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Simple Ways to Create Small Business Marketing Campaigns

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May 13,2015

By Claire Prendergast, agencyEA

 

Just mention the term “marketing plan” and some entrepreneurs — bursting with great ideas and excitement about the future — lose all their forward momentum. They mistakenly believe that the process of creating a marketing plan will consume vast amounts of time and manpower, distracting them from getting their product made and sold to their target audience.

In fact, the best marketing plans are often the simplest, requiring a short period of concentrated focus and discipline before being completed. “ The good news is that a marketing plan needn’t be encyclopedic or overly time-consuming to prepare,” notes marketing communications consultant Caron Beesley. “In fact, in my experience, the simpler the plan, the more effective it can be.”

Here are some tips for creating a simple marketing plan for your business:


Outline your marketing goals.

Too many small businesses stumble when it comes to knowing what they want to achieve with their marketing campaigns. Obviously, one key goal is to sell your products or services. However, there are numerous other worthy objectives worth considering, such as:

  • Establish a vibrant digital presence
  • Sponsor events to generate greater brand awareness
  • Nurture prospective customers

 

Goals are the core around which a marketing plan is built. They provide shape and direction to your efforts and increase the likelihood of success.

“A clear goal also gives you a benchmark to measure your success against, which makes it easier to track your progress,” says marketing specialist Monica Montesa. As time passes and you don’t feel you’re close to achieving your goal, Montesa adds, “you’ll know right away that there are areas in need of improvement.”

 

Build a detailed customer profile.

The most effective marketing plans include a detailed profile of the business’s target audience.

Focusing on your target customers’ purchasing history and patterns will help you formulate the right tactics as part of the plan. It’s also critically important to understand the challenges your customers face, their traditional print and digital media preferences, the social media sites they frequent and why they should care about your product or service in the first place. The insight and data you gather from these efforts will serve the interests of your business long after a marketing campaign has come and gone.

Decide on the tactics most likely to succeed. The marketing plan should include a list of tactics to reach your desired audience. Depending on the type of campaign you’re considering, such tactics might encompass:

  • Promotional activities
  • Direct mail
  • Email marketing
  • Advertising (online, print, radio, etc.)
  • Social media
  • Webinars
  • Sponsorship of events

 

The best marketing plans avoid reliance on any single tactic. “An integrated approach that delivers a consistent message across multiple, targeted platforms is the best way to ensure you reach your target market and get the most out of your budget,” Beesley advises.

 

Calculate a viable marketing budget.

Determining how much you can afford to spend goes hand in hand with devising workable tactics. One effective approach is attaching a price to each tactic (for example, a specific dollar figure for advertising, how frequently you’ll have to spend during a campaign, and specific one-time expenses, such as designing a marketing campaign landing page). From there, you can prioritize your tactics into a strategic plan of attack.

 

Set a completion date and get your team on board.

The worst thing you can do is to keep the creation of your marketing plan open-ended. As you begin the process, set a deadline for completing the first draft of the plan and stick to it. (You can adapt later on.) This helps ensure your team continues to accelerate forward.

Also, make sure the plan outlines key roles and responsibilities for members of your team. Each individual should clearly understand who is responsible for what activity so the ensuing marketing campaign is smoothly coordinated and aimed at a common goal.

“For small businesses, it’s best to think of a marketing plan as a way to tell a concise story that covers all the key points of your strategy going forward,” says Darren Dahl, a contributing editor at Inc.” Brevity is also important, Dahl says: “The best plans can be told in 15 pages or fewer.”

 


 

About the author:
Claire Prendergast is the Director of Marketing Communications at
agencyEA, a brand experience agency specializing in experiential, digital and traditional engagement in Chicago. She guides the strategic vision of the company’s brand, messaging and voice, while supporting and evolving consumer engagement programs for clients. Prendergast also oversees all of agencyEA’s internal and external marketing communications, including digital marketing and public relations.
 

 

For more information on how you can leverage different online marketing campaigns, check out PR Newswire's guide to creating content marketing campaigns for small business.

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