And now we’ve come to the third and final installment of our series about achieving small business success by generating powerful results with their marketing. As we’ve mentioned, there’s a three-part formula necessary for producing that success, whether it’s for a nationwide advertisement or local Joplin marketing campaign: branding, a business website, and a 21-52 marketing plan. In Part 1, we took a look at branding for small businesses, and in Part 2, we discussed why you need a strong business website.
Be sure to check out our latest free guide, where we take a closer look at the whole formula. Right now, we’ll look at the third ingredient — an annual marketing plan.
How Does an Annual Marketing Plan Contribute To Success?
Did you know that marketers who have a documented (i.e., written out) advertising strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t, or that those who document their processes are 466% more likely to report success? Yet only 56% of small businesses have a marketing plan, and 23% don’t even set marketing goals.
Your marketing plan gives you the opportunity to align your advertising efforts with your overall business goals as well as goals for particular times of year. For example, a retailer will have higher expectations for holidays like Black Friday and tax-free weekends than they do for their slow or off-season. A marketing plan will also let you coordinate your message and creative across channels, allowing to build frequency across a number of touchpoints and ensure you’re spending your budget in the right places at the right time. Most importantly, a plan allows you to put the tools and processes in place for tracking your marketing and make adjustments as necessary.
What Makes a Great Marketing Plan?
We’ve taken an in-depth look at how to develop an annual marketing plan before, but for now, we’ll give you an overview of the basics.
Covers a Full Year
You undoubtedly already have an annual schedule in place, covering everything from store hours on holidays to whether or not your business will participate in particular events or charities. You approach these strategically, and you should complement that with your marketing strategy.
Sets Objectives and Goals
Broad marketing objectives and specific goals for each allow you to focus on what you want to achieve with your business and how you want to make it grow. Common objectives include raising awareness, improving brand perception, or promoting a new product or service. Goals should be S.M.A.R.T. (i.e., specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based).
Identifies Target Audience and Audience Segments
Your business needs to be where your audience is, and you can’t do that without firmly understanding who they are and how they prefer to be communicated with. A plan allows you to identify who you’re trying to reach with every campaign, and puts the processes in place for the market research that ensures you’re actually speaking to their needs and interests.
Sets the Budget
Having a plan in place allows you to put your budget first and avoid overspending on individual campaigns or tactics. You can identify your budget for the year and break it down per campaign, at which point you can choose which channels you can utilize.
Your marketing needs to achieve a minimum frequency of three to inspire action, but obviously you have to advertise much more than that in order to actually reach your audience at that frequency. Having a plan in place allows you to set the best frequencies on each channel to meet your goals. For radio, we recommend the 21-52 plan, which is running 21 ad spots per week for 52 weeks of the year.
At Zimmer Radio Inc., we firmly believe in the three part formula for success. Each ingredient in the formula is critical, and business owners should thoroughly address each. Your marketing plan will help guide your advertising strategy to reach business goals and ensure that your marketing efforts hit that necessary frequency of three. Be sure to read our full guide, The 3-Step Formula for Small Business Marketing Success, or you can go back to read Part 1 or Part 2.