What is a Comprehensive Marketing Plan?
Are you wondering what a comprehensive marketing plan entails and whether or not you need one for your small business?
The answer to second part of the question is a resounding “YES! You do need a comprehensive marketing plan for your small business.”
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at the many facets of a comprehensive marketing plan.
Comprehensive Marketing Plan Elements
As mentioned above there are many different facets or elements to a comprehensive marketing plan. Not all of the elements are mentioned here but those most effective for small businesses are covered.
Business Branding and Brand Strategy
Your “brand” is the message you convey about your company and its products or services, creating a specific perception.
A lot of thought should go into what you want that message and perception to be before you even begin to create your brand strategy and start advertising your business.
Your business logo, tag line or motto, mission statement, and even the colors that represent your business are all an integral part of your branding and send a message to potential clients, creating their perception of your business.
Is your current brand effective? Do you know how to tell?
Once you have your branding and brand strategy in place, you can begin to look at various forms of marketing to determine whether or not they would be effective for your small business.
Digital marketing refers to online marketing. There are many forms of online marketing and all are necessary elements for a successful digital marketing strategy.
It goes without saying that in today’s instant gratification world, a user-friendly, interactive, and responsive website is a must!
Just having a website is not enough. Static page websites are a thing of the past and having a static website will actually diminish trust in your business and brand.
The perception will be that if you can’t keep up with the changing times by having a modern website then you probably do not have the best products and services on the market.
This sounds harsh but it is the unfortunate reality.
Search Engine Optimization
You have a website that is responsive and user-friendly but is it optimized (SEO) to show up on the search engine results page (SERP)? Do you know what being “optimized” means?
There is no simple way to make this happen. It is a complex, multi-faceted process that, if not done correctly, could actually hurt your business, believe it or not.
The ways a poorly or incorrectly SEO’d website can be detrimental to your business are too involved to explain here but suffice it to say that it can and does happen.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing in today’s world is not an option. It is a necessity. Social Media Marketing is not marketing in the traditions sense. Social media is used to engage and interact with others to build their trust in you and your business.
How do you do this? Check out our Social Media Marketing page.
Email marketing is not necessarily appropriate for every business but it may be beneficial for yours. That said, you don’t want to spam them with unwanted daily emails but perhaps you have a weekly or a monthly newsletter they can sign up for?
Email marketing, should you choose to use it, is a delicate balance between connecting with your customers and protecting and respecting their privacy.
Feedback and Reviews
Feedback and reviews are an essential part of your digital marketing strategy- and not just positive reviews. As a matter of fact, a negative review can bring in more business for you than 10 positive reviews if you resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction in your responses to the negative review.
People would rather see a negative review or two handled constructively than to see only positive reviews. There is an inherent lack of trust in businesses that have all positive reviews because nobody and no business is perfect so there are bound to be at least a complaint or two.
Google Business and Google Local
Are you registered under Google Businesses and, if appropriate, Google Local? If not, you should be. Google places those search results at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) so if you are not registered for these, you are missing a huge marketing opportunity.
Both Google Business and Google Local are free to register.
Is your small business listed on Yelp? If not, it should be. Did you know that Yelp reviews almost always show up higher on the SERP than the actual business website?
This is because search engines place a major emphasis on providing those searching for your keywords the most qualified business- aka business with the highest trust score- for those keywords. The more Yelp reviews you have, the higher your trust score- unless they are all negative.
Yelp is free to register.
Word-of-mouth marketing is the oldest and best form of marketing- if your customers go away happy. If they go away angry, word of mouth marketing can work against you.
As mentioned above, digital marketing is essential in today’s world but good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing is also a good way to bring in new business.
Do you have business cards with your small business name, logo, tag line, website, and contact information? If you don’t; you should. If you do, are they effective or could they be better designed? Are they lacking pertinent information?
Pamphlets and Fliers
Pamphlets and fliers are not always applicable for all small businesses but could they be applicable to yours? If so, are they designed in a way that will produce a call to action?
How can they be used to help build your business?
Partnering with Other Small Businesses
One of the best ways to introduce your small business to potential clients is by partnering with other small businesses to offer discounts and other incentives for customers and potential customers.
There are many creative ways to do this and, if done correctly, almost always means new customers for both (or all) businesses involved.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is when it comes to marketing, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. You also don’t want to pursue an area of marketing that is not beneficial for you business.
How do you know whether or not a certain form of marketing is beneficial? How do you know which forms of marketing you should pursue?
Many factors should be taken into consideration in order to determine the answers to the above questions.
Need help with a comprehensive marketing pan?
Carmik Design’s Small Business Consulting Services can help!
Contact Us, today!