Marketing your small business can be difficult. Having a small business marketing plan or launch plan will help you be more successful. This launch plan will give you the framework to start creating better marketing for growth. I am going to warn you now, marketing is hard work. If you are ready to market your company the way it was intended to, read on. It is time to take the next step in your business and scale lead generation with fantastic marketing that connects with your ideal customer.
The Launch Plan (Small Business Marketing Plan):
- Marketing Does Not Live on Sticky Notes or Spreadsheets
- Effective Marketing Start by Identify Your Ideal Customers
- Yes, Your Customer Cares About Your Marketing Message
- Lead Generation Does Not Grow on Trees
- Stay Focused by Setting Realistic Goals
- The Only Way To Get Ahead is to Execute Your Booty Off
- Learn from Your Mistakes, Use Data to Drive Future Growth
Marketing Does Not Live on Sticky Notes or Spreadsheets
Have you ever worked in a company that uses sticky notes for prospects? How does anyone track the progress of your sales pipeline? How do you transfer leads when a salesperson moves companies? How do you track revenue back to your marketing activities?
Before you start marketing, ensure that you are setting your company up for success. Implementing a CRM (customer relationship management) will help your sales staff stay organized, manage more leads, and track revenue back to marketing activities. Your CRM is vital to the success of your marketing, make sure that you are set up for success.
5 reasons you should use a CRM in your small business.
- Improve customer relations – Your CRM tracks all customer activities and conversations. A CRM will let anyone on your team get a high-level look at the history of your customer.
- Increase Your Revenue – The data stored in your CRM will help identify marketing campaigns that worked, letting you focus on the campaigns that drive revenue.
- Maximize upselling or cross-selling – One of the easiest ways increase revenue is through offering upgrades or additional products. With the help of your CRM, your company can offer additional products or services when your customer is ready. The best part, this can all be automated.
- Marketing & Sales Alignment – A CRM will give different departments the ability to communicate and share data. This communication will align your marketing campaigns with sales initiatives. Alignment for the win!
- Better Marketing – The data in your CRM will allow your marketing team to build better campaigns that are targeted to the needs of your customer. The better your marketing team knows the customer, the more effective your marketing will be.
Building your CRM should be a priority. Your CRM will help your business grow and scale. At some point, your spreadsheets and sticky notes will overwhelm you and your sales staff.
Effective Marketing Start by Identify Your Ideal Customers
We have all had that customer from H-E double hockey sticks. You know the customer that sucks all your margin out of your service and leaves a 2-star Yelp review. Let’s make a stand. Let’s start finding the customer we like and want to work with.
Before we can work with the ideal client, we need to identify who they are. By identifying the right customer, we will be able to find them easier and more effectively.
To identify your ideal customer, we need to build a customer persona. A customer persona is a fictional representation of our ideal client. The goal of the customer persona is to identify their pain points and allow us to build a story that relates (more to come).
Steps to Build A Customer Persona
- Give Your Persona A Name – Giving your persona a name makes them feel real.
- Identify their role, job, and company – Knowing the daily routine of your persona will help you relate and build a relationship.
- Uncover Demographics – Use your knowledge of your persona to identify their age, gender, income, etc. The more details you provide the better.
- Goals, challenges, and pain point – Get to know what is keeping your persona up at night. Identify the solutions your company can help with.
- Figure Out How They Describe Themselves – Try to get in the head of the persona to really understand how they think.
- Develop a Bio – Tell the story about your persona, how they become who they ate today.
- Put It on Paper – Once you have the information on your persona, put it on paper and print it out. Keep your persona handy so you can craft a marketing message to convert.
The customer person is the starting point of a great marketing campaign. Getting inside the customer’s head is often overlooked as most companies want to get to tactics (yes, super important, more on this later). Just remember, the better you know your customer, the better you can identify how to find your customer. This will make your tactics more effective.
Below is a template that you can use to get started building your first customer persons.
Yes, Your Customer Cares About Your Marketing Message
The majority of marketing fails because the message is wrong. The reality is that most companies rely on graphic designers to develop and build our marketing collateral. They are great at their craft, but ultimately, they have degrees and experience in design. Crafting your marketing message is not in their wheelhouse.
Clarifying your message to your ideal customer, told you that the customer persona was important, will improve your marketing efforts. Be direct and clear with your customer and show them how you are the right solution to their problem. If you require your customer to spend too much time on your message, you lost. You get 3 seconds to relate to them, make it count.
