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The Key Steps for a Small Business Marketing Plan (Part1)

Kym Heffernan
Kym Heffernan

When you are developing small business marketing plan all the pieces like branding. Website, content, social media, networking and sales process fall into place. This guide outlines the first five key elements of a fully developed small business-marketing plan so that you can build one of your own. All of these elements need to work together in order for your marketing strategy to actually work. If you are missing one of these elements, it's likely you are missing out on clients and sales.

1. Current Situation
Before starting any planning you need to understand your current situation so your Marketing has the right messages and you know where your Business is at now. This should include looking at your:

• Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT);
• Customer Sales to find repeat and the most profitable customers;
• Developing an ideal customer profile or buyer persona;
• Keyword research;
• Google analytics reports; and
• Top three competitors.

2. Creating a Sales Plan
There are several key questions you need to ask at this stage:

• What is your sales process?
• How do you keep track of all the prospects
   in the sales pipeline?
• What are your Key Markets?
• Who are your Key target accounts -
   which companies do you want to target?
• Who are the key decision makers within
   those key accounts?
•  What referral strategies do you have in place?
• What alliances and referral sources do you have in place?

3. Brand Strategy
When developing your brand strategy there are some questions that need to be addressed:

• What does your brand represent?
• What's your brand story?
• What visuals are you going to use to describe the brand?
• What tone and style?

Also you will need to check your current messages to make sure they align and make sure your message reaches potential clients wherever they may be (online, offline or social media)

4. Lead Generation Strategy
The first thing you need for a Lead Generation strategy is to understand is how many leads you need at the different stages of your sales funnel".

For example
• Win 10 new customers per month you may need to
• Prepare 30 Proposals per month and
• Meet with 50 new prospects per month and
• Contact 150 potential leads per month to secure these meetings

Once this is done you can establish whether you are going to develop an:

• “Inbound” lead generation strategy where you attract visits to your website via SEO, Paid online ads and/or Social media with ongoing content creation and distribution to convert the visitors to leads by offering a piece of helpful content that help them along their “buyer’s journey” and then follow through on opportunities; and/or an
• "Outbound" lead generation strategy where you identify target industries, clients and contact and reach “out” to then via email, mail or call initially and then follow through on opportunities.

5. Content Strategy
These days the worst thing you can do is only publish content once to your website and never update or add more content. So in terms of content creation you need to think of:

• What content does my prospective buyer need at each stage  (Awareness,
   Consideration or Decision) of their Buyer’s Journey;

• What format should the content be in:
   o Visual content like photos, info graphics and  video;
   o Written content like checklists, brochures, blogs, e-books, articles and guides;
   o Audio content like interviews or podcasts

• How will the content be distributed – Blogs, emails, social media posts, downloads,
   sales presentations, webinars, podcasts.

You also need printed or online content to hand out or send prospects when you meet them.

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