If you’re considering launching your own small business, you know that there is a lot of planning that goes into making your dreams a reality. One key feature that requires a lot of research and preparation in every stage of an enterprise’s development is the marketing plan. This blueprint traditionally lives in the larger business plan you create to lay the groundwork for your business. All parts of the business plan — especially the marketing portion — then grow and develop in step with your company. While each plan is unique, these points should give you a general idea of what your marketing plan will need.
Lay it out in black and white
The first part of a marketing plan is simple, as it’s where you state what exactly you plan to sell or offer at your company. While you probably already know what kind of business you want to run, the marketing plan is the time to narrow that list down. For example, if you’re opening a bike shop, this is where you detail exactly what that means. Are you selling just bikes, or will you also offer repairs and biking equipment? Those questions are taken care of in a marketing plan, which is also the space to determine if there is anything about your idea that is unique to set it apart from local competitors.
Describe your ideal customer
If you’re planning on opening a business in your area, there should be a pool of people you think will become your customer base. While it sounds optimistic to say that everyone will come to your business for your good or service, it’s not a particularly realistic viewpoint. This is why you need to figure out the profile for your ideal customer. Laura Lake of The Balance gives the example of a plumbing company that would ideally target commercial and residential property owners, but not renters. By having a more streamlined idea of your customer base, you can better focus your efforts and set yourself up for success.
Once you know who you want to walk in the doors of your company, set some goals for your marketing plan and your business at large. Entrepreneur stresses that this is not the time in your development to reach for the moon; your marketing plan is the place to set measurable goals that you can monitor and celebrate your progress. Like your ideal customer profile, make sure that these goals are realistic and attainable.
Bring them in
This next part of the marketing plan is the marketing strategy, which is where everything starts to come together. Now that you know what you’re selling and to whom, you should say exactly how you will bring your customers in the door. Business Queensland offers the example of a company that wants to reach more young people as part of its goals. Its marketing strategy should lay out plans such as using ads in publications aimed at the target demographic and expanding its social media strategy to be more appealing to people in the ideal age range.
Get your budget ready
The last piece of any business marketing plan should be setting a budget. Laura Lake with The Balance points out that marketing is an investment, and while there are several free marketing opportunities out there, you shouldn’t be afraid to spend real money to make your strategy a success. A budget also takes all of your theoretical plans in the document and gives you a map for actually getting them done. With a sound budget, ideally constructed with the assistance of someone with a good deal of financial know-how, your business will be on a better trajectory for success.
The task of putting together a business marketing plan might seem overwhelming, but it is vital to the future triumphs of your business. Give this stage of business development its due diligence and set yourself on a course to success.
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