If you’re a small business or brand and are looking to sell your product or service online, you’re kind of going to need a marketing plan put in place. While word of mouth is great to a point, if you don’t have any online presence at all and no marketing efforts created, chances are people won’t really know anything about you. And guess what? You don’t want that. While there are businesses that can rely solely on very loyal customers and no marketing plan, a business that has an incredible service or product but absolutely no marketing plan could get lost in the crowds online selling the same thing. Putting together a marketing plan for a small business is so important. In this guide, we’re talking you through why it’s important and how to put together the perfect marketing plan for small businesses.
What is small business marketing?
Small business marketing isn’t that different from regular marketing, however, there are a few things that small businesses need to do in order to expand their business that larger companies might not think about doing. When it comes to small business marketing, money might not be an option so learning how to develop a good marketing strategy on a shoestring budget is important!
Small business marketing is the strategies and activities that small businesses work on to help promote their product/service, increase their brand awareness, and get new customers through their doors. Small business marketing can involve a variety of tricks and tactics to get a marketing plan going, like utilizing online marketing and social media to reach a targeted audience and business goals with a smaller budget.
How do you create a small business marketing plan?
If you’re a small business and wondering how to get started to market your brand, we’ve got some tips on what you need to get started.
Set clear goals
First things first, you need to set clear goals on what you want from your marketing plan. Start thinking about your overall marketing objectives like:
Make sure all of your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART). If you need to know how to set SMART goals, click here
Know your target audience
If you’re going to market online, you kind of need to know who you’re actually marketing to. Duh. Before you even get started, you need to figure out exactly who your target audience is, so start picturing who you want to purchase your product or service.
Really start digging into the image of your ideal customer as this will help you build a marketing strategy that actually speaks to them.
Do a competitive analysis
What the heck is your competition doing? You need to start looking around at who your competition is, how they market, and what holes they might have in their marketing.
When you’re looking at your competition, start creating a list of things that you like and dislike about their marketing strategy. If you’re not sure how to do a full competitive analysis, click here
to get a full guide on how to do one.
Figure out your brand voice
If you want your small business to thrive on social media and online, you need to find your voice. The reason a lot of brands absolutely kill it is because their audience knows exactly who they are and that all starts with having a distinct brand voice (and being consistent with it!).
So who and what is your brand? How can you make your brand stand out amongst the crowd? What makes your brand different than others out there? Focus on those points and develop a brand voice that reflects that. And if you’re struggling with figuring out your brand voice, click here
to find out how to get started.
Describe your product and service in your own words
This might sound like an obvious one but write down various descriptions of what you do and what you sell. Think about everything that you offer: what value does it provide? What pain points are you helping to figure out? Detail out what makes your product and service so much better than anyone else’s and what sets you apart. Writing all these details down will help you figure out how you’re going to talk up your brand online in the future.
Figure out your unique sales position (USP)
It’s time to really dig into what makes your brand different from all the other ones out there. Is it your product? Is it YOU (of course it’s you, but WHY is it you)? Is it how you serve your clients? Is it your price point? Start detailing what makes your brand the best one out there.
Set your marketing budget
Alright, now the fun part—figuring out how much you can actually spend on your marketing. 😬 Set a realistic goal that won’t break the bank but will give you enough to actually grow your business and then break down exactly how you want to spread that spend. Maybe it’s working with influencers. Maybe it’s collaborating with a local brand. Maybe it’s social media ads.
Once you’ve got that figured out, write it down or create a spreadsheet so you can stay within the budget each month.
Start your marketing plan
Now that you’ve got the rough bones of a strategy, it’s time to start planning out your marketing! Take a look at the audience you’re wanting to attract and figure out what types of platforms they will be on:
Knowing where and how your audience shows up is of vital importance when it comes to starting your plan.
After you’ve established where you’re going to be marketing, think of what type of content you want to be making to get your audience to actually care about you and your brand. Some of our favorite pieces of content include:
However, before you start reaching out to influencers and creating content willy-nilly, you need to think of a few things first:
Remember to think about who your brand is and what they do. What sets you apart from the competition. Really hone in on this so it makes creating a marketing plan easier and doing outreach to have people help you market your brand easier.
Content: what do you want to say about your company, your products, and your vision of your brand? Once you’ve got an idea of what you want to say, it’s time to create content around those things—whether that’s through Facebook posts, Instagram ads, YouTube videos, or whatever works best for you and your brand!
Advertise: How else are you going to get your brand out there? You need to start advertising it! This could mean targeting your specific audience in social media ads, working with content creators that have an audience you want to talk to, or writing blog content using specific keywords so you get higher up on Google.
Use an AI social media tool to plan content faster
Creating a marketing plan can take a lot of time if you’re doing it for the first time—and content creation can make it even harder. Using an AI tool can help you brainstorm, get content ideas, create captions, and help you put together the perfect marketing strategy in seconds.
With a tool like Flick’s AI Social Media Marketing Assistant, you can start your marketing strategy by providing the AI Assistant with your Brand Context (i.e. your website or Instagram page, your voice, the demographic of your audience, and more) to make sure the AI Assistant provides you content that is perfect for your brand.
From there, you can type in a keyword or topic to start generating ideas that you can build your marketing strategy around. You’ll get a variety of options in seconds and if you don’t like any of the options? That’s okay! You can ask the AI Assistant to provide you with new ones.
Once you have selected your post ideas, you can then ask your Assistant to give you different captions based on the ideas. The captions will be written in your brand voice and style.
You can also ask the tool to repurpose your long-form content too! Just plug in a link to a blog post and your AI Assistant will create various posts based on the blog post.
Once you’ve got your content put together, you can then schedule the content in your Scheduler and have it posted at the right time that your audience is online.
FAQ about marketing a small business
How can I advertise my small business?
When it comes to marketing your small business, there are so many different ways that are both paid and unpaid. Start off by advertising to your local community—are there any local Facebook or Instagram groups you could connect with? Are there any local papers you can write to? Start small and slowly grow your local audience before tapping into paid-for marketing on social media.
There are a few ways to promote your product or service without spending money. One of those ways is by looking into SEO. Find keywords that fit your business and use SEO best practices to start creating top-level content for your audience that will then rank higher on search engines.
One of the biggest things you can do is build up your social media presence. By connecting with your online community, you can build up your brand and start growing dedicated customers all in one place. Your social media can give you direct communication with your community so you can tell them everything they need to know about you and your brand from one place—directly from you.
Does a small business need a marketing plan?
While it’s not necessary for a small business to have a fully fleshed-out marketing plan, it does help you get your brand off on the right foot and in the minds of your audience. If you want to sell a product or service at all, it’s always helpful to have a plan in place.