In this post, we’re looking at how to create a marketing plan on a budget by following some key steps. There are 5 key steps to success we’ve identified that a lot of small business owners miss or don’t get around to doing. Read the post and follow the steps to successfully implement your marketing plan.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is the instructions for how you’re going to implement your marketing strategy. If you haven’t already got a marketing strategy, check out how to create a marketing strategy.
It tells you and anyone supporting your business exactly who you’re targeting, what marketing activities you’re going to do, where you’re going to share your marketing messages and when you’re going to do everything.
Step 1: Set marketing objectives
When you’re setting objectives for your marketing plan, it’s important to be crystal clear about what you’re trying to achieve. You can’t skip this step because if you don’t decide on your objectives, you won’t be able to work out exactly what marketing activities to do to achieve them!
Your marketing objectives should always be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. This framework will help you create objectives you can track progress against and that you’ll be able to achieve within a set time frame.
Example of an unclear objective: Get more clients
Example of a SMART objective: Gain 5 new clients on retained content marketing packages by June 2022
Finally, marketing objectives shouldn’t be set in isolation. They should align with your business objectives and be able to focus your activities so you can grow your business and implement a successful marketing plan on a budget.
Step 2: Understand your marketing resources
The first thing most people think of when we mention resources for marketing is, of course, money. Which is an important consideration. But your resources available for marketing also include two other key elements: people and time.
When it comes to people, it’s important to understand what skills and capabilities you already have in your team before you run out and commit to spending more money on hiring additional help. You may find you already have a certain marketing skill set within your team, which will make your marketing budget stretch further.
In terms of time, it’s important to understand how much time you and your team have available to commit to working on marketing activities. For example, creating high-quality YouTube videos is a lot more time-consuming than focusing your video efforts on short-form content, such as TikTok or Instagram reels.
Step 3: Prioritise marketing activities
You can’t do it all. And you shouldn’t try to! It’s only going to end up costing you too much money and burning you out. Plus, if you have a great marketing strategy, you’ll already have a good idea of what you really need to concentrate on.
How to prioritise marketing activities:
- Write down all of the things you want to do in one column
- Write down how much time and money they will take
- Work out which ones are high impact and low effort – this is your low hanging fruit/quick wins that you can get done quickly. Do these first.
- Work out which ones are high impact but high effort – these are strategic tasks that are worthwhile doing but may need more time allocated. Do these second.
- Anything else can either be outsourced or not done at all as they are low impact activities that are unlikely to move your business forward.
Step 4: Get creative
Ask yourself these 3 questions to see where you can save money on your marketing spend to implement your marketing plan on a budget:
- Are there any people you currently work with who have the skills you need to support your marketing?
- Can you redefine any roles in your team to share the marketing load?
- How can you use your existing resources more effectively?
Step 5: Implement your marketing plan on a budget!
This is the bit that a lot of business owners end up skipping because it’s where you have to start sharing all that wonderful content you’ve spent so much time thinking about. These three things will help you as you move into implementing your marketing plan:
- Stick to the plan for at least 3-6 months unless something radical changes
- Make sure you track and monitor activities and how they’re performing against the marketing objectives you’ve set
- Don’t get distracted by trends and/or competitors – you’ve spent time creating a plan based on your specific audience needs. What’s right for others isn’t necessarily right for you
If you enjoyed this post and want more juicy marketing tips, here are some more resources for you:
Book a Marketing Power Hour to work out how to overcome your biggest marketing challenges
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Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn for marketing tips
Discover the ONE social media channel you need to focus on to stop feeling overwhelmed
Or if you’re ready to take a fresh approach to finding and retaining clients in your business, book a discovery call to find out more.