Small Business Marketing Plan – a Template.           

(For the purposes of this article I am using an example of a small business marketing plan for a web design company)

A flow chart of a small business marketing plan

A flow chart of a small business marketing plan

1.     Identify Your Ideal Client:  a Small Business owner who:

  • Does not have a website
  • Has a website but is not getting results
  • Wants Google Places set up and/or optimised
  • Wants a Facebook business page set up
  • Wants to grow their business locally, not state-wide or nationally

2.       Points to note about Your Ideal Client (research them well):

  • Usually male between ages of 25 to 50
  • Needs to know he needs a website (but will lack knowledge and probably be a little afraid of websites and SEO)
  • Is frustrated  – phone is not ringing, paying out money for website and/or SEO but no results, experiencing a fair level of pain about their marketing (post Yellow Pages)
  • Knows how to do a Google search but not much else online – so need a combination of online and offline marketing strategies

3.      The Service our business offers will:

  • Be short term project oriented to build and/or optimise websites, not long term maintenance of websites or SEO
  • Aim to get client strong quick results – Google local ranking, new customers
  • Be based on down to earth, results oriented, high credibility, no ‘bull-s@#*’ approach – ALL MARKETING MATERIAL MUST convey this in copy-writing, testimonials, videos, photos, look and overall feel.

4.      Strategies: (all targeted to reach our Ideal client)

  • Our Business Website – Online (but only requires a Google search with right keywords; Direct Response Marketing; Geographically targeted; Attain High Google Search Ranking

       Action Steps:

  1. Get Opt-in and Free Offer on website by next month
  • Networking – Offline; Owner enjoys and is good at it;

Action Steps:

  1. Find strategic networking groups to visit and join in the short term
  •   Joint Ventures – Offline; Owner good at building these relationships; Can outsource to a sales rep or marketing company in time

Action Steps:

  1. Find other suitable businesses (printer, accountant, etc) that will allow our business access to their customers or refer us to their customers for a benefit/fee.
  2. Develop a computer based follow up system
  3. Develop material for JV partners to use for referrals
  • Referrals – Offline; Referrals from SME’s who are happy with results of SWM’s service; Will occur naturally over time

Action Steps:

  1.  Develop material to ask for referrals at successful completion of projects
  2. Initially get video and print testimonials
  3. Develop a computer based follow up system
  • Direct Promotion – Online and Offline

Action Steps: 

  1. Target Businesses already spending money online with Adwords, still using Yellow Pages, classifieds in local papers, etc
  2. Outsource this as a specifically developed marketing campaign

5.    Test and Measure EVERYTHING – with specific goals, specific time frames, specific steps that can be counted and tracked. Do this on a relatively small and inexpensive sample so do not waste money on unproductive marketing.

Next steps in order to complete your small business marketing plan:

  • Set specific goals
  • Complete list of Action Steps, time frames, measures for each goal
  • Make it happen. Roll it out according to priority, opportunity and budget.
  • Test and Measure ongoing – so you do not waste time and money on something that is not working.
  • Review plan monthly


This small business marketing plan template is something any small business can implement to be effective in their market. The most important elements are knowing exactly who is your ideal client and knowing exactly what are the services you will and will not provide.

If you do not have a business it is instructive to note that in every job interview, every relationship, every organisation, every day, to some degree you are marketing yourself. Are you strategic about how you engage with your world or do you take whatever comes?

I’d love to know what kind of small business marketing plan has worked for you?

Further reading: An excellent article that will help you think through many of the issues required to formulate a successful small business marketing plan

INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

Integrate: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle

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