Around 50% of all small business have a written marketing plan – that means the other 50% don’t…
That’s a scary number because the benefits of having a written small business marketing plan are pretty clear and obvious
- They don’t know where to start
- They think it will take ages to complete
It doesn’t have to take ages and there’s plenty of free templates out there to help with the first issue
I’d actually throw in another factor that puts people off without them even realising it – especially if they are a smaller, owner-operated business – and that’s the difficulty in planning and budgeting their marketing 12 months in advance
12 months can go in the blink of an eye but at the same time, if you ask a micro business owner to put on paper what they should be doing next November? Or what funds they’ll have available to invest? Chances are their crystal ball may let them down..
In my experience many small business owners need to know what they should be doing next Tuesday, not next November
That’s why you may want to focus your small business marketing plan on just next month. Or quarters at most.
Alternatively, if you subscribe to the ‘Buying Customers’ philosophy (aiming to break even on your lead generation investment with the initial transaction then making your profits on the back end, repeat purchases, upsells etc) then you might want to look at the time it takes to acquire that lead then nurture it to the first sale
But even then that’s unlikely to fit neatly into a 12 month plan that starts 1st January or ends 31st December
So rather than getting fixated with a rigid 12 month plan, as long as you have a long term vision and goal, so you know ultimately what you’re striving to achieve, it may make more sense to just think about what you need to prioritise this month and build the written plan around that
You’ll still get the benefits of having it written down, so that you can refer back to it and be held accountable, but it’s not going to have big scary projects where you’re petrified with fear about how to get started, or the silly amount it’s going to cost
Rather than something impenetrable on an annual plan like ‘Create Direct Mail Campaign’ you can focus this month on ‘Getting 50 hot leads mailing addresses’ then deal with what follows on from that in due course
Then update your plan for the following month according to what you’ve achieved
Of course, for other businesses this short-termist approach wouldn’t fit and a longer term marketing plan is absolutely the right way to go – I’m just throwing this out there as an alternative for those that find a typical annual marketing plan all a bit too much