Can a one-page marketing plan really be as good as a 30-page marketing plan? No—we think it can be even better!
Here’s why: a one-page marketing plan forces you to develop a razor-sharp focus for what’s actually important to your business, and then act on it.
As a small business owner today, you’ve got countless marketing options to choose from. But let’s face it: that means you can easily spend days or even years researching different marketing tactics, weighing the pros and cons of Facebook versus Google ads, earned versus paid exposure, or whether to invest in your social media presence or your email strategy.
Today, we’re sharing a one-page marketing plan template to help you clarify your marketing goals and start achieving them. After all, planning is important—but planning without action is pointless.
So let’s dive in. You can use the insights below to help you fill out our free one-page marketing template.
Part 1: Look at the Big Picture
To create a solid marketing plan, first think about your audience: who are they and what do they really care about? Then take a step back and look at your product or service: how does it speak to your audience’s needs, hopes, and dreams—or problems and fears? Finally, based on those two insights, sketch out your core marketing message.
Too many businesses build amazing products—only to discover that nobody ever wanted them in the first place! To be successful, your service or your product must speak to your target audience’s needs. This is why this “big picture” snapshot is the foundation of your marketing plan.
Here’s a little background to help you fill out the big picture portion of your marketing plan:
- Who is your audience? Don’t say: “Women between the ages of 30-50.” That is not specific enough, but this is: “Older moms (ages 35-45) with a masters-level degree or higher, who have put their careers on hold to care for their kids.” The more detailed you can be, the better.
- What do they worry about? Next, jot down the problems they’re up against. Get down to the real details: what do they reveal only to their closest friends? What keeps them up at night? What are they secretly afraid of?
- What do they hope for? Again, be very specific. Everyone wants to make more money/lose more weight/have more time. Those are all too general. Challenge yourself to dig deeper: what, exactly, is the future your target market hopes for?
Your Product or Service
Think of your product or service in terms of how it meets your audience’s real needs. Yes, you may be a hairstylist, but you aren’t just selling a haircut—you’re selling the confidence that comes with a fresh look. You may be a family photographer, but you aren’t just selling pictures—you’re helping people preserve a beautiful memory. You may be a tax accountant, but you aren’t just completing returns—you’re giving people their time back. See the distinction?
To market your product or service effectively, you naturally have to articulate what it is (a haircut, a set of pictures, a tax return). But you also have to speak to the deeper “why” behind it all (confidence, memories, time). So, what are you actually selling, and more importantly, why?
Your Core Marketing Message
You know your audience. You know your product. And you know why your audience would want or need that product. So how will you communicate that in one or two simple sentences? This is your core marketing message. Think about what makes your product or service unique. What sets you apart from your competitors, and why should people care? How will you say that?
Part 2: Outline Your Marketing Goal & Action Steps
Next, outline your marketing goal and the action steps you will take to reach it.
Your Marketing Goal
Pick just one goal to focus on for now. Is it to gain more followers? To drive more people to your website? To generate 10% more sales than last quarter? Be very specific about the numbers you want to achieve, and the timeline you will give yourself for doing so. Here are some examples of marketing goals:
- Gain 200 more social media followers in two weeks
- Get 100 people to sign up for a workshop by next month
- Grow your email list to 4,000 subscribers by next quarter
Your Marketing Action Plan
You’ve got a clear goal. Now how will you reach it? Here are a few examples of action steps you could take:
- To build a greater social following, you might try out paid social ads on Facebook or Instagram.
- To get people to sign up for a workshop, you might hand out flyers at a local event.
- …or you might double down on email marketing, offer a special promotion or price discount, take out an ad in a local paper, or host a free event. There are endless marketing possibilities that can help you reach your goal.
If you’re not sure what exactly you can do, be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Marketing for Small Business, which gives you all the inspiration and tips you need to create a marketing campaign from the ground up.
Finally, set a clear budget and timeline for your marketing action plan and be clear about how you’ll measure your success. How will you know that you’ve reached your goal? Will it be when you hit a certain number of followers? Sell a certain number of products? Or get a certain number of page views? The way you measure your success should directly tie back to your initial marketing goal.
Now that you have your one-page marketing plan in hand, go out and take action. After all, the point of a marketing plan isn’t to create a beautiful marketing plan: it’s to get you to the next step, which is to get started.