Small Business Marketing Plan Outline
Follow this small business marketing outline to learn how content marketing and social media can hit your traffic and sales goals.
Not Enough Time
It’s easy to lose marketing momentum when you're busy running your business day to day.
No Clear Next Steps
It can be hard to step back in and know the best next step marketing-wise after you've been away from it for a while.
Also, there’s something about being so close to your own business that it's hard to see the big picture (not seeing the forest for the trees).
This article will give you a marketing guideline to follow so when you feel stuck you can refer to it and take the next logical step.
This Marketing Plan Outline Has...
- Traffic – Need more visitors to site Leads
- Leads – Have visitors, but they’re not taking action
- Sales – Getting visitors or leads, but they’re not becoming sales
Traffic - Content
- On-site blog Social media Content curation
- Article posting
- Guest posts
LEADS - Credibility - Enticements like free tools, white papers, podcast/MP3 files
- Contact form
- Call to action
- Follow up
SALES - Conversions
- On-site copy and photos
- Check out process
- Customer service
A good plan starts with the goal in mind. In your marketing plan, there might be two or three objectives – to get traffic, collect leads and make sales.
Or it might be easier to focus on only one of these, Conversions (leads or sales) for example, if you’re already getting traffic. Or you’ll goal will be traffic if not enough people are landing on your site.
Inbound Lead Sources
Here are the most cost effective methods of receiving inbound leads according to a survey by marketing software company HubSpot.
In this study, people agree that Blogs, Social Media and SEO are the most cost-effective ways of getting leads from the internet.
Let’s look at how each method can bring traffic.
Inbound Traffic – Create and Share Content
Whether looking for sales or to get more people to your site. There are two things that will happen:
- People arrive directly at a page of your site
- People see something you post elsewhere that links to your site
Here are Five Steps to Generate Traffic
On-Site Blog Social Media Content Curation Article Posting Guest Blogging
Blogging - Helps Traffic and SEO
Studies have shown that the more you blog, the more traffic you’re likely to gain from it.
There are probably two reasons for this; first the increased content provides more material to be found by searchers and search engines (Google).
Second, the more often you add content, the more Google considers your site a good information source and might be more likely to show material in the search results (is the theory).
Blogging Builds Credibility, Helps with Conversions
Another advantage of blogging is it makes you look like an expert in your field.
If you post new blogs a couple times a month, you’re on top things. If you publish a couple times a week, you’re practically a news source for your field – talk about being seen as an expert!
Social Media Marketing - For Traffic, Awareness and Credibility
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about how social media works if you’re not used to using it.
It’s not “free” because it takes some time to use it, BUT it’s not hard to get in the habit and it can be fun and a great way to network.
The social media platforms most people use are Facebook, Instagram (the new hot one), Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn if you’re a B2B service provider.
Simple Social Media Marketing
Share your own content like blogs/articles, white papers, new product pages, inforgraphics, videos, etc.
- “Curate” content valuable to your readers – this means reposting/retweeting and commenting on content your audience will find valuable.
Curating is classic networking. Try not to share your direct competitors too much (but sometimes leverage the audience of the biggest in your field), but instead share with people in related businesses with whom you can build a mutually beneficial relationship.
RELATED: Get a Custom Marketing Plan for your business! Call us at (424) 237-8155.
How to Do Social Media Marketing
Here’s a brief summary on how to use popular social media sites for to build Traffic and Credibility.
LinkedIn is now much more than a resume and job posting site, there are interactive groups and places to post your own links and comments.
On LinkedIn you can also have a company page, upload header photos, it’s a lot like Facebook. If you’re in B2B and haven’t been on LinkedIn a while, check it out.
Twitter is fast-paced environment that’s very interactive. People mention each other by using their @username in retweets or replies or to reference someone.
You’ll get a notification for every mention, which makes it easy to keep up on the conversation without needing to be on Twitter all day.
You don’t have to engage heavily in Twitter. It’s ok to post a short message a link to your online blog or other page. But you might find it addictive!
Twitter makes it easy to meet other people because of the notifications feature and because they recommend people to Follow in the sidebar.
Pinterest is used more by women than men and it’s a good medium for visually aesthetic products like art, furnishings, homemade goods. However, that’s not to say B2B companies or less tangible services couldn’t find a way to put it to good use – if you think you’re best prospects are likely to be found there.
NOTE: Facebook marketing has changed in 2014 – 2015!
It’s harder to get your posts seen in Facebook unless you pay for their advertising.
It’s still worthwhile to post links to your content on Facebook, because some people will see it. But it might not be worth investing to build a large group of fans because such a small percentage of them will see your material.
Facebook is a good place to answer questions and conduct customer service. And it’s worth having a presence because people might still search for you there.
Instagram uses photos as the main part of its message – but look how even B2B company FedEx has found ways to use it creatively and effectively, http://www.fastcolabs.com/3019809/why-startups-should-use-instagram-for-marketing
Also, it’s easy to connect Instagram to Twitter and Facebook so if you do get good at using it, it’s automatically shared to your other two accounts, a major time saver.
