Money - Business
By: - at January 16, 2013

Basics of Marketing Plans for Small Business

An Introduction to Marketing Plans
Many small business owners find it often hard to adopt the best marketing strategies to promote their businesses, products and services.  Even the best products will not take off or gain popularity without using appropriate marketing strategies.  That is why business organizations, firms and companies in all types of business, spend a lot of money to promote their products and services.  Small businesses need marketing plans and marketing budgets just as much as multinational corporations.  To get the desired results from the marketing campaign it is very important to formulate some marketing strategies that your small business can implement.

Marketing Strategy

Here are some marketing plan basics for a small business:

Marketing Plans
Planning is crucial to achieve any goal for your business.  If you want to implement a marketing strategy successfully then you must develop a solid marketing plan and steps to achieve it. No matter how small your business is if you are going to make money from it then you are going to need a marketing plan.  Implement the marketing programs according to the plans.  It will save you time and money and give you the optimum results.

A well-developed marketing plan includes everything from how much money you are going to spend on advertising, what is your target market, how you are going to reach your target market, and what your unique selling proposition will be to differentiate your product from competitors.  Two key components of marketing plans for your small business are the marketing budget and the marketing strategy.

Marketing Budget
Marketing BudgetMarketing budget is an important part of your small business marketing plan.  Essentially, the marketing budget will be in accordance with the marketing plans.  But the marketing budget does not necessarily have to be set in stone and often will change based on the needs of your business.  During the course of the year you may not have the funds to recruit staff for a marketing role or to hire a marketing company to run the promotional activities for your business.  In situations like these you have to have alternative strategies you can implement later in response to changing variables.  Also you may need to introduce a new marketing tactic if the situation demands.  So you need to make some room in the budget to deal with all these situations and to give yourself some wiggle room.

Marketing Strategies
Marketing is a very challenging job.  It takes time, money and a lot of work including preparation, branding, and advertising.  When it comes to preparing good marketing strategies, you should have a detailed marketing plan for your small business.  The size of your business, expected returns, sales targets, assets of your company, competition in the market, and the budget for marketing programs will be central to the marketing strategies for your small business.

There is no denying the fact that although a physical presence of your business is still very important, many small business owners have found that Internet marketing is the best small business marketing strategy.  It is true today that without a strong online presence, your business can miss out on many prospective customers as more and more people are using the Internet to find information, products, and services.

Get the Word Out in the Real World
Word of mouth advertisingIf you are looking for some small business marketing strategies both online and offline, then you have come to the right place.  The most important thing that you will need to understand is whatever business you may have, networking is the most important strategy to expand your business and to keep current customers.  You may have the best website for your small business with all the nice features or widgets, but it will not bring in customers for you unless people know you have started a business.  So by establishing a strong network online and offline, you can get people to know what you have got to sell, and how you are better than competitors.  Spread the word about your company whenever you can, and remember word of mouth advertising is extremely powerful.

Now when it comes to getting the real world to know about your small business, you have to tell as many people as possible.  You can do it pretty easily by talking to family members, friends, and past and present co-workers.  Get the word out whenever you can.  Maybe you attend some clubs or are a member of social societies and sporting groups.  Use these interactions to further promote your business.  Let people in these circles know about your small business and tell them what sets you apart.  Chances are some of these people will share the information with other people they know.  Everyone you come in contact with may be potential customer.

Online Networking

Online NetworkingSocial media websites can be a great source of getting the word out about your small business.  You can easily share information on social networking websites and get people interested in your business.  In fact there are many small business owners who rely hugely on social networking on the Internet to get business, and also to promote their products and services.

Online and Offline Advertising
Advertising in the real world through print ads, banners, and window displays can be very effective for promoting your business.  On the Internet you can advertise your business through PPC (Pay Per Click) ads.  PPC ads are an effective way to promote your small business on the web.  You will pay the online advertising merchants to put online ads about your company on various websites, blogs, and forums.

SEM and Blogging
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and blogging are other effective tools you can use to market your business online.  You can get a lot of traffic or visitors to your website through search engine marketing.  SEM will list your website highly in search engines which will drive more traffic to your website.  Blogging is another way to promote your business.  Writing good and helpful content will help you develop a following to your website which will further increase the traffic to your website.  You can write for yourself or pay freelance writers or bloggers to blog for you in order to promote your small business through business blogging.

Setting up a small business might be easy but getting customers can be the hardest part for your small business.  Without customers a business will fail.  All of these marketing strategies online and offline that were mentioned above can be very effective to promote your products and services.  You should develop your marketing plans based on the strategies you are going to stick to, and the marketing budget.  You should also consider developing marketing plans for a minimum duration of one year.  Time spent in developing a good marketing plan can be the best way to implement all of your marketing strategies to reach and connect to your customers.





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