Over the past 2 weeks, we have been taking the first steps to creating a marketing plan for your small business. One that takes into account the realities of your business. One that feels like you can really apply it. Not one that will just gather dust on the shelf.
In this final post we will be putting together all that you have reflected on and all you have envisioned into an action plan. Because, after all, it’s all in the implementation.
This is going to be slightly different as I am going to guide you through a simple exercise.
Step 1: List it Out
Firstly, I want you to create a spreadsheet (like this Google Sheet) and label the following columns:
- Task / Project
- Time Estimate
This will include product developments, marketing projects or process improvements.
Add to this list any promotional campaigns you would like to run. For example, holiday based campaigns (Christmas, Mother’s Day), Seasonal Campaigns or Launches. Specify the dates that these will run in the “dates” column, making sure to include time for the preparation.
Step 2: Assess
Once you have all your items listed out, it is time to assess each task or project against each other. While you would probably like to complete everything it might not be that realistic.
You can do this by noting each of the below against each item on the list:
- A priority (e.g. 1, 2 or 3)
- Estimated time to complete – I recommend you always add on a big buffer here as everything seems to take longer than expected
- Budget Estimate – This is to do it “well”
Once those are entered you can now sort your spreadsheet by priority.
Step 3: Schedule
You have already marked down the dates for your campaigns, now it is time to allocate time for each of the other tasks. I like to do this just on a month by month basis.
Depending on the time involved in completing a project, some months you might only be able to focus on one thing, others you might be able to complete a few smaller ones.
Before you do this you should estimate the total time and budget you will have available each month.
Then go through the priorities and start allocating them a month or months.
So priority 1’s with low cost and/or low time involvement should come first. Then priority 1’s with a higher cost or time involvement (spaced out according to your availabilities).
And so on through the priorities, making sure you take into account your campaign dates.
In no time you will have a month by month marketing project schedule & budget for the year!
Note that there will probably be some tasks that just don’t seem achievable in the next 12 months and that is OK. Simply keep those at the bottom of the list with no date allocation in case you do get a chance at some stage.
As you go through you might also want to consider the time vs money question – are there some things you can outsource or automate to get things moving quicker?
So there you have it… a schedule and a budget for the year! All in one simple to refer to spreadsheet.
Then, Once you have that each quarter or month you can get much more specific into all the individual tasks you need to tick off the list to get each project completed.
Much better than a boring old template right?