small business

How To Write A Marketing Plan For Your Small Business

The foundation of a solid marketing plan is a solid marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy should come from the research, questions you ask yourself and your audience, and brainstorming completed during the process of creating your marketing plan. For a small business creating a marketing plan might be quite challenging due to the lack of resources. Thus here are the components of a marketing plan and a step by step flow on how to create an ideal marketing plan for your business.

Components of a Marketing Plan:

  • Brands positioning and the rationale for picking that positioning
  • Target customer(s) and the rationale for picking that target or targets
  • Competitive analysis
  • Product portfolio analysis
  • Product plan
  • Pricing plan
  • Distribution plan
  • Promotional plan
  • Budget outlining how much you will spend against each activity
  • Focus chart (showing what portion of your focus or how many hours will go towards each activity)

Steps to follow:

1. Determine What Your Are Going To Sell And To Who (Your Target Market)

  • Get a clear understanding of what you want to sell and what problem your product or service will solve for your customers.
  • If your product or service does not solve a problem, you will have a hard time selling it.

2. Determine Your Positioning 

  • Determine your points of difference (what do you do hands-down better than the competition?).
  • List what your competitors do better than you.
  • List what you are you do a relatively similar job at when compared to your competitors (this is called your points of parity).
  • Summarize the essence of your product and brand, emphasizing your unique points of difference in a short sentence.

3. Create Your Product Plan

  • Analyse your competitor’s products and services to see what is working and what is not.
  • Survey your customers and prospects to understand better what they are looking for and what they value.
  • Create your product offering based on what customers want and are willing to pay for, not what you want to provide.

4. Create Your Pricing Plan

  • Review the pricing strategies of your competitors to see what is working and what is not.
  • Set your price based on value, not your cost.
  • Analyse your price elasticity.

5. Create Your Distribution Plan

  • Review the distribution strategies of your competitors and determine what is working and what is not.
  • Survey customers and prospects to understand where and how they want to buy. If you can’t survey, brainstorm how you think they would answer.
  • Brainstorm ways to increase the distribution of your product/service.

6. Create Your Promotional Plan

  • Determine the message you want to communicate from your positioning statement.
  • Review the promotion strategies of your competitors and determine what is working and what is not.
  • Review what promotional strategies have worked for you in the past.
  • Select the promotional strategies that will be able to convey your message to your target market best.
  • Create a plan to maximize your referrals.

7. Create Your Marketing Budget

  • Determine the amount you can afford to invest in marketing (the more, the better).
  • List the cost, impressions, estimated conversion rate, the time required and ROI for each marketing method.
  • Select the marketing methods that have a high return on investment and low time requirement.

Your Workflow:

  1. Create A Format To Follow
  2. Select The Necessary Questions You Need To Ask Yourself
  3. Conduct Research
  4. Answer the Questions
  5. Conduct Brainstorming
  6. Finalize The Plan
About the author: Larysa Hale
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