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  • 6 Ranked Marketing Plan Examples for Small Businesses

Each new year means time for a new marketing strategy. As a past and current employee of tech startups, I’m painfully familiar with the adage “grow or die.” And while 2021 is shaping up to be another tough year for small businesses, we’re here to help you kickstart your growth plan.

We scoured the web for the best marketing plan examples, and we’re sharing the top six, why they work, and what you need to do to adjust each template for your specific business needs.


What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is an overview of any efforts your business makes to attract and convert customers. These plans typically work closely with sales strategy and are focused on spreading brand awareness, driving conversions, and enabling sales.

A marketing plan requires a goal and supporting action items to drive results toward accomplishing that goal. Your marketing goal should reflect an overall company goal. For example, if you want to drive 100k in new business this year, you want to align your marketing plan with goals that will drive new customers to your door.

This plan could include giving PDFs and flyers to salespeople, networking with industry heavyweights, or investing in social media advertising. Whatever you choose to move the needle, that’s your marketing plan!


Why does your business need a marketing plan?

You know you need to bring in a certain amount of revenue each week or month to keep the lights on and your employees paid. And to make sure you keep turning a profit, you need to build a plan to keep that money coming in.

A marketing plan will also help focus your team on specific KPIs to track throughout the month or quarter. If these metrics are pre-defined, you can immediately know when the marketing tactics go off-track or miss the mark. Then, quickly and strategically correct your plan.

Let’s dig in.


Marketing Plan Example 1: BusinessTown’s Multichannel Marketing on a Budget

BusinessTown sets out a multichannel marketing plan for Landscape Express, LLC on a $2,000 budget. This marketing plan walks through purpose, target audience, all the way through to choosing CTAs and measuring results.

If you’re looking for a simple, easy place to start your marketing, check out this example marketing plan first.

sample marketing plan - businesstown

Marketing Plan Example Pro:

This marketing plan is comprehensive without being overwhelming. BusinessTown lays out specifics in each channel, from what works best on Facebook and Twitter, to considering advertising in local circulars and on trucks.

Importantly, they lay out the target audience and unique value proposition at the start of the marketing plan. Do not miss this step. Not only should it frame the rest of your marketing plan, but it is also vitally important to create ads and write copy echoing the value prop throughout.

Marketing Plan Example Con:

This marketing plan stays simple. A fully functional and built-out marketing team won’t find much value in this strategy; it may not even be useful after one quarter of fully-fledged marketing. However, if the business needs to pivot to a new audience or develops a new offering, BusinessTown can bring you back to the basics.


Marketing Plan Example 2: Venngage’s Comprehensive Marketing Plan Templates

This may be the most comprehensive marketing plans I’ve ever seen. Venngage made sure to include a downloadable template for each piece of your marketing strategy, from an introduction and executive plan onward. Make sure you take these templates with you.

marketing plan example - venngage

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Marketing Plan Example Pro:

The PDFs! The design work! The in-depth, step-by-step strategic planning! Venngage did good things for small businesses. I found sections on user personas particularly valuable for organization as well as the competitive research.

Insider tip: if you’re a marketer interviewing for a position at a small business and they ask you to create a sample marketing plan for them, start with Venngage’s resources. It’s sure to blow your potential employers away.

Marketing Plan Example Con:

It’s hard to choose a con for this particular example, but to be honest: I don’t think you need to go to this level of design for a marketing plan. Yes, any board or CEO will enjoy a nicely made slide deck or PDF of your proposed strategy, but don’t get lost in the design weeds instead of actually executing on the plan itself.

Bottom line: it’s about the quality of the content within the plan, not the aesthetic, that will really move the needle.


Marketing Plan Example 3: Contently’s Content-First Marketing Plan

Contently present their marketing plan through a series of questions and answering each one will clarify the steps and strategy you should take. Don’t worry, they don’t simply ask the questions and leave you out to dry. Contently walks marketers and businesses through exactly how to present their offer to their audience — with a few helpful charts and diagrams along the way.

marketing plan example - contently

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Marketing Plan Example Pro:

Contently breaks down marketing plans into four basic steps: objective, audience, market, and resources. They certainly have the best explanation of where to start and how to shape your mindset when it comes to advertising. But my favorite is their breakdown of a marketing funnel.

