Very few small business owners want to sit down and write out a marketing plan. Even fewer want to regularly review what’s being implemented, how it’s performing, and what needs to be revised.
I had a realization recently, after coming across an alarming statistic saying that half of small businesses operate without a marketing plan. My realization? Marketing plans are like annual pelvic exams. No one wants to do them, but we know we must so we call, make the appointment, and go in and get it over with.
Unlike an annual pelvic exam, however, marketing plans can make us money. Marketing plans aren’t just nice to have, they’re imperative to planning where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. Baseball great Yogi Berra once famously said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” The same goes for marketing.
Here are seven reasons you need to stop whatever it is you’re doing right now and draft your plan:
How to Get Started With a Marketing Plan Outline
I’ve helped hundreds of small business owners over the years simplify their marketing to have more time and energy to do the things they love. (I’ve been in business development for 15 years and have owned a strategic marketing agency specializing in small business for the last five).
In my business, we’ve identified four pillars of writing and effectively implementing a successful marketing plan. These pillars are intent, insight, infrastructure, and action. Answer the questions below to get in the right mindset for planning your business. Then go download our free content calendar template, which will help you organize the specific tactics on which to move forward (including blog posts, social media, and email marketing).
Do you currently know enough about your customers to effectively motivate them? What additional assets need to be created? What is the flow of the user experience? What should your audience see first and where should they be pointed next? What information should be offered at each stage?
After you take the time to go through these steps, I guarantee that you’ll feel your creative juices come back. You can move forward with confidence because the basics (the foundational pieces) are being taken care of.
It’s important to understand that there will be cycles to your marketing plan. You’ll start small; you’ll add things over time, based on what’s working and what’s not. You’ll pass more things off your plate as they’re up and running. This will leave you the time and energy to actually focus on the part of your business that you love.
Also? The silver lining is that when you have thought things through and made the plan, each thing builds upon another thing. This means that your marketing dollars will be maximized because all the things are working together rather than the scattershot approach created when you throw 5 different things out. Better yet, you can diversify your efforts, similar to those 5 different “things,” but they will all lead back to the same specified goal.
About the author: Shanna Goodman is the founder of AMP’D, helping people build businesses that give them life. She is a brand strategist with 15 years in business development and five of those years as a brand strategy agency owner specializing in small business. She is a regular contributor for Business Insider, Forbes, Fit Small Business, and Working Mother.
About AMP’D: AMP’D arms small businesses with actionable insights to succeed and grow, helping create life-giving, sustainable businesses in the process. With comprehensive programs and resources, we help clients uncover, discover, plan, and implement ways to generate new revenue and a sustainable business. Download our free content calendar template or learn more at ampdnow.com.
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This story was originally published on January 7, 2021, and has since been updated.
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