How would you rate your small business’ marketing efforts in 2017 on a scale of 1 to 10? Did you manage to get a great ROI (return on investment) for every buck spent, or could resources have been used more effectively? These are basic questions you should be asking when preparing your 2018 small business marketing plan. Keeping in mind what happened the year before can help you maximize your efforts for the upcoming time frame.
A Small Business Marketing Plan We Can All Follow
Every small business wants to promote their products and services to their target market no matter if they are a local business or national business. Reaching a potential customer in your target audience can be extremely useful for increasing your marketing to the best of your abilities. Not only can marketing draw in people perfect for your brand, but it can also create general buzz to make your business more well known. Not sure of where to begin? The task of building the right marketing plan for you and your business can seem particularly daunting. But don't worry! We’ve come up with five tips to help you get rolling on a small business marketing plan for 2018… A simple blueprint that anyone can follow and see effective results!
Tip #1: Evaluate What Worked and What Didn’t Work This Past Year
It’s easy for small businesses to get caught up doing things exactly as they have always been done in the past. The beginning of 2018 is the perfect time to reflect on what you did in 2017 and evaluate if that was the best use of your marketing resources. When weeding out the less successful marketing efforts, look at what worked well. Would spending more money and time on that keep yielding greater results or have you come to a point of diminishing returns? If you see one strategy is working you may want to even consider expanding or growing that technique to make an even more positive impact. However, if another technique is hardly working then you may want to consider no longer using that technique.
Tip #2: Determine Exactly What Has Changed
Markets are continuously changing - small business owners should take note and address new competition! A retailer that didn’t have any close competitors three years ago might now find itself with increasing competition from online retailers like Amazon, while simultaneously facing others opening up shop near them. A small business may find that its client base is shifting as demographics change. It’s imperative that you recognize these changes and adjust your marketing efforts to meet these challenges! Marketing ideas should not be stagnant as time and people change. Business plans and marketing should change as new advancements become apparent.
Tip #3: Evaluate How Changes Will Be Implemented
Business owners have so much on their plate. Implementing new marketing strategies becomes part of that “someday” to-do list and gets pushed around. By the end of the year, your small business falls behind because those changes that were desperately needed were never made. Be specific on what is going to be done, who is going to do it, and when it will be completed. Define what resources you will be dedicating to marketing. Even if many small business owners are excited about the idea of doing social media because it is free, it does require a significant amount of time. Be sure to account for both time and money when creating your marketing plan.
Tip #4: Set Clear Expectations for Your Small Business’ Marketing Efforts
What return on investment do you expect from your small business’ marketing efforts? Be realistic and give your plan ample time before you expect to see results. Different marketing strategies produce results at different rates. Do not give up on a method before giving it enough time to foster and grow within a reasonable time limit. Knowing beforehand exactly what you are expecting and allowing adequate time to get those results is essential. At the same time, stop putting resources in marketing efforts that are not getting the results they should be. Just because efforts need time to flourish does not mean you should let techniques not yielding results waste time and funds.
Tip #5: Don't Bite off More Than You Can Chew
Identify the social media channels that you can sufficiently manage and that provide the most value to your business. Of course, it’ll be much easier to determine where to spend your time and efforts if you already have analytics to review. Social media is a very powerful tool that has come to be one of the best ways to build brand awareness. Taking advantage of these platforms can yield great results in a small time frame. Bear in mind that it’s crucial to have a healthy mix. Even if one social media channel might not be driving immediate sales, it might be driving awareness, while building trust with customers. Simply gaining more followers and likes can build the awareness people have about your company and help you to draw in more customers.
The Bottom Line
We hope this information comes in handy. As you can see, even if your small business marketing budget is tight, every buck you spend is just as important, if not more so than those of large corporations. If you don’t plan well at the beginning and are not mindful of the goals you have set, you may find yourself disappointed by the end of the year. That’s the bottom line. Which of these tips did you find the most interesting? Have you or your business used any of these in the past or plan to use some in the future?We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights. Please feel free to kindly leave a comment below. Does your small business marketing plan involve print materials? No matter what your printing needs, 4OVER4 has something for you at an affordable price. We are committed to supporting small businesses in any way that we can! Sign up now to get 30% OFF your first order with 4OVER4.COM!