I know from experience, it’s difficult to wrap your mind around a user’s purchase journey with your product. It’s particularly hard if you’ve never thought about it analytically. Use Contently’s chart as a jumping-off point to plan the content you need at each point in the funnel.

Okay, final point: I love the way Contently talks about finding white space in an industry. This is exactly what I talk to founders and department heads and entrepreneurs about constantly; what makes you different than everyone else offering the same type of product? What makes you special? Why should I buy from you and not your competitor? Answer this question well and you’re off to the races.

Marketing Plan Example Con:

This is a content-first marketing plan. While I love it, because I am a content marketer, I understand that content building isn’t for every business. If you’re not leaning into content marketing or looking into hiring someone on your team to produce quality content, you can skip this marketing plan. But, you might want to consider content marketing for your small business anyway!


Marketing Plan Example 4: Hubspot’s Content Marketing Plan for All Businesses

Hubspot lays out a comprehensive marketing plan for businesses of all sizes. From small to SMBs to enterprise, this plan focuses on building quality content into a recurring, reliable marketing lever.

marketing plan example - hubspot

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Marketing Plan Example Pro:

I particularly like that Hubspot includes a section of this plan that outlines what to look for in content marketers — either a freelance contractor or a full-time hire. If you haven’t personally written content, it can be challenging to select the good writers from the bad. Even better, they break it down into long-form content producers and copywriters for social media, which are two very different skill sets.

Marketing Plan Example Con:

As above, if content marketing is not in your wheelhouse or budget, you can skip this plan. This may seem like a personal dig, but I don’t love that Hubspot can slide marketing for their products into this plan. To be clear, you can follow that plan and not buy all the fancy tools.


Marketing Plan Example 5: Drip’s E-Commerce Email Workflows

First up, Drip’s multiple workflows to help set up email campaigns. Drip specifically set these workflows up for integrations with e-commerce platforms; if your small business uses Magento, Shopify, or WooCommerce, you’re in luck.

From re-engagement to pruning your list of unsubscribers, Drip has a multitude of email marketing workflows covered.

marketing plan example - drip

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Marketing Plan Example Pro: 

Drip makes it easy to follow these workflows; they allow you to send them directly to your email. Even better, each flow is literally laid out in a flow chart. The easy task for marketers is understanding that yes, we should be removing unsubscribes from our email blasts. But in reality, how do you make sure they’re taken out or suppressed?

The birthday and anniversary loyalty workflow remain my personal favorite!

Marketing Plan Example Con:

Drip’s workflows were made exclusively for email marketing campaigns. While we’ve touched on other marketing plans here that focus on one channel, Drip’s gives the least amount of direction to the audience.

Keep in mind, each of these workflows can be valuable when sent with the correct content to the right audience at the right time.


Marketing Plan Example 6: Visme’s Step-by-Step Marketing Plan Template

Saved the best for last. Visme not only lays out how they think you should set up a marketing plan, but they also have a roundup of templates for you to access and leverage. They cover restaurant marketing, product marketing, social media strategy, and more.

marketing plan example - visme

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Marketing Plan Example Pro:

Like the other marketing plans, Visme starts by asking for an executive summary, mission statement, market competition, and audience. These are laid out in a digestible format with steps to identify and complete each portion of defining the strategy.

Even better, Visme helps you define a marketing budget that is appropriate for your goals. This may be one of the hardest tasks we have as marketers and business owners — choosing a budget and remaining within those parameters.

But truly, the best part of Visme’s marketing plan is the gorgeous and comprehensive templates provided at the end of their post — with commentary. Don’t pass these up.

Marketing Plan Example Pro:

I wish there was a bit more detail in the steps of the marketing plan for beginners. For instance, I know how to write an executive summary and hold a workshop to form a mission statement, because I did that in big corporations. But we shouldn’t expect the same depth of marketing knowledge from all small business owners. If you’re looking for an exact description of your marketing strategy, Visme isn’t for earliest-stage marketers.


Bonus Marketing Plan Example: LOCALiQ’s Marketing Plan Template

We couldn’t finish this list without a plug for LOCALiQ’s example marketing plan. You can use this editable template to create your marketing plan, with a space to outline your goals and objectives, target audience, and more so you can organize your thoughts in an easy-to-use format.

localiq - create your small business marketing plan - template download

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