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Brand storytelling is a vital aspect of any successful marketing strategy. While it’s important to create content to increase traffic, the content must do more than provide customers with information about your products. With endless options out there, customers are looking to give their business to companies that resonate with their experiences, values, and goals.

Trust becomes more important than the products or services you offer.

This is where brand storytelling comes in. Stories trigger a response in our brains and invite us to make connections. Good stories stick with us and drive action.

In this post, we’ll explore:

The difference between a brand statement and a brand story.

Why you need to share your brand’s story.

How to create a brand story.

How to tell your brand story.

What Is a Brand Statement vs. a Brand Story?

A brand statement is a short statement of what your company does and how that solves your customers’ problems. A brand story is the accumulation of every touchpoint between customers and your brand.

A good brand story is a compelling and engaging narrative that puts your customers and their needs at the center. In a brand story, your customer is the main character. When they see themselves as a vital part of the story and your business (and your business as part of their story), you’ve made a genuine connection.

Why You Need to Share Your Brand’s Story

When you share your brand’s story with your customers, you build an emotional connection, establish trust, and encourage them to take action. Brand stories drive brand awareness and conversions by strengthening your relationship with the customer.

Your brand story will help you build an emotional connection with your customers.

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Your brand story helps you establish trust with your customers.

Eighty-one percent of people say that trust is a deciding factor when making a purchase. It is difficult for potential customers to trust a faceless organization. A brand story helps to humanize your brand by demonstrating how your attitudes, beliefs, and values connect with your customers.

A brand story encourages your customers to take action.

Related: See examples of brands using their story on their about us pages.

How to Build Your Brand Story

Creating your brand story is easier said than done and ties in many facets of your business. Use these five steps to create your brand story.

1. Define Who You Are

Before you turn your brand statement into a brand story, you need to write a brand statement. This is where you define who you are and what you offer. It may help to review your mission statement or write one if you haven’t already. A mission statement is written for the company and its employees; a brand statement is geared towards customers and clients.

A brand statement defines:

What your company does or the services they sell.

How your company does it. (This includes the Unique Value Proposition (UVP), or the unique products or services you offer.)

Why you do what you do. (This is the most important because it connects to your audience on an emotional level.)

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The three essential elements for any story are character, conflict, and revelation. By expanding your brand statement to follow the narrative structure, you can create a compelling, engaging, and memorable brand story that invites your prospects and customers to connect with your business.

(It’s also important to create a brand identity. Find out how to do that here!) 

Related: Find out how to define your brand purpose.

2. Make Your Story Compelling (Answer the “What?”)

To make your brand story compelling, establish the characters and conflict. This corresponds with the “What?” part of your brand statement.

You are not the main character of your brand story; your customers are. If you need to identify your target audience, create buyer personas. The conflict stems from the problems or pain points your customers are experiencing. Without a conflict, your story would be little more than a sales pitch. By showing you understand your customers’ challenges, you connect with your customers on a human level, rather than remaining a faceless business.

Your customer has likely already identified their problem before they visit your business. You might only need to confirm you can solve it or point out other issues they haven’t considered yet.

A good story always includes specific details. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more specific you are with your story’s details, the more universal the appeal is. Provide educational content, such as ebooks, blogs, or how-to webinars. Use case studies to show challenges your customers faced and how your company helped solve them.

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3. Make Your Story Engaging (Answer the “How?”)

To make your story engaging, set up a clear path for your potential customers to interact with your business. This corresponds with the “How?” of your brand statement.

Here you can provide insights and solutions to address these problems and promote your UVP. Your potential customers will see you as an expert who is genuinely concerned with them. This may include a FAQ page, product demonstrations, or informational articles or videos.

4. Make Your Story Memorable (Answer the “Why?”)

As any moviegoer will tell you, the ending is important. A surprising ending can transform a mediocre film into a great one, and a disappointing ending can leave the audience grumbling. The same is true for your brand story.

