Taking Baby Steps in Marketing: Or Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time

Today’s post is for the small business owner who manages under 5 employees:

If you run a small business and are trying to juggle many tasks, trying to write an entire marketing plan in one sitting can be daunting. Unless you’re just updating an existing plan, it just doesn’t make sense.

And implementing a marketing program doesn’t happen overnight either!

Put together a system to create your marketing program. Figure out a way to execute it and measure it. Who was it who said “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step”?  Or “eating an elephant begins with a single bite?”

Here’s one way that might work for you:

  1. What are you trying to accomplish with your marketing (build awareness, generate inquiries?) These are your marketing goals.
  2. Identify your target market. Who exactly are your trying to reach?
  3. What matters to them? 
  4. How can you help them?
  5. What methods of communication influences them?

Make a chart by clicking on the image below. Print it out for your one page implemention plan. Write 1,2,3,4,5 under the calendar and jot down your answers to the above questions.

Now ask yourself these questions:

  1. What’s the one new marketing tool that will most help our business this year?
  2. What’s the easiest new marketing tool to implement?
  3. What’s our most effective marketing tool to date?
  4. What should be working but isn’t because it needs “tweaking”?

Write another 1,2,3,4, on the  bottom of the page and list your answers.  Now you’ll plan to do:

  • the most effective tool first quarter (and second and third and fourth!)
  • the easiest tool to implement second quarter.
  • the tool that will most help your business third quarter.
  • tweak the broken tool during 4th quarter.

Write this in the boxes. Break down the steps needed for each tool, assign one person of your group (including yourself) a step along the way.  Your goal: Each month of the quarter forward motion in your marketing.  So many people don’t do anything because even starting feels overwhelming.

How will you know that the task is accomplished and the marketing is working?  Here are some ideas for making sure it gets done and is working:

  • Create a checklist
  • Hold a marketing meeting for 15 minutes each week to track progress
  • Have a status report of results easily accessible on the shared drive
  • Use a white board to track progress

Each small company operates differently.  What works for you?

4 thoughts on “Taking Baby Steps in Marketing: Or Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time

  1. Great article.

    Here are some of the tools that small business owners can implement to get results with a very small investment:

    • mail postcards to good prospects
    • make a presentation to an audience of good prospects
    • invite a prospect to lunch (or breakfast - it is cheaper)
    • send a press release to media for each new hire, or make a big basket donation to your favorite non-profit’s silent auction event.

    Norma Rist

  2. Norma:
    Thanks for jumping into the conversation!

    You are so right. There are lots of ways to invest in marketing more frugally. For example: CoMarket with a “strategic partner” who is trying to reach the same audience but doesn’t compete with your products. (double your list, half the postage.)

    There are lots of others. We should start a checklist of alternatives…

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