specific date, especially if you are planning a few months ahead. Creating weekly or even monthly schedules might work better. It’s important that your marketing activities are regular, even if not too frequent.

  1. Track progress

Mark activities that are completed, delayed or are likely to never happen. Don’t dismiss the activities you don’t get to complete just because you are unable to do so on time as you can always use them for a campaign later on. If time allows, track the success of various activities and test various times to get an idea what works best for your audience.

  1. Review regularly

Schedule a couple minutes each week or month to review and reflect on where you are compared to where you’ve planned to be. Have a look at your campaign results and edit your marketing plan if needed. Focus on the activities that are having a positive impact and look at improvements for those that don’t.

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