RELATED Articles on Social Media Marketing:
Get a Custom Marketing Plan for your business! Call us at (281) 624-5835.
Why Use Content Curation
- Provide information that your audience will find useful
- Helps you build relationships or leverage the audiences of others
- Shows you’re up on the trends in your field, builds your credibility
How to Curate Content
- Share via social media (mentioned above)
- Place someone else’s article on your website
- Link out to a related article (as we did here by linking to the FedEx – Instagram article in Fast Company)
This is when you write an article and another website publishes it to their readers. Almost always there’s an author bio box with a link back to your site.
At a minimum your company or product name should be mentioned, and usually with a link to the relevant page of your site.
Guest blogging is another way to build traffic and build your creditability as an expert in your field.
A Note About Guest Blogging in 2015...
Google has started to frown on guest blogging just for the sake of building backlinks to boost your SEO score.
Therefore, use it wisely with actual blogs related to your field or those that share your audience. Try to use it to get in front of quality readers, not just as a backlink and it should be fine with Google.
When you write original content, such as a blog post or article, there are places so share it online to help you gain backlinks and exposure.
It’s also a good idea to find sites related to your line of work where you can get exposure to your best audience.
Article Sharing Sites (a partial list):
- Content Gems
- SlideShare.net - A great place to share PowerPoint presentations and PDFs
- Vimeo and YouTube - Good for sharing video content
Posting articles in sites like these should be done in addition to using your own Social Media site to share your content, as discussed above.
Enticements - like free tools, white papers, podcast/MP3 files Contact method - email form or phone number Call to action Follow up
A “Lead” might mean filling out a form, calling an 800 number, downloading a document or booking an appointment online.
Website visitors alone are rarely a lead because just having someone visit your site doesn’t move the sale forward
Your Leads Might Be Sales
Some businesses won’t have leads . They might just have sales. Amazon for example doesn’t require a lot of customer interaction. People either order or they don’t. This is a nice simple model for less expensive items which tend to have shorter sales cycles.
How to Get Leads
Usually people need to be prompted to complete information by a, “What’s in it for me?” type giveaway. Basically you need to offer something of value before people will turn over their information like email address or phone number.
The Four Elements to Lead Capture
- Giveaway – free informational paper, consultation, comparison tool (think loans or insurance)
- Call to action – “Sign Up Now”, etc.
- Contact source – a form, phone number
- Follow up ability – email responder, customer service process
Facebook Sign-Up Page Example
Here is an example of how Facebook had a simple sign up page to get people to join:
Lead Capture Tools
Call to Action Landing Page (or Squeeze Page) Tools or WP Plugins
The WordPress plugins just below are free, but there are reports of being buggy. Read latest reviews for updated information:
WP Landing Pages WP Calls to action WP Landing Pages WP Leads
Paid or Free Trial Services:
- Inbound Now
- Optimize Press 2.0
- Thrive Content Building and Landing Pages
Email Auto Responders
For many businesses, capturing a lead means collecting an email address and automatically generating emails or delivery of electronic material.
Check out these services for capturing email addresses and generating automatic (or manual) emails:
- Get Response
- Constant Contact
On-site copy and photos Site trust Check out process Customer service
The Sales process of your marketing plan might replace or have some overlap with the Leads process.
The most important parts of online sales are:
- Product or service description
- Site trust
- Checkout process
It’s always hard to get nudge people to actually take action online. What and how to say the right things to move a customer to action depends on what’s being sold. But here are some generalities...
High quality copywriting often uses these three elements:
- Excitement – make it a must-have
- Urgency – limited time type offers or language (“scarcity”)
- Assurances – Safe to buy seals, or customer testimonials
And Visuals – Again, it depends on what’s being sold, but having a visual image of the product for sale is almost always a requirement
Simple to use sites like SquareSpace or Shopify now make it easy to offer all-angles views for selling things like clothing.
Electronic Product Photos
Even electronic products can benefit from a visual representation
Use product reviews and customer testimonials to provide assurance and lower resistance to making the sale: (see Customer Reviews directly under product purchase page):
Site and Payment Security
Verification seals by familiar names can be the final key to winning a sale. Familiar types of merchant verification are:
Short Check Out Process
It’s said that a check out process should be no more than two pages long. One page is even better.
Shopping cart abandonment rates are already as high as 30% for online retailers
If you’re losing sales after people select an item, but don’t follow through on the sale it might be worth testing different checkout options, including collecting only the information you need to fill the order.
A lot of resources are invested to get a customer to select an item; it’s smart to keep as many of these sales as possible.
How Is Your Customer Service?
- Do you offer online or telephone chat before the sale?
- Do you send an email confirmation right after a sale? And a tracking number as soon as an order is sent, or other confirmation?
- Can customers talk to a person on the phone?
These are all things that can be deal maker or deal breakers in making online sales or getting repeat sales.
Custom Marketing Plan
Want a marketing plan created specifically for your business, customers and goals?
We can develop a custom marketing plan that includes marketing calendar detailing the steps we offer to improve your copywriting, social media marketing and content creation. It's a customized solution made specifically for you!
Call us at (424) 237-8155 for a free consultation.