If you caught our last article on small business marketing, you learned why marketing is an investment – not an expense.

Good marketing impacts EVERYTHING: if people find you, how others view your business, and whether customers buy your stuff and tell all their friends.

With any smart investment, you need to know where you’re headed (goals) and how to get there (strategy). Strategies and goals are the two main components of a solid marketing plan.

A marketing plan is like a business roadmap, showing you what you need to do to get people to give you their money.

You may be thinking, “That sounds great and all, but where the heck do I start? And how much will I have to fork over to get it done?”

We’ll answer these all-important questions in just a moment. Let’s start with why you need a plan in the first place and what that plan should include.

What’s a Small Business Marketing Plan?

This is a road map that explains what actions your business should take to get from where you are now to where you want to be. It should outline your vision and goals, the strategies to reach those goals, and the budget you need to make it happen.

A marketing plan will also describe where to spend how much of your marketing budget. It can be updated annually (or more frequently) as you learn what works for your business and what’s not so hot in your industry.

Without a plan, you’ll be flying blind. Your marketing department could end up wasting a whole lot of time and money on efforts that don’t produce any real results.

What Should My Marketing Plan Include?

Here are some sections that companies routinely include in their marketing plans.

1. Company Overview

Really get to know your company for this section – warts and all. What products and services do you offer? Who are your primary customers? What are your business’s strengths and weaknesses?

Take a good look at financial reports, departmental budgets, and your company history to understand how money is being allocated and if it’s being used effectively.

Interview someone on the sales team for more insight into customer behavior for feedback on what products and services are resonating with people.

Include a summary of your company culture in this section as well.

2. SWOT Analysis

Write down your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to assess where your business stands in the marketplace and possibilities for growth.

3. Target Audience

Who already loves what you’re selling? Create profiles of your ideal customers to use as the basis for your marketing. Where do they spend time online? What channels do they often use? What’re their buying habits? How old are they, and what are their greatest desires and fears?

4. Marketing Goals

What are your marketing and sales objectives that you want to accomplish throughout the upcoming term? Set quantifiable goals and summarize how you plan to reach each one. Do you want to grow your sales by a certain percentage? Are you planning on getting most of your leads through email marketing or Facebook? Or are you prioritizing SEO this year and focusing on website traffic?

5. Competition

Who are your top competitors? Make sure you research what marketing techniques are working for them and what tools and strategies they’re implementing. You can learn a lot from other successful businesses in your industry.

6. Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

What makes you different from everyone else? Your USP can give you an advantage over your competition. Is it your customer service? Do you offer the best prices? Are your products or services leaps and bounds better than the competition’s?

7. Channels & Strategies

Based on your target audience, choose what channels and strategies you’d like to implement in the coming year for marketing. Popular inbound marketing platforms and tactics include:

  • Blog
  • Social media
  • Search engines
  • Website
  • Email
  • Branding
  • Advertising
  • Video

8. Budget

How much are you planning on spending on marketing in general? Small businesses generally allocate 7% to 12% of their gross revenue to marketing.

How Much Will My Marketing Plan Cost?

That depends. You knew this was coming. For us to give you a definitive answer, we’d need to sit down and chat with you about your goals and business and stuff. Which we’d love to do – whenever you’re up for it.

The cost will depend on two main factors:

  • Type of marketing plan: Will your project include content marketing, social media marketing, website design, paid marketing, or some kind of combo?
  • Your partner: Are you going to work with an agency or a freelancer? If you choose an agency, size and prestige can make a massive difference in the cost.

You can expect to pay anywhere in the ballpark of $5,000 to $40,000 for a solid marketing plan.

Ready to Craft Your Small Business Marketing Plan?

We can help! Partnering with a marketing whiz with the skills to help you accomplish your goals while working within your budget is essential. We’d love to hop on a call with you to answer all of your pressing questions. And YOU can see if WE fit the bill – literally.

If you’d like to give us a shot, we’re ready to discuss your goals and vision to create a marketing plan that checks all the right boxes. Book a consult with us today!