If your answer is hesitant, you’re not alone. A lot of SME’s have an inadequate marketing plan, which makes them better than most, who don’t have one at all. This is understandable. Marketing can seem like a massive job, with so many factors to balance out. It’s not as simple as a profit margin on a sale; marketing is uncertain and it can be hard to tell what works.
There’s lots of understandable fears that come with the idea of developing a marketing plan – and fronting the money for it. These fears can build up, so most SME’s will find, to the point that efforts are punitive or non-existent. You give up.
We have a plan for a marketing plan. It’s quite simple. Start again. Get a blank sheet of paper and start with three words: ‘Do more marketing’. Not a plan, just do more marketing. It’s what SME’s need to do, and you will learn with the process.
Follow the results
Figure out what’s working and stick with it. If marketing is a problem for you, as it is with many, don’t pick a big goal, don’t make the task huge. It’s okay to start small – in fact, it’s better to. You could target your existing clients as a start. This means your marketing is not starting ‘from scratch’. Your clients know you – and you know them.
If you choose this to start, you have some factors to help you. For instance, you may already have a rapport with your client and they are less likely to ignore your marketing attempts. You have information on them and/or their business and how they have used your service in the past. This can make for much more efficient marketing than working from scratch and will produce quicker results.
The next thing to write on this sheet of paper is your targets, and be reasonable. What will you, or the business, have achieved in the next three months? Six months? A year? The time doesn’t matter so much as the aim. Guide it with a principle – aim to grow your business by a certain percentage with marketing to help achieve that.
When figuring out what a good return on investment should be for marketing, aim for a four or five-to-one ratio. So, if you invest £5K on marketing, you should expect to receive £20-25K growth in the business. Consider your current resources and how they may compound in the future if growth occurs – how could your growth affect how much more marketing you could do? Some maths is required here and you should figure out whether your targets match the potential achievements.
Do it and learn
The next part of the process is going for it. But be cautious – fail small. If a company is offering you advertising for a year, just don’t. You need to have a test period to find out what works for you and where the improvements can be made. Then re-evaluate. But don’t jump into a lengthy commitment that could stifle your growth. Start small, and if it works, do more – quite simple, but long contracts with ‘guaranteed’ returns can seem tempting to those with the fears we mentioned earlier.
Keep your marketing plan simple. It does not need to be a mammoth document or even a particularly detailed one yet. Two sides of A4 will suffice for a plan, and two sides is way better than none. You should be thinking about the big W’s. What are you planning to achieve? Who are you going to target your marketing towards? What are you going to do to achieve these plans? When are your targets set for and when are you going to review this plan?
Digital Glue deliver marketing plans and can help your business work towards meeting these targets. We can meet you for a free, two-hour review of your current marketing plan, if you’re one of the minority of businesses that has created one, or helping you to develop one if you haven’t. We can discuss the return on investment potential with a marketing plan and ultimately help make it a reality.
If you feel like your marketing is wasted, get in touch. We’ll make sure your audience starts saying hi back.
You should follow us on twitter while you’re here!