A marketing plan is a must for your home-based business. After all, marketing is what helps you spread the word about your business and get new customers. But if you've never made a marketing plan before, it can be hard to know where to start.
To help small business owners such as home entrepreneurs, home freelancers, and home hobbyists create a marketing plan, we have a simplified six-step process that will help you get real results:
- Assess your current business situation
- Determine what you can invest
- Outline your marketing objectives
- Identify your target group
- Determine your marketing tactics
- Draw up an action plan that prioritises tasks
We have compiled these steps into a free marketing plan template that you can use to get started right now.
6 steps for an effective marketing plan
Let's go through each step in detail so that you have everything you need to create a marketing plan for your home-based business.
Step 1: Assess your current business situation
Before you start writing the marketing plan for your home-based business, it is important to take stock of where you are now so that you can set the best marketing goals and objectives.
This is the ideal time for a good SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
A SWOT analysis is useful when creating your marketing plan, because it allows you to look at your business objectively and identify areas where you are doing well now and where you might want to improve.
For example, you already have a good social media presence, so that would be a strength, but you don't get as many website visits as you think you should, which could be an opportunity.
Once you have conducted your SWOT analysis, you might also consider looking at your main competitors and analysing what kind of marketing they seem to be doing, where they are doing well, and where you could stand out. For example, when you search on your company's keywords, do PPC ads appear for their business?
By taking a good look at your company and your competitors' companies, you can lay a solid foundation for the rest of your marketing plan.
Step 2: Determine what you can invest
Now that you have analysed your current business situation, it is time to find out how much you can invest in a marketing plan for your home-based business. This will help guide the rest of your planning.
Draw up a budget
Marketing costs money. So you have to be realistic about what you can spend to invest in a successful marketing plan.
If you are not sure how much money to spend on marketing, most new businesses allocate 12-20% of their gross sales, while established businesses allocate 6-12%.
It may seem like a big chunk, but the return on your investment will be worth it with the right marketing plan for home-based businesses!
And even if you have little or no budget to spend on marketing, every little bit can help you take your business to the next level. (Plus, there are some great free and low-cost marketing ideas you can try).
Budget your time
How much time can you invest in marketing per week? It is very easy to let your marketing slip away when you are focused on running your business, but having a specific goal will help you keep track of how you are doing compared to your plan.
In terms of how far you need to plan, one year is not a bad place to start. If this is the first time you are creating a marketing plan for your business, you should understand that over time you may need to make some course corrections. You don't have to completely turn your marketing plan around every month, but you also don't want to go a whole year without taking stock of what's working and what's not.
Step 3: Outline your marketing goals
Now it's time to get to work! Once you have a good understanding of your opportunities and weaknesses and your budget, you can start writing your marketing goals.
Marketing objectives must be SMART. See above.
This objective is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
When it comes to writing your marketing objectives, you might consider some broad marketing objectives that many home-based businesses have, including:
- Building an online presence.
- Lead generation.
- Increasing brand awareness.
- Connecting and communicating with their audience.
- Growing their online audience.
You can determine which of these are most useful for your business and then make them SMART.
Step 4: Identify your target group
Before you can underpin your marketing plan, it is important to know who you are going to target with your marketing. Your target audience varies based on a number of factors, including your business type, your area, and more.
Often, you can direct your marketing plan to your target audience. Make this a part of your work-at-home marketing plan. For example, if your target audience is Gen-Z, then print ads are probably not going to be the best way to reach them.
Step 5: Determine your marketing tactics
Now that you have outlined your marketing goals and know who your target audience is, it is time to determine what the marketing plan of your home-based business will consist of.
Look at each of your marketing goals and make a list of the marketing tactics you think you need or want to use to achieve them.
Let's use our example marketing goal from above. To increase website traffic by 5% in six months, there are a number of different tactics we can use, such as:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - This will help us optimise our website to be found in search engines. Django Websites are SEO optimised.
- PPC - This will lead users more directly to our website while our SEO will take off.
- Facebook Ads - These will help increase our audience and drive more visitors to our site.
Once you have completed this exercise for each marketing goal, you can review the budget you set in step two to determine what is realistic and doable - both from a time and money point of view.
This is also the point in creating your marketing plan where you can decide whether you want to outsource your marketing plan by working with a marketing partner. It may take a little more budget to outsource your marketing, but it will save you time and bring better results in the long run.
Step 6: Draw up an action plan that prioritises tasks
Congratulations! You now have all the pieces to put together a marketing plan. The next task is to simply write down the tasks you want to accomplish and prioritise them.
This may seem like an unnecessary step, but nothing could be further from the truth. You want to have a nice to-do list that you can refer to when you have a free moment to work on your marketing.
By making this list of priorities, your marketing becomes much more accessible and you are much more likely to get started and stick with it. Once you have made your list, hang it in a highly visible place so you can refer to it quickly.
Start your marketing plan for home workers today
Now that you have created your home business marketing plan, you need to make sure that you measure your results and adjust your plan accordingly. Your goals may change as changes occur in your home-based business, the economy and your market, but your overall marketing plan should keep you on track for success and growth.