To make your story memorable, make your audience see things in a new light. This is the revelation of the story and where the “Aha!” moment lives. This corresponds with the “Why?” of your brand statement.

Answering the “Why?” shows how your products or services can address your customers’ needs. Just like in the brand statement, this is the moment you link your story to a larger value or principle that drives both you and your customers. The key is to invite the customer to make an emotional connection with your brand. You want them to think not only about the products you sell but how your products fit into the stories of their lives.

When you cause your customers to rethink something — about your company, your product or services, or even themselves and their needs — the experience is cemented in their minds. Customers link your business with that positive emotion.

Follow with a call to action. This may be to sign up for emails, request more information, or make a purchase.

Let’s take a moment to look at the brand story from my favorite bagel shop, Rosenberg’s:

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Not only are they solving my problem of wanting a bagel, but they are also addressing a need I didn’t know I had — I couldn’t get an authentic New York bagel in Denver! They do this by tapping into a larger value, tradition. As a customer, I feel I’m getting something both unique (for Denver) and traditional (even if it’s an NYC tradition), which adds to that bagel’s value. And they did this by transforming their About Us page into their brand story.

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5. Keep Your Story Consistent & Cohesive

To keep your brand story intact, write a short brand story from the elements you mapped out in the story arc. This serves as a focal point when creating content to make sure your story stays consistent and cohesive.

How to Keep Your Story Consistent

A brand story needs a consistent tone of voice. This tone should be authentic to you and your company and match your brand personality. If you are unsure of your brand personality, think about the customers you’d like to attract. Since customers are more likely to buy from brands that have personalities similar to their own, you can list the traits you notice in your customers and narrow it down to three to five adjectives.

If your university targets people who want a professional degree, like culinary, you might want to be:




If you target people interested in a STEM degree, maybe you are more:




When you create content, ask yourself questions like: What would my brand sound like? Is it formal, friendly, funny, or serious?

Use this tone for all your content, though you may need to adjust slightly for different media or audiences. A brand story is not about selling. It is part of a content marketing strategy rather than a sales pitch. Keep your tone authentic and honest to who you are.

How to Keep Your Story Cohesive

Your brand story should be consistent in each piece of content. If you notice the story starts to shift, go back and review your original story to see if it fits where your business is now. It may need retelling.

Read: Why Creating a Cohesive Brand Matters

How to Tell Your Brand Story

While your brand story needs to remain consistent and cohesive, you will need to adjust for different channels and audiences.

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1. Tailor Your Brand Story for Each Channel

You don’t want to put the exact same content on your site as you do on your social media platforms. These channels have their own set of customer expectations, so you want to fit your story within those guidelines. This is where you should consider how visuals and video can enhance your brand story.

2. Listen to Your Customers’ Feedback About Your Brand Story

Whenever we tell a story, we run the risk that the audience might see a meaning we didn’t intend. The same is true for a brand story. By listening to the stories your customers tell about your brand, you’ll see if your brand story is resonating with them the way you want. They may tell others about your business, post a review, or engage your business through social media.

3. Evolve Your Brand Story

The message you hear from customers becomes part of your brand story. If they write something that doesn’t fit with your brand story, you need to address and incorporate it. Responding with your authentic voice to your customers will reinforce your brand and help you maintain control of your story.

Get Started Sharing Your Brand Story with the World!

Every business – no matter how big or small – has a story that they can and should share with the world. By sharing your business’s mission statement as a carefully crafted brand story, you can connect authentically with those who are most likely to become your customer and give them a reason to keep coming back. Add storytelling into your brand strategy and let us know how it goes!

About the Author

Dani Rado has her Ph.D. from the University of Denver in creative writing and is an expert in storytelling. Dani is a writer, researcher, and marketing enthusiast. She is an avid cyclist and lives in Denver, Colorado.

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Our guest authors are industry experts, marketers, or business owners who cover a range of topics from sales, marketing, data, and entrepreneurship.