In order to build a marketing message that converts, we need to tell a story. This is how people process data and information. We also need to ensure that the “ideal customer” is the hero of the story, not your company. You will always be the sidekick, Jedi master, sensei, or in our case co-pilot. Place your ideal customer at the center of your story and your message will knock it out of the park.
5 Steps to Craft Your Marketing Message
- Identify Your Character – Use your customer persona worksheet
- Identify Your Character’s Problem – Use your customer persona worksheet
- Identify Your Company as A Co-Pilot – Remember, you are not the main character. Show empathy and demonstrate authority. Show them you can help solve their problem.
- Show Them the Plan – Show how you can help ease their pain. Be specific and ensure they are able to follow your directions. Your plan to solve their problem will provide clarity.
- Call Your Customer-to-Action – Tell your customer what you want them to do next. This could be “buy now” or it could be “download our free whitepaper”. The stage in the story will help you know what call-to-action works best.
Stop wasting your marketing dollars with a message that does not resonate with your audience. The more you define your message, the more effective your marketing is going to be. Your marketing message matters, get it right.
Lead Generation Does Not Grow on Trees
This is where the rubber meets the road. If you believe that marketing is free, then stop reading now and get back to cold calling. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses should invest 5-7% of their sales into marketing.
Yup, that is right. Marketing is an investment. You must fuel your marketing rocket ship in order to get into orbit. There are two types of marketing investment.
People are not free. In order to create a website, marketing message, or post on Facebook there is labor cost. Even if you are doing your marketing as the owner of your business, DIY style, there is a cost associated with this. Typically, labor is going to eat up the majority of your 5-7% marketing budget.
You can take the route of organic or free marketing, like blogging or social media. Just know that this type of marketing is going to take 6-12 months to pay off. It is not going to happen overnight. Add fuel to the fire by investing in social media ads, pay per click ads, tradeshows, or even that Chamber of Commerce membership. Use your customer persona to drive your investment. Know your customer, know where to invest your marketing rocket fuel.
If you really want to grow your business, you are going to have to open up the pocketbook and invest in labor and expenses. Rocket fuel is not free.
Stay Focused by Setting Realistic Goals
Everything is set. The target customer has been identified, the marketing message is in place, and the budget has been approved. It is time to start pulling the marketing levers and generate some cash. Cha-Ching.
Before you jump too far into execution, make sure you set realistic goals or key performance indicators. By taking a moment or two, you are going to improve your future marketing activities. Setting your key performance indicators will help you decide if your marketing is working. This will help you identify the tactics that produce desired results.
Not all KPI’s are revenue driven. 7 KPI examples
- Increase website users by 25% in 6 months
- Increase conversion for landing pages by 5%
- Engage with 500 new contacts on social media
- Develop 1 new channel partner
- Post 2 times per day to Facebook and Twitter
- Increase sales by 10% this quarter
- Decrease cost per lead by 15%
Key performance indicators help us understand how our marketing is performing. By identifying your KPI’s you are going to execute on the right marketing tactics and stop wasting your marketing dollars.
The Only Way To Get Ahead is to Execute Your Booty Off
This is where the rubber meets the road. Promise me, you are not going to be the company that talks for months, tweaking, ideating, and never getting anything done. If you do not execute against your marketing, you will never see any results. It is as simple as that, not going to belabor the point.
“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week”. – General Patton
Learn from Your Mistakes, Use Data to Drive Future Growth
You have been executing and getting results. Your marketing efforts are finally starting to pay off. Now, it is time to optimize your marketing by using the data captured in your CRM. Aha, it all comes full circle.
It is time to measure your key performance indicators to see what is working and what is not working. Your data and analytics will set your marketing strategy for the next round. Marketing never sleeps, so make sure that it is driving the right outcomes.
Marketing Without Data Is Like Driving with Your Eyes Closed – Dan Zarrella
Small Business Marketing Plan
We already know how hard it is to start a business. So, the hard work marketing bring your company is going to be cake, right? Not so fast. Marketing is hard work. However, in order to get the most out of your small business marketing efforts, you need to create a system that works. From B2B demand generation to B2C demand generation, ensure that you follow these steps for every campaign. This will help your company build a framework and marketing discipline to get more done and drive the marketing results you are looking for. The discipline will ensure that you continue to move forward and not become the “ideator”.
Note: The “ideator” is great at talking, but not at doing. Marketing takes doers.
I hope that this has given you some small business marketing ideas and motivates you to roll up your sleeves and get started building your small business marketing plan. You can do it, the ball is in your court.
Sometimes you need a little help getting started. Let us give you a free marketing assessment to get you moving in the right direction.