Simple 3 Subject Marketing Plan for Your Small Business

Posted by Robin Dorton on

3 Subject Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan might seem like a daunting and even confusing task for most small business owners and entrepreneurs, but I'm going to show you how you can create your plan in a simple and easy-to-manage system. 


Easy marketing plan for small business

This marketing plan can be divided into 3 subjects that keep it organized, keep you on track, and make it easy for you to brainstorm ideas. Then you can set it aside when needed and easily pick it back up to finish your plan. You can create a plan for every year, every season, or every month if you're feeling super ambitious.

I would take a look over the plan annually to keep it updated and stay ahead of the trends, especially with social media and the constantly changing algorithm. 

Marketing takes planning for it to be successful. Knowing about upcoming shopping habits for customers is vital to attracting and keeping them. First, you have to find them!


3 Subject Marketing Plan for Your Small Business



finding your target market and advice from Seth Godin          how to start a marketing plan


Unless you're the owner of that big box store that's packed with every product under the sun, everyone is not your customer. You simply can't market to everyone hoping that you'll end up with tons of sales. You have to figure out what customers are your target market.

This is always a great place to start your planning. 


start with why who how to find your target market

Subject 1: Why, Who, How


Would it surprise you to hear that many small business owners aren't sure how to answer this question? If this is describing you don't worry, you're not alone. 

Take some time to really think about why. Why did you decide to open your business? That will help guide you to know your why. Why is your business open? How are you serving your community?

Sit down with a good friend or family member and have a discussion about all the reasons you opened your business. Ask them if they remember you talking about your plans before you opened. This could be a really helpful way to remind you of why you started and could inspire you for future planning all over again. 

When you can write your why in one simple sentence, you have your answer.



Can you describe your ideal customer? If you're already in business, who are your favorite customers? Who brings you joy when they walk into your shop or place an order online?

Something I noticed after working with clients for many years was that my favorite clients all reminded me of myself in a way. I'm a pretty laid back and down-to-earth person with a wickedly dry sense of humor that is not judgemental of others as long as they're decent humans and are nice to animals. I'm a bit quirky and I like to think that I'm creative. I enjoy helping others, I'm very organized, and quite the multi-tasker. My husband would describe me as weird and artsy-fartsy. I'm totally ok with that description. The more time I spent with my favorite clients the more I realized how they share so many of those same qualities. 

That's not to say that I didn't know how to make other clients happy. In fact, I was very good at working with so many different types of clients. But the ones who became my ride-or-die regulars were those fun, creative, and quirky clients that I loved seeing when they arrived for their appointments. 

Since I know who my target market is, should I try and market to the clients who preferred a luxury service with valet parking and a doorman? My time and money would be wasted marketing to a customer base that is not my target. Sure, they might book an appointment and be happy with their service, but they wouldn't become my biggest fan. They wouldn't happily share my information with their family and friends. The music would be too loud, there wouldn't be a concierge or valet, and they wouldn't be my clients for long because I am not able to achieve their wants. It just wouldn't be a good fit and that's perfectly fine. 

Know who your target market is and make sure you're spending your efforts marketing to them. Remember, not everyone is your customer and that's ok! You don't have to be for everyone because you will find your tribe!



Another important question is how are you different from your competition? Without thinking about prices, list all the things that separate you from the crowd. How do you stand out? What do you do that is unique and special?

How is your environment different? How is your service or product different? How do you ensure a great customer experience? Make a nice long list and then circle your top 3. That is one part of your HOW.

Now, make a list of how you can reach the customer from the WHO question above. Where else does your target customer shop? Where do they work? How would they search for you online? How will they hear about you? Once you know your WHY and your WHO, answering HOW should be easy!

create a marketing plan that works

Subject 2: Price & Positioning, Platform, Promotion, Conversion

Price & Positioning

Now we're going to dig a little deeper into the how fromlearning about how to price your products for a marketing campaign Subject 1 above. We will start with Price and Positioning. Going back to that big box store we discussed earlier, having the lowest prices might work well for them. Remember, price isn't everything! 

Do your target customers shop by price only? Or is your product/service more focused on being unique, handmade, or custom? Are your products made with higher-quality materials? Does your packaging feel a bit more luxurious? Do you offer white-glove service for delivery and assembly? These are all things to consider when pricing. Make sure that your business is going to be profitable so that you can continue staying in business. Knowing about your competition's pricing can be helpful but it isn't all about the price. The value that you are offering is what is more important that to your customers.   




What platform will you be using to find your target market? Where will you build your online community? social media marketing tips

It can feel overwhelming with so many different platforms available at our fingertips. It doesn't have to be when you think about your ideal customer and what platform they are using.

Are you trying to reach a younger clientele? TikTok and Instagram might be the right places for you to place some social media ads. Do you offer great educational advice for the do-it-yourself market? YouTube would be the perfect platform for you to post videos, live q&a, and short video ads. 

Learning where your clients spend their time online is really important for building your marketing plan. You don't want to waste your resources placing ads on platforms where your products will never be seen by your target market. 

Don't forget about Pinterest and Linkedin. These are both great platforms for the right markets that have a lot less advertising on them than Facebook or Instagram. If you're more focused on business-to-business advertising, Linkedin would be a great place to start posting and building your community. 

It isn't just about buying ads. Most platforms want people to spend time there. They want you to interact with your community. Liking, commenting, and sharing posts on a consistent basis is just as useful as a paid ad. 

Speaking of paid ads...



how to tell your brand's story

Now that you've narrowed down the platforms that are most beneficial to your business, think about how you want to tell your story. If you want to establish your expertise and build confidence in your services, videos are the perfect way to promote your business. 

