If you work for a tiny company or a startup, chances are that you don’t have a marketing plan. You probably know that you should have one, and you might even have tried to put one together — but looking at all the books and templates out there, you get lost somewhere between the elevator pitch and the SWOT analysis.
If you don’t have a plan in place yet, commit to taking just one hour out of the day to create what I’m calling a Minimalist Marketing Plan. This plan has the bare minimum of what you need, just 6 things to do and document so that while you are getting your company off the ground, you can rely on more than just luck to make some sales and move forward.
Like this? Download the Minimalist Marketing Plan PDF.
#1. Designate a marketing person
If your company consists of more than just you, take the time to discuss who should be the “marketing face” of the company. It’s fine for everyone to be out in the world talking about the company, but be sure you have a unified voice, someone who is the main face, and someone who is ultimately responsible for your marketing.
#2. Get a real domain + email addresses
Nothing says “amateur” like using a generic email address in your business. It is easy and inexpensive to get your own domain. If you are using a gmail, yahoo, or Comcast email address for your business, stop RIGHT NOW and read my post about Your Business Name and Domain.
#3. Get a website
Even if you have nothing else in place, get a website up that includes at least the name of your business, a carefully-crafted (and spell-checked!) sentence about what you do, and contact info including your email address. Yes, your final website must have much, much more than this – but having this bare minimum site online is better than no web presence at all. Be sure to consider this an intermediary step and plan to get a “real” website as soon as you can.
#4. Write messaging for your company and key products
Messaging is a critical part of any marketing plan. You need to have a clear description of what your company doe, and of your top products and services. If you don’t have a lot of time right now, at least make sure you have messaging for your overall company. See my post about Messaging 101.
#5. Set pricing for key products and services
Will you have a set hourly rate for everything you do? Will you have different pricing for non-profit organizations? Will you have discounts in place for bulk purchases? Make these pricing decisions and write it down to save yourself from having to figure it out from scratch every time someone asks you “How much?”
#6. Set an initial marketing budget
Now that you have the basics in place, take a look at your finances and see if you can set aside some cash for marketing. There are some things best left to pros, and logo design is just one of them.
… and more
I could make this list much longer, but these are the main things for the minimalist to get started. Many other things follow such as a logo, a real website, social marketing plans, and more. After you have these basics done, if you have the budget, hire a pro and get going. If you simply don’t have the bang in your bank account yet, go to my Resources page and listen to my talk about Shoestring Marketing to get started, and take a look at my post on Text-based Logos. And before you worry about brochures and other things, make a good website your top marketing priority.
The moral of the story
A marketing plan is critical to every company. If you don’t have a plan in place yet, commit to taking just one hour to create a “Minimalist Marketing Plan” so you can rely on more than just luck to make some sales and move forward. But don’t stop here! Once you have the time, be sure to get a “real” marketing plan in place.
Click a tag for related posts:agencies Basecamp blog brand business computers customer support editing email estimates evernote freelance gadgets graphics iPad job hunting logos mac marketing messaging notes Outlook packaging planning PowerPoint presentations productivity product review professionalism project management projects recommendations resume reviews self publishing social media spam stock photography Technology tradeshows virtual meetings web design windows Word writing
- Comparing Five Note-taking Tools
- Breaking up with a client
- Virtual Meeting Tip: Sound
- Can we reduce travel to business meetings?
- A Blog Post about Blogging
- Serious Layout in MS Word
- A Supercomputing vocabulary primer
- Planning categories and tags for an organized blog
- Improving Your Presentations
- 1-minute Photo Improvement
- Why Do You Blog?
- Batch Processing with Affinity Photo
- The Entrepreneur’s 10-Step Condensed Business Plan
- iPad: How Old is Too Old?
- Do I Have Enough to Quit My Day Job?
- Leave Localization to the Pros
- Make Your Calendars Play Nice Together
- Free Graphics Sources
- Mirrored Margins in MS Word
- A Tale of Three Headsets
- Time to Move On
- The Event Plan: a Tradeshow Primer
- GoToWebinar Basics
- Outlook for Mac: So Close!
- From Windows to Mac
- Evernote is Awesome
- Set Up a DocBook Toolchain
- Your Professional Resume
- Stock Photography Tips
- Tricking Your Customers is Disrespectful
- Deadline Management
- Manage To-dos With Basecamp
- The Brydge+ iPad Keyboard
- LinkedIn for Job Seekers
- Week Numbers in Outlook
- Hidden Impacts of Project Schedule Delays
- Getting Started in Self-publishing
- 13 Tips for Your Blog or Newsletter
- Do Religion and Marketing Mix?
- Consistent Color = Brand Power
- Outlook Automation with “Quick Steps”
- Comment Spam: I Give Up
- Good Design Housekeeping
- File Naming Sanity
- PowerPoint Graphics Tips
- Comment Karma
- Comparing Two iPad Keyboards: ZAGG and Logitech
- Outlook Rules 101
- Consolidated Outlook Inbox
- Five Steps to Plan a Website
- Choosing a Domain
- Outlook Productivity: Tagged Searching
- Considering a Switch from Windows to Mac?
- Tradeshow Giveaways & Promotional Gifts
- Why Rush Jobs Are Evil
- Online Printing: Customer Service is King
- Estimate Etiquette
- Getting Organized With Outlook PSTs
- WordPress vs. Weebly
- Comparing 5 Online PM Tools
- Choosing your Next Non-Mac Computer
- Is it Really a Blog?
- Your Laptop’s Video Connectors
- Know Your Graphics – or Look Like You Do
- Add a Keyboard to Your iPad
- Letterhead in an Email World
- Use Simple URLs
- Keep in Touch with Your Customers With Email
- Rolling Up the Feedback
- Keep Agency Project Costs Down
- Merchandising and Your Brand
- Your Email Address and Your Brand
- B2B Social Media: Are you overlooking StumbleUpon?
- Email Marketing vs. Spam
- The Long-copy Sales Page in 5 Steps
- You Need a Writing Style Guide
- Why Reference Cards?
- Lose the Hyphen!
- The Minimalist Marketing Plan
- Your Business Name and Domain
- Trade Downloads For User Data
- Monitor Social Media For Product Feedback
- Take Every Branding Opportunity
- Messaging 101
- Creative Use of Your Customer Service Stories
- Don’t Stop With a Call To Action
- Creating a Text-based Logo
- The Reluctant Social Media Networker
- Save Money With an Effective RFQ
- User Communities and Exclusivity
- Recommendations and Your Reputation
- The iPad As Business Tool