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6 Questions to Answer to Develop a Simple Small Business Marketing Plan on a Budget

Marketing your business on a budget is simple when you have a plan!

Every small business needs a clear marketing plan in order to stop wasting money and overcome the overwhelm. It’s possible to have robust marketing without a million dollar budget. All it takes is goal setting, planning for action and great reporting! Let’s dive into the questions you should start with to build your simple small business marketing plan on a budget.

1. Who is my target audience?

Identifying your target audience is the first piece of a successful marketing plan. Your small business marketing should be catered directly towards attracting and converting your ideal client. Start by gathering everything you know about your ideal audience. You can use buyer persona interviews and market research, as well as internal insight from your team about what makes the “perfect client”. Be as specific as possible in noting their wants, needs, questions, problems, how they research solutions, where they hang out online and how they interact with businesses like yours. 

2. What are my SMART goals for this quarter?

Setting your SMART goals [here’s a free SMART goal template from the marketing experts at Hubspot]  is the most important piece of your marketing plan because these goals will help you define all marketing activities and strategies needed to hit those goals. Everything in your marketing plan should be focused around accomplishing your specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals that were set for the quarter. We recommend setting quarterly goals, but you can include monthly or weekly goals within those if that’s what fits for your business. Everyone on your team should be aware and aligned on your goals and have an understanding that the marketing plan is in place in order to achieve them.

3. What infrastructure do I have in place?

Creating a marketing plan on a budget all comes down to identifying what you already have to work with! Your marketing plan doesn’t all have to be brand new ideas,tools, systems, tactics and strategies. Much of it will be things you are already doing that are working well. Consistency is important to achieve your goals as well as make activities easier for the team and for you to accomplish. If you are already using an email client that works well for your needs, a website platform and social media scheduler, stick to it! Identify what content you already have to work with as well. Flyers, brochures, video footage, and any other marketing material should all be inventoried. You can then work through your content calendar by recycling these items into new content, email marketing or social media posts. 

4. What action needs to take place to achieve my goals?

This is the question that will really help you build out your marketing plan within your ideal budget. Taking what you are already doing that is working well and removing all activities that are not working or not measurable (you can’t identify if they have brought you business and/or the cost is greater than the return) will be your first step. Then, use our FREE content calendar to build out marketing strategies for blogging, social, email, downloadable offers and paid ads. When it comes to building out a content strategy, we recommend creating one downloadable offer for the quarter and blogging once per week (at least!) and then building out social and email marketing strategies around that content. Your offer can be a guide, a video, a template, an eBook, a checklist, an infographic….whatever you think will provide the most value to your audience! Your blogs will then help promote that offer (and your services related to the offer) and include keywords that are specific to your business’ offerings. 

5. What am I responsible for and who else can help?

The biggest benefit of having a marketing plan is the ability to focus on doing what you love! Overcoming the overwhelm of running your business as well as marketing your business starts with a clear plan of action. Identify what you absolutely need to be responsible for within the plan. Using the content calendar, you can delegate tasks to team members (or outsource to experts!). Don’t put it all on yourself, remember that delegating may cost you a little extra money but it will save you a ton of time which is extremely valuable to the well-being of yourself and your business! You may delegate out all content marketing and just be responsible for the review and approval before it goes out, or maybe hire a Virtual Assistant to help with admin tasks such as formatting, scheduling, updating and reporting. However you decide to delegate, just remember to stick to it and stay consistent. 

6. How will I report on results?

The last piece of “action” to include in your marketing plan is how you will identify if strategies are working. Reporting on your results on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis is critical to understanding not only if specific marketing efforts are producing results but also understanding more about your target audience. The best way to continue to learn about your audience is to produce content and report on how they are receiving it. Information such as, “What types of email subject lines get the best open rates? “, “Which call to action on our website has the most clicks?”, “Which website page is the most viewed and highest converting?”. For businesses on a budget, this reporting is crucial. You do not want to waste any of your marketing dollars on efforts that are not generating results. Especially when it comes to print and paid advertising, each effort should be measurable so that you can easily track business that has been produced from it. When thinking through new (or even current/old) strategies for your plan, be sure to make note of what call to action will be used, how it will be tracked and what the goal of that specific effort is. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • These 6 questions relate directly to building your marketing plan based on intent, insight, infrastructure and action. 
  • For building a marketing plan on a budget, focus on your infrastructure piece. The tools, content, systems and marketing materials you already have should be utilized and recycled.
  • All activities in your marketing plan should be focused on your SMART goals and your ideal audience. 
  • Make sure to delegate! Identify what you absolutely need to be responsible for and what you can hire for or delegate to team members. Your time is valuable!
  • Budget conscious marketing plans focus on reporting! Everything should be trackable, easy to measure and producing results that are specific to your goals.

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