For a new business owner, there are a lot of things to consider, from marketing and logistics to HR, design, accounting and more. It can be overwhelming, but we’re going to explore the best beginner marketing ideas to get you started:
- Why is marketing important?
- What are KPIs, and how do they impact marketing?
- How to write your marketing plan
- Read on to discover how easy your marketing plan can take shape…
Why is marketing important?
Someone once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”, so, while you may have a goal and an aim for your business, if you don’t have a plan to get there, it’s not going to happen.
Marketing forms one of the main bases of your business as its singular goal is to share your brand and product or service with your audience. Without an audience, you can’t grow and reach your wanted goal. So, how do you approach marketing your business?
There are multiple channels for marketing your business, including social media, print and digital advertising, out of home advertising, content marketing, and more. The options are wide-ranging, so it can be difficult to know which to pick – that’s why you need a marketing plan and strategy.
- Marketing Plan – A document detailing your target market, product or service pricing, how you will measure success, and more.
- Marketing Strategy – A roadmap of how you are going to reach your intended audience and market and how you plan to convert them.
Nailing down these two facets of your marketing can save you time down the line as you will be more prepared to be proactive instead of rushing and being reactive.
What to include in your marketing plan:
- Your budget
- Your resources
- Your key goals
- Your market research
- Your audience profile
- Your competitor analysis
What to include in your marketing strategy:
- Your key marketing channels, based on competitor analysis and audience profile
- Any content plan and strategy for social media and your website
- Any events that may apply to your business, product, or service
- Any product launches or special offers
- Your reasoning on why these channels and actions may be beneficial for conversions
- Key Performance Indicators for each action
What are KPIs, and how do they impact marketing?
KPI means Key Performance Indicators. These are figures and metrics you assign to various efforts to assess how well they are doing and if they are worth the cost. Some common KPIs are:
- Return On Investment (ROI)
- Cost Per Click (CPC)
- Conversion Rate
- Profit margin
- Customer Retention Rate
To work these out, you usually take things like the sales value, cost, customers and clicks, then do some calculations to work out the overall KPI. Unfortunately, when you’re starting, it’s not always easy to see what your KPIs should be, so there might be a few months before you can see some progression. Just remember to keep trying different things to see which works best for your audience and product.
How to write your marketing plan
You can find various helpful marketing models online to support your marketing plan, such as the SOSTAC® planning model, but they all deal with similar topics. Here’s one way to approach your marketing planning:
Assess your current situation
Take stock of your current audience, budget, marketing channels, what things need doing, what things are doing well, who your competitors are, etc.
Work out where you want to be
You want a complete look at your current business and marketing to see where improvements can be made and what is working well.
Without clear goals and objectives, it’s going to be difficult to craft a marketing plan and strategy that works. They need a focus and something to work towards, so consider:
- What do you want to achieve? Do you want more sales? Do you want to be the best in one area? Or do you want to reach a market percentage? Be as specific as possible so there is a clear, defined place to work towards. Vague and generalised goals are likely to lead to questions and unclear marketing activity
- How will you measure this success? Is it through KPIs, market share, profit, sales, etc? Again, be as specific as possible.
- Is it possible? Goals such as “Being bigger than McDonald’s” are just unrealistic. Your goals should be workable and achievable.
- Are your goals worth it? There’s no point in creating and working towards something with no relevance to your success. Are things like your number of followers or newsletter sign-ups contributing to your success?
Remember: your goals should be defined but editable. It’s commonplace to rewrite and refresh your goals at regular intervals. So, be prepared, work in a specific timeframe, and then reassess if any need updating.
Writing your Marketing Strategy
Your Marketing Strategy is part of the plan, so once you have your goals in place and understand what works and doesn’t, you can use all of these to inform your strategy.
The key is to tailor it to your business and targets. For example, if you want to grow your local audience and earn a larger market share, consider what you can do to get involved in the local community. Similarly, if you want to be known for your eco credentials, make sure your product packaging or marketing materials reflect that.
Consider the specific goals and what marketing activity and tactics you can do to facilitate that, and then you’ll be on your way.
How will you action your strategy?
Managing every part of your business can be exhausting but rewarding if it works. So, if you’re going solo, be prepared to wear a lot of different hats. However, there’s no shame in getting a bit of help from freelance writers or designers, employing a marketing agency for support, or even getting an accountant.
All these extra costs can be considered in your budget, and the majority are not as inaccessible or as expensive as you think, so make a few enquiries if there are gaps in your skillset.
Monitoring the performance
Of course, to ensure you’re on your way to meeting your goals, you’ll have to keep track of everything to ensure a good ROI and use of your time and abilities. Make regular checks and comparisons and adjust where needed to keep everything on an upwards trajectory.
This is one basic way you can create a bespoke marketing plan for your business, but there are other ways, including passing it all off to an agency. So, do some research, be realistic about what you can do yourself and be organised with your planning.
Debbie Woodliffe Affinity