Planning for 2017: Small Business Strategic Marketing Plan

You’ve worked hard to build your small business, and you work hard every day to reach the goals you’re after. I love the passion and the tenacity you bring to your small business. And I love even more to see my small business peeps reach for their goals and plan for their futures! Because let’s get real — good things don’t just walk in the doors of small businesses. Now more than ever, it’s important to have a plan. Make the time for your small business’ future, and you’ll be glad you did.

In other posts, I’ll discuss why you should review your small business’s performance in 2016, the affordable marketing tools coming at you this next year, and how a marketing consultant could work with you to make your life easier and make the work better.

In this post, though, we’re focusing on a plan that will keep on giving all year long: the strategic marketing plan.

Marketing may be the last thing on your mind when you’re running your small business. But marketing helps you maintain your brand, talk to your audience and reach your goals.

A strategic marketing plan can guide you through the whole year. With a plan, you’re less likely to spend a chunk here for a billboard not many see and a chunk there for a newspaper ad your target audience doesn’t read, and realize later that you don’t have enough money left in your marketing budget for a sponsorship that your audience would notice.

With this plan, all of your efforts will be working toward common, thought-out goals in a strategic manner that’s on-budget.

I’ve developed many a marketing plan for my clients in the past. There are many ways to create plans, but this is the Zao525-approved way to stay true to your small business’s spirit and discover marketing success.

Analyze your small business situation and goals.

Use that 2016 year-end review you just did, and take note of your business’s strengths and weaknesses. Where are there opportunities to reach your goals? Where are there dead-ends. This can help influence your next year’s marketing plan.

Clearly define your target audience/s.

Who are you trying to talk to? The folks who will best benefit from your product and service of course! Define who that person or who those people are. Learn about what makes them unique and what motivates them. Then, you can return to these target audience profiles throughout 2017 to see if your marketing communications are staying true to the people who matter most to your small business.

Set specific marketing goals.

I want to be successful…is not a great goal. How do you determine success? Set goals that are specific and reachable. Think along the lines of, gain 1,000 new Facebook followers by July or raise $15,000 more than last year for XYZ cause. These goals guide your efforts, and they also help you determine the successes of your marketing efforts by the end of the year.

Determine your marketing budget.

With marketing, you could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars if you wanted to, easy. But I’m making a wild guess here that you don’t. That doesn’t mean that you’re marketing efforts won’t have impact. That means that the marketing efforts you decide to invest in will have to be thought-out, be strategic, and really count.

Brainstorm marketing tactics that will help you reach your goals within budget!

There are many ways you can communicate with your audience — Facebook, billboards, direct mail, email, Pandora radio spots, chalk art outside your storefront. The possibilities are as endless as your ideas. With your target audience profile and budget, decide what efforts you can afford and that will best reach your audience. Map out when you will communicate throughout the year, if you’ll do the marketing yourself or if you’ll call in the help of a professional.

The only thing left is to follow your plan!

Need help crafting your 2017 strategic marketing plan? Are you ready to really launch your business into 2017? Are you just starting out? Check out the Launch League, a business fast-track-to-success program that’ll help take your big ideas and turn them into business foundations, materials, and more — and where I will help you personally learn how to create your strategic marketing plan for years to come! Learn more

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