We have been asked many times how we will build our clients’ small business marketing plans.The reason that we get this questions so often is twofold. First, all small business owners need a marketing plan–and they know it. Second, most small business owners do not have one–and they do not know where to start. We offer small business marketing solutions, but here are some tips for getting started on your own.

Small Business Marketing Plan: How do I do it all?

We tell our clients that they DO NOT need to be present on every channel. In fact, our research shows the opposite. The small business owners that post on too many different channels do not typically see much lift from any of them. We recommend using your limited time, energy, and resources to dominate a few channels.

Small Business Marketing Plan: How do I Start?

Now that we’ve assuaged your anxiety about trying to do it all, it’s time to figure out which marketing options make sense.

Small business marketing solutions are about just that — solutions.  Not about channels or tactics or tricks.  The first step is focusing on return on investment and getting in front of the most potential customers.

Each Marketing Investment Must Make Cents and Sense

Our first marketing investment measuring stick is rather simple. Marketing spend must net as much profit as it costs. If a marketing campaign costs you $500 and you only receive $200 in revenue-it’s probably time to pull the plug on that spend. The one caveat is that the marketing lift often takes time and some investments are tougher to measure. That said, this measuring stick is a helpful tool to parse the many marketing options.

Search Marketing is King

Now that we’ve given you a measuring stick to start to shrink the number of options, let’s go one step farther. The second marketing investment stick requires an understanding of customer expectations. In our society, customers are used to finding their own information online. Further, they often come to your website to find out about your company and your offerings. According to Blue Corona, studies show that between 70-80% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting the small business or making a purchase with them. Customers view your website as a reflection of who you are as a company, thus it’s important to portray yourself in the most positive light on the web.

Use the Free Mediums Available to You

Prior to spending any marketing money, small business owners should use the free options available to them. Search, Social Media, and E-mail Marketing can and should be used for free. Write blogs to boost your search results. Post interesting content to capture a larger audience via social media. Also, keep your existing customers engaged with captivating email campaigns.

Small Business Marketing Plan Summary

You do not have to be present on all channels. There have been successful businesses in the past that do not do guerrilla marketing, viral YouTube campaigns, social media, e-mail marketing, billboard ads, etc… More importantly, there will be many in the future that are able to be successful without being present on every channel.

Instead of trying to do it all, think about what marketing investments make sense/cents for your business.