As we head into the new year, let’s take some time to reflect on the craziness of 2020. During these past 9-12 months, your business may have struggled, as many other small businesses have. The COVID19 pandemic along with other natural disasters throughout the year have made it very difficult for a lot of small businesses to grow and generate revenue. Now, heading into the last month of 2020, we have a chance to look to a brighter future. While the struggles may still be looming, business owners now have the know-how and understanding of how to overcome the challenges they have faced during these unprecedented times. Taking everything you learned from this year and turning that knowledge into an action plan is the best way for you to succeed.
You probably spent some time here and there jotting down ideas, brainstorming marketing tactics or keeping track of industry trends that you’d like to try. These have turned into a long to-do list of marketing and sales ideas, just waiting around to be implemented. So let’s turn that to-do list into an action plan!
Small business success starts with strategy. Your vision is what builds your business into what it is today, no matter how small or large it may be. You already have so many of the tools that you need to create an action plan and to successfully implement it – but you may not know it yet! In this article you’ll find an outline to get you going on your small business marketing plan. For a deeper dive into building each of the components of this plan and simple tips to start taking action right away, sign up for our free workshop.
4 Step Plan to Build Your Revenue-Generating Action Plan
Step 1: Intent
- Identify your “why” – what’s important to you? Why do you do what you do?
- Put your vision into writing. Create your mission statement and value proposition.
- Identify your 30-60 day SMART goals: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely
- Ex: We will build our email list to 1000 subscribed by March 1, 2021
Step 2: Insight
- Who is your ideal client and why?
- What do you already know about your audience?
- Ex: Data from social media insights, email open/click rates, buyer journey
Step 3: Infrastructure
This is the key piece of the puzzle for a successful marketing plan! You want to be able to understand exactly what you have to work with already, so you don’t have to put a ton of time, money and effort into creating new marketing and sales materials. The infrastructure piece of your marketing plan as well as the “action” step next, will take the most time to plan out. However, these are the most valuable parts of your plan and it will be well worth your time once it’s completed!
- Inventory your current content. Everything is content! Brochures, flyers, old emails, website pages, handouts from sales events, videos, photos…everything! Get an understanding of what you have to work with by putting this all together in a document or on-going working spreadsheet.
- What needs to be improved, updated, recycled?
- What softwares and tools do you have to work with?
- Ex: MailChimp for email marketing, Hootsuite for Social media, WIX for website
- How much time do you and your team have to work on marketing?
- Who can help? Do you have team members with the skills and expertise already?
- This is an important aspect of infrastructure so that you can properly delegate your action items! Time blocking is a great way to get things done. For example, you can decide to dedicate one hour of your time every day to marketing and 2 hours of your assistant’s daily schedule. Whatever works best but make sure that you stick to it!
Step 4: Action
It’s time to take action! Start by using the infrastructure you currently have, take the recommendations and improvements you noted during the last step and prioritize. You can prioritize based on the SMART goals you set in Step 1, and organized using a content marketing calendar.
Your action plan should be set for the first 30-60 days, and reworked as necessary throughout. However, when I say “reworked as necessary”, this doesn’t mean because you didn’t have the time so you skip a bunch of strategies and tactics and just do things that are quicker to get done. That is a recipe for disaster, trust us! When making any changes to your action plan, it should be based on data. You should be consistently reviewing your stats and reports for information that is critical to your business success. While most business owners want to know everything about everything, it’s important to focus on reporting that is directly related to your goals.
For example, if your goal is to increase your email list subscribers to 1000 by March 1, 2021, after each email send you should review any new subscribers and unsubscribes. You should keep an eye on which subject lines and send dates/times perform best so you can make changes to those specific pieces of your strategy. Other tactics within your strategy for growing your list may include social media posts, call to actions within blog articles or on website pages, and email marketing to prospects or new clients asking them to opt in. If that’s the case, you will want to look at the data on which of these tactics are producing the most subscribers and then do more of that, and less of what’s not working. Do not give up altogether too quickly on tactics you feel that aren’t working, many online marketing strategies take time (up to 3 months even) to start generating results!
Your Completed Marketing Plan
Congrats! After you’ve worked through these 4 steps you know have a solid marketing plan for your business. Here are some key takeaways to remember about marketing plans….
- Rework strategies and tactics every month or so based on real data that is directly related to your goals.
- Stick to it! Make a commitment and block off time to ensure that you are putting your all into what needs to be done to implement a marketing plan.
- Delegate! You can’t do it all yourself! Use your team wisely and consider outsourcing to experts for help with website builds, content creation, social media scheduling and even email marketing. Focus on doing what you love to do and what you do best!