Every business that wants to success needs a marketing plan — even if it’s only one page to start with. Focus on the coming year with an eye to the next two to four. Choose your marketing team and engage them in a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Reflect on your goals, zero in on target markets, define products and services, and list the challenges you face building your brand. Add a 12-month media calendar, and a block budget to track spending.
On a monthly basis, track your analytics, then update your marketing plan annually to record what works and what you need to change and improve to reap the benefits of a solid marketing strategy.
About 50% of small businesses do not have a website, but it’s the smart entrepreneur who understands the need for an engaging online portal. While the upfront costs can be considerable, think of it as a long-term investment. If you build on a dynamic content management system, your code base should last at least five years.
With the ever-increasing use of mobile devices your portal must be responsive – which means the content reflows to adapt to various screen sizes from desktop through to mobile phone.
Once you launch your portal, remember that websites are organic entities – they must be fed to remain relevant and to increase your chances of rising to the top of various search engines. Make sure your web master optimizes your metadata as new content gets uploaded.
Social media is a powerful brand builder. Statistics show its users are more likely to buy from the businesses they follow online than from those they don’t. Determine which social media platforms are most popular with your buyers based on their interests and relationships, and become an active player on that social hub.
Start with one social media network, scan for problems you can solve, then post meaningful advice. The first step is to earn trust – never overtly oversell. Share original content by linking back to your website whenever you can, but also promote access to relevant online resources that you find useful and engaging.
So there you have it: an effective marketing strategy in just three easy steps. Depending on where you are in your small business brand building, roll out these tactics concurrently or focus on one at a time.