Many marketing agencies list the elements they believe make up a small business marketing plan. Typically, social media, pay for view and clicks and the ever present Facebook Ads etc.
Some of that helps but social media is not strictly speaking the platform for selling your products. The constant need to extol the virtues of your business on instagram can become tiresome for you and your audience and figures suggest that Facebook Ads are becoming less effective in a crowded market place.
So what do you do?
What are you hoping to achieve from your marketing plan? More likes and shares? Sell more products or generate sales leads?
You need to define your objectives early on when creating a marketing strategy. Does your business operate in a niche? Do you provide a unique service within your industry? Can you deliver on what you say you can?
For most small businesses, your marketing should start with a smart, modern website that clearly explains what you do, how you will improve your customer’s life and how people can do business with you. Ideally, you want your website to appear high in search results and to demonstrate your authority within your chosen field.
A well-written and designed website will inform your voice, your narrative, and your brand. Your message must then be repeated on your social media platforms to maintain brand identity and a consistent ‘feel’ about your business.
Decide honestly which social media platforms will benefit you the most. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The rush to create a Twitter account because ‘that’s marketing’ is a common one. To cultivate a loyal tribe of followers who hang on your every tweet is a very time consuming past time. It can be done, but accept the fact that results are not instant and sometimes, not at all. Facebook has benefits in that you can instantly ask your friends to like your business page and build your audience from there.
There is a small SEO benefit to be gleaned from social media links as an added bonus.
However, our biggest marketing recommendation for any small business is people! The most singularly important thing you should do is build your audience with a mailing list! Yep, the humble list of real email addresses of customers old and new.
Encourage people to sign up for your blogs, news, free samples, free downloads, free advice, etc. People that choose to hear from you and your business are the best kind. They see value in what you are doing, they like you and or your product.
People from your mailing list are more likely to share, recommend, and promote your business more than any social media platform could! You will always have an audience, brand evangelists who will look after a sizable chunk of your marketing for you.
In summary, a small business marketing plan would look like this:
- A well designed, modern website. Clear and easy to use.
- Brand matched Facebook Business page. Brand consistent message.
- A mailing list sign up option. Build your audience.
- Customer feedback forms. Learn from good and bad reviews.
- Customer testimonials. Prove what you do.
- Frictionless transactions. Easy to do business with you.
- Clear pricing structure. Don’t be vague.
- Network for future sales. Build a database of contacts.
We have applied this simple plan for many of our clients who in turn have seen genuine business growth by repeatedly sticking to these methods. Obviously there needs to be a certain degree of flexibility depending on the nature of your business but the basic principles are the same.