A Written Marketing Plan
It is the rare small business that can boast of having a written marketing plan. And the reasons for no plan are strikingly similar:
- “Neither I, nor my team, have the time to create a marketing plan.”
- “Marketing costs money and I’m unsure that we can afford it.”
- “I know my business, but don’t have a clue as to how to produce a marketing plan.”
How about a 2-page marketing plan template that takes little time to complete, requires no budgetary commitment and provides a step-by-step roadmap to generate a workable marketing plan? If that appeals to you, read on!
Let’s start with three guiding principles:
- The effectiveness of your plan is not based on length. It is grounded on practical, no-nonsense action items that address attainment of your marketing goals.
- Flexibility is the order of the day. Your marketing plan is an internal document, not one that requires outside scrutiny and approval. It is a living document that is not emblazoned on tablets of stone. That means experimentation with media and other “delivery systems” to limit spending and maximize effectiveness. In this digital era, there are marketing communication vehicles that require no financial commitment. Likewise volunteerism is essentially cost-free with significant exposure in your community.
- Take the pressure off yourself. Consider the process of developing your marketing plan akin to inviting people to your company open-house. Your objective is to familiarize your target market with your offerings so they may satisfy their needs and tell others of the value you deliver and the solutions you fulfill. To quote a friend, “No one ever bought a product or service they were not aware of.”
Delivering the 2-Page Marketing Plan Promise
Let’s take the mystique out of generating a marketing plan. It really boils down to setting specific goals and making your to-do list to attain them. Here’s the link to the 2-page template in blank form that you can use to flesh out your marketing plan. Page 1 & Page 2
Same Thoughts on Page 2 Entries
As you choose objectives, you may consider a variety of media. Keep in mind that there are digital media outlets that are either free, or can be capitalized on with minimum investment. For example, you may write blogs and distribute to LinkedIn networking groups at no cost.
Email marketing is a way to multiply the effects of your exposure. That means you may create one item for distribution through several different channels. For example, an article written and published in your e-newsletter can do triple duty by being distributed through blogs, posted to your website and submitted as articles to appropriate publications that serve your target audience.
Getting the Word Out
Some other sources to consider:
- Brochures – soft copy and printed
- Local newspaper ads
- Advertising circulars
- Google ads
- Door hangers
- Flyers posted on public bulletin boards
- “Wrap” vehicles – signage, logos, messages
- Social media – Facebook & Twitter for B2C; LinkedIn for B2B
- PR releases
- Free offers of your product/service for certain time-frames
- Volunteering and participating in nonprofit activities
Of course, it is extremely unlikely that any one entity will employ all of the above. However, the list will provoke your thoughts for which may apply in your marketing and prompt you to identify others as well.
Summing Things Up
So, the foregoing will hopefully take the mystery out of marketing plans. It’s as simple as decide where you want to be at the end of a particular period and decide on the steps to take that will get you there … given practical time, money and human resource constraints.