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4 Steps to Create a Smarter, More Strategic Marketing Plan for Your Small Business

4 Steps to Create a Smarter, More Strategic Marketing Plan for Your Small Business: Compass face with arrow pointing to the word 'Strategy'If you’re ready to grow your business, then your first step should be a strategic marketing plan. Strategic marketing focuses on the customer’s needs and identifies the best tactics to use in order to meet those needs. At the same time, strategic marketing increases profits and productivity while keeping costs low. By targeting specific groups of people and devising a well-conceived plan, you avoid wasting time and resources on strategies that don’t help achieve your goals.

Follow these steps to come up with an effective plan that engages new customers and helps your small business grow.

Conduct a SWOT Analysis

Before coming up with marketing ideas, it’s important to assess the business’s current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Take a snapshot of the business and where it needs to grow. Highlight available resources so that you know what your business has to work with. Check out similar businesses in the area and see what your company needs to do in order to remain competitive in the local market. With a SWOT analysis, you can pinpoint the areas that need work and devise a marketing plan that directly meets those needs.

Identify Your Target Audience

Determine who your target audience is. What types of people are frequenting your business? A successful marketing plan casts a narrow rather than a wide net so you’re not wasting your time trying to catch the attention of people who aren’t interested. By identifying your audience, you can determine which methods are most likely to reach people who are actively looking for what your business offers. Not sure how to get started? The tools in your Groupon Merchant Center can help! When you sell on Groupon, we’ll provide a breakdown of purchasers’ ages, gender, and geography so you can learn who your best customers are and where you can find them.

Devise a Marketing Plan

Once you’ve done the preliminary research, you can start putting together a strategic marketing plan. Determine which tactics and strategies you want to use.

A successful strategic marketing plan outlines:

  • Business objectives
  • Marketing objectives
  • Message or theme
  • Pricing strategies
  • Advertising strategies
  • Communication channels
  • Promotional plans

Be sure to describe in detail which tactics you want to use to reach your target audience. Include strategies for both new and returning customers, such as email newsletters, loyalty programs, printed advertisements, social media campaigns, and more. Be sure to diversify your marketing mix to include several specific, well-planned tactics.

Determine Marketing Goals

Last, identify the marketing objective you hope to achieve with your plan. If you want to increase sales, then be sure to pinpoint how much you hope to increase and in what timeframe. List the benchmarks that you will use to determine if you’ve hit your target. In the plan, create a schedule for when to launch marketing campaigns and when to evaluate them. Determine the goals month by month, a year out, or even five years out.

Once you have your strategic marketing plan in place, you can use it as a roadmap to launch marketing initiatives that help you reach more customers and grow your small business. By carefully crafting your strategy, you’ll be a step ahead when it comes to achieving your goals and keeping marketing costs low and operations lean.

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About the Author
Maya Deleon is a freelance writer who specializes lifestyle, health, and business articles. When she’s not at her computer writing an article or blog, you’ll find her with her nose in a book and her toes in the sand soaking up the sun on the beach.

Any views, opinions, advice, or endorsements herein are the author(s)’s and are not necessarily the views of Groupon or its partners.

 

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