Create a Simple Marketing Plan for Your Small Business

track annual marketing planTemplates and tips to create an annual marketing plan to keep your marketing and budget on track throughout the year

Each year businesses have a chance to “start fresh” with their annual marketing plans and budget. Its a chance to look back at what you accomplished with your marketing the previous year and build on new ideas and strategies for the upcoming year.

The marketing planning process doesn’t have to be a daunting task for small businesses. With a little thoughtful planning (and some helpful tools and templates) putting together your annual marketing plan can be a relatively easy and simple process.

Whether you are a long standing small business that just needs a simpler process to putting together a marketing plan, or a new start-up business writing your first marketing plan – here are some tips to help you with an annual marketing plan that keeps your business on the track to success.

Clearly Define Marketing Goals

The biggest mistake any business can make when it comes to marketing is not having clearly defined goals. It doesn’t make sense to simply slap together a plan of action without any defined marketing goals and objectives for your business.

You may think your goals and objectives are the same each year – generate sales. But many businesses will have slightly different goals each year based on what happened the previous year and what you expect (or hope) to happen the coming year. It’s wise to go through a simle marketing goals and objective exercise to make sure you are focused on the current state of your business. Download this simple Marketing Goals Template (FREE) that walks you through questions you should answer prior to building your annual marketing plan.

Review Previous Year’s Marketing Plans and Budgets

Now is the perfect time to take a closer look at what you did over the last year. Did you spend money in the right areas to get results you wanted? Should you ramp up or dial back certain marketing activities or spending? Hopefully you have been tracking your marketing spending throughout the year to make this review process pretty quick and easy. If not, its best to get a marketing plan expense tracking process in place for next year so that you can easily see where your marketing dollars are going.

Marketing Plan Templates

Taking advantage of marketing plan templates is the best way to quickly and easily build an annual marketing plan for your small business. The only problem is that sometimes they can be too simple – not customized enough for your business.

marketing plan template builder

We recommend you try our new Marketing Plan Template Builder as an easy way to create a tactical marketing plan that is customized for your specific business.

You simply select tactics from drop down options of commonly used strategies and tactics, select target dates and define target audiences. After your selections are made it builds an Excel template with your customized options so that you can track your annual plans and budget.

The Marketing Plan Templates Builder is only $5.99 for unlimited use – perfect for using year after year for your business (or editing for multiple business units/regions/clients, etc.)  Learn More and Download Now.

The most important final step – once your plan is “complete” make sure you use it and revise it throughout the year as needed. If you are going off-track with your budget, make adjustments by cutting back on certain tactics or increasing your budget if needed. Track the results of individual plans – response rates, sales leads and revenue – so that you can focus your limited budget on things that are working for your business. How do you keep your marketing plans on track throughout the year? Please share your feedback in the comments below!

The following two tabs change content below.
With nearly 30 years of integrated marketing experience, Diane is the founder of and author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. Diane also runs Marine Marketing Tools, a site that bridges her passion for boating and small business marketing, and two boating lifestyle sites: and