Putting together a marketing plan is such an important step for a small business owner. But unlike a lot of other tasks that are completed once they’re ticked off, a marketing plan requires a little bit more TLC to ensure it’s kept up-to-date and still working for your business.

Long gone are the days of 3 or 5 year plans, and whilst it’s good to look ahead to the future and set yourself a clear path, you need something with more flexibility. 

Marketing is a creative function, so naturally some activities will work well and others may miss the mark. It’s important to revisit your plan regularly, take stock of what’s working, and rethink areas that may not have panned out as you hoped. 

But there’s no need to start from scratch! There are things you can do to breathe new life into your existing marketing plan.

1. Revisit your existing marketing plan

It’s important to regularly review your marketing plan, and check that you’re delivering on the activity you had planned. 

Take stock of what you have and haven’t done. Sometimes we have big grand plans that work on paper, but don’t materialise for reasons such as unexpected resource changes or budget. 

When looking at the activity you have done, ask yourself what has and hasn’t worked. This will give you a better understanding of your audience and their behaviours, ultimately improving your future plans.

2. Keep a watchful eye on your target audiences 

As a small business owner, you know that things can change quickly. A market you may have previously identified as one of your main targets, may experience serious changes that influence their buying decisions.

This can’t be helped – you’re not expected to be able to predict the future! But it does mean that if you identify this early on, you can make informed decisions and pivot if necessary.

It’s not all doom and gloom – an unexpected opportunity may have arisen with a subset of prospective customers. Thinking about your audiences regularly will give you the chance to act on new opportunities. 

3. Be mindful of emerging trends and topics 

You may have plans for chunky content items like whitepapers, events/webinars, podcasts and article series. Content like this is really important for driving engagement with your audience and providing them with valuable thought leadership, but can take a long time to produce, edit and publish. 

If you can also manage to produce some snappy, timely content to support these activities, you can gain traction by hopping on emerging trends and topics relatively quickly and easily.

You don’t necessarily need to start from scratch either. If you already have some content written up, you can rework it to include a fresh perspective, for example if there’s an industry change or legal update.

4. Rework your existing content

Talking of not starting from scratch – you can always reuse and rework content you already have, to breathe new life into it. 

For example, if you have taken the time to produce a whitepaper, you could create an infographic or factsheet to pull out some of the key information and findings in a different format.

If you have a webinar recording, you can use extracts as snappy video snippets across your social channels.

Breathing new life into your marketing plan shouldn’t mean going back to the drawing board. Reworking existing content will help small businesses, who are already time poor, make the most out of what they’ve already produced. 


5. Gain insight from your analytics

Your analytics will be crucial for breathing new life into your marketing plan, as they will help you understand what is and isn’t working. 

Use your analytics to understand how customers are behaving on your website, where they’re coming from, where they’re dropping off and how they are interacting with your website and content. 

6. Don’t forget digital marketing – even if you’re an offline business

If your business has a strong online presence, it’s likely that you are utilising digital marketing to spread brand awareness and drive sales.

But digital marketing is so important, even for businesses more traditionally offline, like hair and nail salons, car mechanics and construction businesses.

These types of businesses may not need to update their websites as regularly as others, but a strong online presence is important for helping people find you in the first place. 

Just having a website and expecting people to find you is not always enough, even if it’s optimised well.

Here are a few things for more traditionally offline businesses to consider: 

  • Don’t just rely on footfall You may be based in a great spot, perhaps even on a busy high street, but a well maintained Google my Business page will help new customers find you who may not necessarily be passing.
  • Make the booking process as easy as possible – If people can view and book available appointments online, or on the go on their phones, you’ll be more likely to make further sales.
  • Reviews count – Nothing beats a strong recommendation from someone who has bought your product or service and has nothing but great things to say about it! Online reviews, whether they’re via Google or dedicated review sites like Trustpilot can help you bank all your recommendations and give people confidence to buy from you.
  • Don’t forget about digital ads – Digital advertising isn’t just for large businesses with huge budgets and design teams. You can set up a Google Ads account with a daily budget that works for you and there is plenty of info online to help you optimise your ads. If you want a more targeted approach social media advertising can help you reach specific audiences based on different demographics. Just make sure you find the social platform that’s right for your brand to make the most out of your budget. 

Your marketing plan is not something you complete and file away until the next year. It’s important that you take the opportunity to breathe new life into your plan, so you don’t waste time (or money!) doing things that don’t work or miss out on emerging opportunities.

Clear Books Online Accounting Software 

Clear Books is an award-winning online accounting software for small businesses. Thousands of business owners, contractors, freelancers and sole traders across the UK use our easy-to-use online accounting software to manage their business finances. All users benefit from the outstanding free telephone and email support. Clear Books was launched in London in 2008 and offers a free 30 day trial with free ongoing support and bank feeds. We’re rated as ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot.

Get a free 30-day trial of Clear Books online accounting software here.

Posted by Clear Books