Your small business marketing plan is your roadmap to success, so kicking off 2021 with a good plan in place is important. Additionally, many of the surprising challenges brought about by 2020 are still very much lingering for small businesses. Without a good plan in place for the new year, you are essentially going down an aimless path without a preconceived destination and some new challenges in tow.
Yogi Berra, a former New York Yankees catcher, once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Perhaps that statement is no truer than how it applies to business. At Surefire Local, we’re all about being here to lean on as you find your way to where you’re going with your business. We’ve pulled together this simple guide to help you create your small business marketing plan for 2021.
Define, Identify, and Conceive
1. Define Your Goals for the Year
Ask yourself some hard questions about your business, and use those to generate goals for 2021. Be realistic. Consider 2020 performance and downfalls, the workforce you have and if you can expand, and existing limitations. Ask yourself:
- What is your 2021 revenue target?
- Have new growth opportunities emerged that need to be addressed?
- Do you need more brand awareness for lead generation?
- What seasonal goals need to be considered?
- Do you need to target an evolved or altered consumer base?
As you find answers and start pinning down goals, solidify your foresight by documenting the information. Some statistics suggest that documenting your business marketing plan could mean you have a 538 percent greater chance of hitting your goals.
2. Identify the Most Prominent Hurdles
Pointing out your hurdles gives you an idea of areas that could hold you back for the coming year. Consider your hurdles from 2020; examine how those hurdles could also affect you in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of a huge hurdle no business owner anticipated in 2020.
COVID brought about issues with supply and demand, rapid changes in consumer behaviors, and financial strain for many businesses. Going into 2021, look at hurdles that caused the biggest issues in 2020. Perhaps you saw huge buying behavior shifts and scrambled to cater to those changes (e.g. more website purchases than in-store or more demand for certain services and less for others). How could you work around such a hurdle for 2021? What safeguards could you put in place to allow more flexibility or more service/product availability?
3. Conceive Your Marketing Budget
Identify how much you can allocate to your marketing budget. In a sense, crafting the proper budget is a blend of economics and mathematical formula. A simple formula can give you a wealth of insight into what your target budget should be. For example:
- Determine how many new customers will help you meet a revenue point by dividing your revenue goal by your value of average job
- Find out how many leads should be generated depending on how many new customers you need by dividing your perceived number of new customers by your average conversion rate
- Pinpoint your 2021 marketing budget by multiplying your lead generation goal by your average cost-per-lead
While this formula can give you a good starting point, you also have to consider what your business can logically afford. As a reference, the U.S. Small Business Administration says a $5 million or less small business should be designating roughly 7 to 8 percent of overall revenue to their marketing budget.
Examine Tools You Can Use to Achieve Your Goals
1. Consider Organic Marketing Tactics
Organic marketing strategies are designed to generate sales over time without paid promotions or ads. Of course, some business owners pay for organic strategies. However, general organic tactics include things like adding blog content and good images on your website, consistently crafting social media posts, and publishing case studies. Other organic ideas:
- Get your business information optimized on GMB (Google My Business)
- Get your business into online directories
- Maintain a positive online reputation and encourage reviews
- Incorporate a chatbot on your website
- Utilize lead tracking, monitor for quality leads, and tend to opportunities for improvement
Surefire software like Geojuice and the Surefire Local Marketing Platform is designed to enhance organic marketing tactics as well. For example, Geojuice helps you scale content creation and enhance Google indexing and ranking. Likewise, Surefire Local Marketing Platform gives you an intelligent to-do list to keep tabs on organic strategies.
2. Examine Paid Ad Opportunities
Paid advertising should complement your organic marketing strategy. So, the best small business marketing plan starts as organic and builds a paid plan that seamlessly supports and enhances organic practices. Every paid advertising avenue has its perks. For instance, paid ads on Yelp can bring a lot of localized traffic, and Facebook ads actually target your customer using the platform’s user data.
A few paid avenues to consider include:
- Google Ads
- Bing Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Yelp Ads
- Local Service Ads
As an example of paid ads complementing organic marketing strategy, if your organic strategy has landed you a top spot on a Google search page, you could also pay for a Google ad that gives you the coveted top spot as a paid advertiser. Essentially, this layout would mean your small business takes up the bulk of the results page and is bound to generate more leads.
3. Work with Your Digital Marketing Strategist
Your digital marketing strategist (DMS) can be one of your most valuable tools when creating your small business marketing plan. For example, at Surefire, your DMS would:
- Help you assess organic and paid advertising results data
- Provide timely reports on traffic leads
- Give you insight into trends that could benefit your business
- Offer advice on improving existing organic performance and improve paid ads
Consider Paid Ads You Don’t Use and Adjust Those You Do
1. Consider Paid Ad Opportunities
If you are not already using paid advertising as part of your small business marketing plan, considering making some changes is worth your time. If you have a plan to attract more leads as one of your 2021 goals, that involves getting your business in the right places. If your marketing budget allows, paid ads may be a necessary investment to get you where you plan to be for the year.
You can achieve a lot from organic tactics, sure, but statistics do show how well paid ads can work. For example, every $1 spent on Google Ads yields an average of $2 in revenue. And, traffic landing on a site via pay-per-click ads are as much as 50 percent more likely to buy something than those who get to the site organically.
2. Get the Most from Paid Ads You Currently Use
Maybe you’re already using paid ads but simply aren’t seeing the ROI you would expect. The key is in optimizing; get the biggest bang for your bucks with what you have. Most small businesses take either a reactive or proactive approach to paid advertising, and those taking a reactive approach can fall behind. Those who take a reactive approach may be hesitant to spend without assurance that expanding their ad budget will yield a return.
On the contrary, a proactive approach would involve things like:
- Nabbing ad space when other business owners are backing off
- Actively reviewing paid promotions, the leads generated, and making adjustments as needed
- Consistently taking advantage of new advertising opportunities
- Strategizing with a DMS regularly to assess what is working and what’s not
Your Small Business Marketing Plan for 2021 in a Nutshell: Plan, Prepare, and Execute
In a nutshell, your small business marketing plan for 2021 will involve planning, preparing, and executing. With a plan, you know your marketing budget, your promotional schedule for the year, and what hurdles you could face in advance. Preparing means finding the tools you need to carry out your marketing plan, which may include new organic and paid advertising strategies and hands-on guidance from a DSM. Execution, especially when using the Surefire platform, involves actively following to-dos, checking leads, and optimizing your marketing plan with the help of your DMS.
If you are ready to launch into 2021, reach out to us at Surefire Local—you’ll have both the tools and professionals you need for a successful takeoff!