If you're a chiropractor and you have a ton of advanced education and knowledge for helping clients relieve pain, consider creating a YouTube channel and uploading some videos giving some demos. You can show some helpful stretches or products that relieve pain in targeted areas. Recycle some of the content from the videos to create a quicker format and post to TikTok. Get creative! 

No matter what industry you're in there is a place for you to promote your business. Planning is definitely the key to promotions that work. You can spend one day per week creating video content for different platforms. Use different edits and B-roll for each different platform so that your customers get new content from you everywhere they look. This takes planning but practice makes perfect and you need to start somewhere! Turn those videos into condensed versions and you have an ad! You don't need to hire a videographer and spend thousands to create effective ads. Planning and creativity can go much further than an expensive videographer.



How to convert ads to customers with a marketing plan  Ok so you your ads are published and you have new customers making purchases. Your ROI (return on investment) is looking good and you're making sales! Congratulations!

The marketing plan isn't done yet. Once you have some customers what are you doing to make sure they come back? How are you continuing to build the relationship and ensuring that they return? How are you keeping their trust so that they are loyal to your brand?

This is where you should spend possibly even more energy because as you might already know, keeping current customers is much more economical than trying to reach new customers. 

For my salon, the first thing that we did to deepen the relationship with our clients and gain their trust was to give them a welcome gift. It wasn't much and wasn't a huge investment, but it was just a little something extra that separated us from everyone else. It was an envelope in our brand color. I designed a welcome letter that I had professionally printed and included information and frequently asked questions, along with how to reach me directly if they had any issues or questions. It had our return/refund policy clearly stated so they felt confident that we were fair and truly cared about them. We included a brochure, 3 referral cards for them to share with their friends and family, a few pieces of candy, and a few sample packets of our products. We also had a note about our referral program and our rewards program.

It was a small investment that maybe cost about $1 per envelope but the response from clients was definitely worth it. Not only were they pleasantly surprised by the free samples, but they loved just getting a cute little gift from us. They also were more willing to use the referral cards because they saw what was in it for them and they were happy to share.

If you don't know where to start, ask your best customers! They would love to share things that they think would add value to their experience with you. Be a thoughtful listener and take notes. Reading over the notes later might spark an idea that is easy to put in place and very cost-effective. Don't forget you can always reach out to me and schedule a brainstorming session! I'm always happy to help.


grow your small business with referrals and how to increase your prices

Subject 3: Growth, Referrals, Ticket Increase


Your marketing plan is now on the last subject and it is all about growing your business. We already discussed how to retain our current customers and continuing to deepen the relationships while building trust. 

how to grow your small business with referrals

Referrals and Retention

Giving your current customers a great experience is the best way to get referrals. You want them to tell their friends and family how much they enjoyed your products or services. 

But what are you doing to ensure that they refer new customers to your business? Planning a referral program is a great marketing tool that is very affordable. Be careful not to make it too complicated for customers or else they won't use it. 

For my salon, I had a very easy-to-understand rewards program. Customers earned 1 point for every dollar they spent and they could redeem their points for free services. For example, 300 points could get them a free eyebrow shaping or conditioning treatment. Easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to redeem their points. Customers loved it and used it and were excited about it.

The best part? We gave them 300 bonus points for every client they referred to us. Once we put this in place, I had cards printed with our referral program. Clients would hand out the cards after writing their name on it. When the new customer came in and handed us the card, we added bonus points to the current customer that referred them. 

Clients were really on board with the referral program because they had great service at our salon but also because we gave them an incentive with the bonus points. The cost of the program was just business cards and the eyebrow shape or conditioning treatment for the 300 points. Estimate .10 per card and a 10 minute service with minimal cost and it is easy to see that the ROI was amazing!

What referral program can you build for your business? How will you spread the news about the new program? What incentive will you give your current customers to send you new customers?


Ticket Increase

With the rising cost of supplies and shipping prices, how are you planning to keep up with inflation?how to raise prices for your small business

Raising prices is a regular part of business and it can be very helpful to have a plan in place. Will you do a price increase every year? Will you raise prices every time your suppliers raise their prices? How will you be able to give raises to your employees without raising your prices?

I did yearly price increases for my salon regardless of supply costs so that I could give raises to my employees. I also did an analysis every quarter of supply costs to see if prices were increased for the things that we used to do our services. If needed, I raised our prices according to the increased prices of supplies. This was a normal part of doing business and ensured that the business would remain profitable.

When thinking about how to roll out a price increase, how will you notify your customers? Do you need to notify your customers? Some businesses never actually notify customers about price increases. Have you ever received an update when the grocery store raised prices for chicken? Did you even notice if the price went up? 

Your business might not need to notify customers about price increases. It really depends on your brand. If you continue to provide value and great customer service, the prices might not be a factor for your customers. If your business is reliant on great prices to keep customers, how will you plan the increase?


easy small business marketing plan

Your marketing plan is ready to launch!

You've now completed your 3 Subject Marketing Plan and you've learned about some of the important things to consider when planning the marketing strategy for your business. 

Remember, you can always reach out to me if you're having any challenges with your marketing plan. You can also book a consultation or session via phone, facetime or zoom with me to help you build your marketing plan or launch a marketing campaign for your small business.

I truly hope that you enjoyed this blog and that it was helpful to you for running a successful small business.

If you found this blog helpful, please consider giving it a share and leaving a comment. This will help me to know that it's working and will let me know to keep building this type of content. Thank you!



contact me to book a session and build your marketing campaigncontact me to book a session and build your marketing campaign

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