I’m about to let you in on something that successful and savvy small business owners know. And its not just about creating a business plan or a mission statement. Its about planning your marketing ahead of time. Now is the ideal time to sit down and think about your small business marketing plan for 2013. Not sure what to do? Don’t worry, you’re not alone in that thought. We’re going to ask you some questions and offer a few tips to help guide your marketing plan along for the next year.
Question 1: How much time each week can you devote to marketing?
This is kind of a tricky question, because some of the things we do when we are doing things for our business, actually can also help to market our business. But let’s focus strictly on the things that work only as marketing your business for now. How much time each week could you dedicate to this? An hour? Five hours? More? Any answer is correct, as long as it is an accurate one. The worst thing you can do here is tell yourself you can do five hours a week when in reality you can only do 2 hours a week. Be realistic with your time for best success.
Tip: If you have trouble answering this question, read about time management to better understand your schedule. It will affect how you work in a profound way overall.
Question 2: What marketing tactics have been successful during 2012?
This is important for your plan, because you can start from this success and build from it. Or you can learn from what hasn’t worked. Don’t worry if you haven’t done very much marketing this year, now is the time to make a new change for the next year. Try to list, month by month, each marketing effort you have tried and which has been successful. It is helpful to list them by month because some marketing tactics may be working at some times of year for you rather than others. Make your list and review it, and pick out the top 3 or 5 that are the best, and add those to 2013. Note down the 3 that were the least successful, and try to analyze what was not successful about them.
Tip: Think about which marketing tactics worked best for you but were the most cost effective and took the least amount of time.
Question 3: Think of your business goals for 2013, and what marketing efforts will be needed
This is critical to create a marketing plan for the coming year. If you are launching a new product or service, you’ll need to do marketing for it and plan ahead for this. If you are opening a new store location, you’ll need to do marketing for this. Each of your business goals may need marketing to help support them.