Supporting the entrepreneurial spirit

How to Create an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business

How to Create an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business

By Traci Johnson

In my role with ECi, I speak with small business owners on a frequent basis. When it comes to marketing efforts, these business owners range from those who do zero marketing to those that have a full marketing strategy. Over the years, one thing has become abundantly clear— small businesses with some level of marketing are more effective in reaching revenue targets and improving the bottom line than those who do nothing.

Twenty years ago, marketing was just an expense line on the P&L. But today, those who are effective at marketing are making the biggest impact. Businesses no longer have the luxury of ignoring the development of a marketing strategy, hoping that working harder to service the customer will lead to an increase in revenue.

Today, with digital marketing, small businesses can achieve maximum results with minimal effort and budget. If you are reading this and you have identified yourself as one of those businesses doing very little or no marketing at all, then I encourage you to START now.

So where do you start?

  1. Begin with a high-level plan of what you want to accomplish. If you’ve been in business for a while, then hopefully you already know what you want to accomplish. Whom are you trying to target? Who is your competition in this target market?
    1. Categorize your plan by target or time frame
    2. Start small—if you can only think six months ahead, then do that, but do something.
    3. Leverage your sales and customer service teams for ideas.
  2. Turn your plan into tactics.
    1. Create a monthly calendar of marketing tasks to accomplish. For example, you may be sending emails on an infrequent basis today, so commit to sending two emails per month.
    2. Leverage some of the ideas from Alicia Ellis’ blog series “Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
  3. Execute to your plan. Once you set a goal and commit to starting, then follow through.
  4. Evaluate your results. For example, if you committed to sending regular emails to your customers, did you do so and what were the high-level results?
  5. Adjust your plan and start again. Marketing is not an exact science; sometimes you just need to try something to figure it out.

Just like with anything else, consistency is key. Create a plan, commit, execute and evaluate. You will find that each time you complete a task, the next task is even easier.

Next time, I’ll discuss how small businesses can navigate the complex world of digital marketing.

Have you tried a marketing idea and it worked? Or did not, but you learned from it? Share it in the comments below. I look forward to hearing all about your marketing journey!

Traci Johnson

About the author

Traci Johnson joined DDMS in 1989. She has been the Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Marketing for ECi since 2009. She and her husband, Rick, have a daughter, Katelyn, a middle school theater teacher, son, Garrett, a college freshman, and two dogs, Romo and Kolby. Traci loves to exercise, cook and spend time with friends and family. She is happiest when on a beach and hopes to retire there one day.

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