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Start with a Marketing Plan, Then Apply Tactics

Strategic Marketing moves

Why every small business needs to start with a marketing strategy.

Too many small businesses use a “spaghetti ” approach to marketing, they throw it against the wall and see what sticks!

Small business tends to take a fragmented approach to marketing. They have a website because their competitor has one. They’re on Facebook because their teenage son says everyone’s on Facebook. No rhyme or reason, just jump in with both feet!

Take a step back and breathe.

If you needed a storage shed in your backyard, you wouldn’t rush to the hardware store, buy a bunch of supplies and go home and start building. You’d have a plan, right? Assess your needs. Pick a location in your yard. Buy a blueprint or a prefab kit. Maybe even hire a contractor if you didn’t have the skills or the time to do it yourself.

You need a marketing plan too. But where to begin?

1. Start with a business vision.
What does your business stand for? What are your core values?
What do you do? What services, products, solutions do you provide?
Where do you want to go? This year, next year, in 3 years in 5 years?
How does this business make a difference in the lives of its customers?

2. Identify your ideal client.
Image your favourite customer. You enjoy doing business with them. They appreciate what you do. They are repeat customers. They are profitable. They refer others.
How can you attract more ideal clients?

3. What your competitive difference?
What problem do you solve for your ideal client?
Ask your existing ideal clients. How do you make your customer’s life better or easier? Do you make them more money? Make them safer? Make them healthier?

4. Now, set your priorities.
What are the tactics that will make the most difference? Is there any low hanging fruit? Are there any immediate opportunities?

5. Create a Marketing Calendar.
Sticking to a set marketing calendar will keep you focused and stop you from being distracted by the “flavour of the month” or something crazy your competitor is doing. Having monthly or quarterly themes will keep your marketing message consistent.

6. Execute the plan.
Now it’s time to put your new marketing plan in motion. Stay disciplined, your marketing plan isn’t a quick fix. It will take some time to gain traction. Make marketing part of your routine OR someone else’s routine OR hire an outside consultation to do the work. You’ve done the hard part by building the plan, execution easy.

7. Measure.
How will you know if your marketing is working? You should set goals and measure your success. Consider measuring some or all of the following:

• Sales
• Margins
• Leads
• Lead Conversion
• Web Site Analytics
• Social Media Metrics

8. Revisit and revise.
Remember your marketing is an ongoing project. Things will change; the market, your competitors, your ideal clients. Your marketing will need to change too.

By taking this strategic approach to your marketing, your business will become more focused, more profitable and much less chaotic.

Written by Dave Kohtala

Dave Kohtala is a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant,
Dave owns and operates Strategy First Marketing, a marketing consulting company, specializing in strategic small business marketing.
Dave can be contacted by email: davek@strategyfirstmarketing.ca