What are you looking to accomplish with your marketing strategy?

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Marketing is scary. It’s an entire world in itself. That’s why most businesses have someone who just does marketing. Because, if you’re not used to it, trained for it, or well-versed in it, it seems like a pretty daunting task to take on. But many small businesses can’t afford to hire someone in-house, or even take on a consultant. For those businesses, the best thing to do is come up with a plan.

It’s always a good idea to come up with a plan — just ask any Type A person. But in this case, it’s an exceptionally good idea. That’s because marketing isn’t a one-off thing. It’s a strategy you put in place and amend as needed. Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips to get you on the right track.

Think about where you are.

Think about where you want to be.

Think about your resources.

Come up with a budget.

Figure out a timeline.
Put it all together.

  • Think about where you are. Sit down with a pad and paper — or your laptop, whichever works — and start answering these questions:
    • How new is your business?
    • What do you do?
    • What do you offer?
    • What are you currently doing to get out there (marketing-wise)?
      • Of those, what’s working and what isn’t?
  • Think about where you want to be. Don’t think about this one from a marketing perspective. Think about your business. What do you want your business to be like? What do you want to achieve?
  • Think about your resources. Now’s the time to get realistic. What do you have on hand? This can include employees who can do certain marketing tasks, software, partnerships, etc. Anything you can use an asset in the implementation of your marketing plan.
  • Come up with a budget. Look at what you can reasonably spend on marketing. Don’t say zero. There is always a small amount that can be moved around. This is an essential tool for your business. Even if you say $10, that’s a starting point. And you have to start somewhere. Remember, though, you have to increase that over time. Your marketing reach won’t expand if your budget doesn’t. That said, don’t go crazy and commit the majority of your budget to marketing. It’s not necessary and probably won’t help you in the long run. The age-old advice that throwing money at a problem won’t solve it is right in this case, too. Being realistic is the best way to go about this.
  • Figure out a timeline. Remember bullet number 2 — the one where you determined where you want to be? Well, now you have to figure out what your time frame is for getting there. Be as realistic as you can. It often helps to work in increments. Perhaps start with a 6-month plan with goals for the end of that period. Then move on to a year-long plan.
  • Put it all together. At this point, you know where you are and where you want to be. You know what resources you have to commit to your marketing, and you know how much money you want to spend to make it happen. Now, put it all together. Create a list of marketing goals you can accomplish using the information you’ve just compiled. Here’s an example of a list of goals you could create:
    • Social media marketing: Pay outside company $x per month.
    • Print/TV advertising: $x per month
    • Commit x employee to 10 hours per week marketing/social media interaction
    • Sponsor three nonprofit events, for a total of $x over the course of 6 months
    • Create/share three partnership posts per month

Those are just examples. There’s so much you can do. The possibilities really are endless, and you don’t need a ton of money to make your marketing goals happen.

Need help? Give us a shout. We can help walk you through your goals and get you on the right track.

Elaina Lyons is the founder/owner of Lyons Share Marketing, LLC. Get in touch with her here.
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