How to Develop a Small Business Marketing Plan

By September 25, 2014Marketing Tools

Small businesses can grow their business through relevant and targeted marketing plans. Read more to learn how.

As a small business owner you hear it all. Where is your business plan, budget plan, marketing plan, life plan, family plan, etc. Okay, you likely do not get asked for a family plan; but you do get asked for a lot of things at one time causing you to feel overwhelmed or inadequate. What if you had a quick guide of what you really need as a budding small business owner? What if we told you the secrets to success based on all the evidence we have gathered from working with our clients over the years? What if we told you that the key to your business’s success is not in the number of plans you have drawn up but rather an accurate and true marketing plan?

Business_Marketing_PlanThis article is to help our small and medium sized business owners understand what they need to put in their marketing plan alongside understanding why and how. Through one solid marketing plan you can strengthen your business, improve your sales funnel, and retain more customers.

What is a Marketing Plan?

One of most inaccurate assumptions about a marketing plan is that it is a plan about how you will acquire new customers. Your marketing plan is not a plan on how you will get customers but rather a plan on how you will introduce your target audience to your product and how it can benefit them. As you develop your marketing plan remember that you must communicate value to your customers above all else. You must be a solution to an everyday or semi-regular problem they encounter regularly.

A marketing plan is not bragging about who you are but rather what you can do for your customers and why you do it better than your competitors. As you build your marketing plan make a list of why customers should choose you over your competitors.

What Are Key Elements of a Marketing Plan?

A small business’s marketing plan will be very different from that of an established company’s plan. Your plan as a small business should include these five simple things:

Tangible Objectives

Tangible objectives enable you to measure your success, easily identify what needs to be accomplished, and most importantly gives your business a sense of traction. An example of a tangible objective is to contact 350 business owners within a 50 mile radius of your office and offer them your services via a personalized phone call or one-on-one meeting. All this on a 6 months period.

Audience Location

Determine your audience so that you avoid wasted resources. If you are service that

only provides your service in a certain mile radius of your office there is no valid purpose to promote your business outside of your service area. Consider your dominant audience. Are they men or women, mothers or single women, teenagers or seniors. Each business serves a select audience. Find yours and speak directly to them to help you gain traction more quickly.


The need for a budget is an integral part of marketing and gaining customers. The biggest challenge of budgeting that our clients often bring to our attention is that they are unsure how much they should be spending for adequate results. They are unfamiliar with the type of marketing efforts they need and that adds to the challenge of setting a budget. The key for setting a successful budget is to simply decide what you want to spend and then allocate your resources accordingly.

Measurements of Success

One of the most common factors that most small businesses encounter is a lack of visible or identifiable results from their marketing efforts. The best way to tackle this challenge is to create measurable ways to identify your success and measure your efforts. You can determine your success by paying close attention to the smaller details, such as calls to the office, website bounce rate, or customer experience feedback.

Analysis of the Plan

It is very important to review your marketing plan and marketing efforts on a regular basis. Avoid simply setting up a plan with tangible objectives, an identified audience, a realistic budget, and measurements of success and letting it just go. The key to success is to constantly review your efforts and use your measurements of success. Determine if the plan is working, collect data about your past marketing successes and failures, reinvent what works and rework what does not and plan accordingly.

Developing a Marketing Plan

There are several options available to help you build your actual marketing plan. The most simple and affordable way is to simply grab a pen and paper and jot down each part of your marketing plan as outlined above. Marketing plans should be simple and straightforward. A pen and paper plan is the most simple and affordable way and often times the most effective. Other options include using a software or agency that can help you outline or identify the key elements of your marketing plan.

It is important to always keep your marketing plan simple and free of unnecessary sections or information. Keeping it simple ensures that your marketing efforts assists you with your sales and get your customers into funnels that help you build and cultivate relationships with them. Creating a marketing plan helps you stay on track and build your business in a manner that is simple and straightforward without costing you unnecessary spending or wasting resources.

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