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How To Perform A Swot Analysis For Your Digital Brand

Learning Through The Example of SWOT Analysis: Nokia

In “Encyclopedia of Management Theory” Eric Kessler wrote “companies that keep analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats on a regular basis have 60 percent more chances to survive than the companies that don’t”. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (known by its abbreviation SWOT) is one of the most renowned and used analysis paradigm for marketers.

In this modern age of communication, promotion, and marketing, we still cannot defy the importance of SWOT analysis. We have seen digital brands conducting SWOT analysis on a whole new level. Only through the SWOT analysis did digital ad agencies realize the importance of a viral post versus old practices of email marketing and press releases. Granted, that is totally a different debate, in this post we will analyze how a SWOT analysis can help  a company to devise its marketing plan according to its strengths and opportunities while tackling threats and weaknesses. So, first of all, let’s look at what makes up a SWOT analysis.

What is SWOT?

Threats (T): Elements and situations in the environment which can cause trouble to the business or brand.

Before going digging deep into the steps of conducting SWOT analysis of a digital brand, let us see how beneficial it is for the companies.

Benefits of Using SWOT Analysis

A rigorous SWOT analysis that includes feedback from numerous sources can be a very long process, but the benefits of discovering ideas and new information offer a very sobering result. There is a ore time effective option. All organizational processes, departments, and sites can initiate separate analyses and specific results can be channeled to upper management. This provides a bottom-up analysis of the organization and endows management with a detailed view of every organizational segment. By breaking down the organization and asking individual departments and managers to conduct a compartmentalized SWOT, precious time can be saved, yet still allow for a vigorous examination of the organization.

SWOT Analysis for Nokia

Nokia Corporation is world’s leading company providing mobile devices, telecom equipment, and mobile content services.

Step 1:

The first step to conduct a SWOT analysis is to know the numbers, and by numbers we mean revenues in a fiscal year. Search Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, and MSNBC for financial readings. You can also download company’s annual report from the company’s official website. When we search Nokia on these platforms we found the following information:

Recorded Revenues (December 2012): $38.808.8 million

Decrease (since 2011): 21.9%

Operating loss (December 2012): $2,961.8 million

Net loss (December 2012): $3,994.6 million (Statistical Data Source: Nokia Annual Report 2012)

Analysis: As we have learned through statistics that Nokia is facing losses, the next step is to search for probable reasons.

Step 2:

Now we use search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and MSN with keywords like “Nokia decline reasons” and “Nokia decline” and set the time for “past month” in search tools. The results will yield several research papers and articles about the reasons behind Nokia’s decline. Skim through the articles and research paper summaries.

Analysis: Credible and authentic resources may include (but are not limited to) Harvard business review, Forbes, Inc, Time, Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, Hongkiat, and Techcrunch. Prepare a table like below and add points from your online research.

Strengths Weaknesses Diversified geographic presence Lower margins as compared to peers Opportunities Threats Positive outlook for smart phone and tablet market Declining average selling prices could impact profitability

 Note: You can add as many points as you can for your digital brand in the table, however keep in mind that each point must be precise, specific, and fit in the column’s description. For example, we may replace in our weaknesses column “Weak economic outlook for the US and Europe” with “weak buying power” but in order to portray a true and precise picture to the reader of the SWOT analysis we prefer to mention US and Europe as the potential marketplace.

Step 3:

Once you are finished with the points, now it is time to elaborate each point in detail and back it up with data (financial and annual reports) and research reports.

Analysis: For the purpose of providing an example, we will take one point each from the above columns and elaborate with data and research findings.

Fairly spread business operations (Strength): Nokia has fairly spread business operations and presence in various industries. Nokia’s portfolio of smartphones covers price points ranging from around E140 ($180) to more than E500 ($643). In FY2012, Nokia’s smart devices unit shipped approximately 35 million smartphones. Nokia also offers mass market and affordable smartphones. In FY2012, Nokia shipped approximately 300 million mass market and affordable smart phone devices. (Statistical Data Source: Nokia Annual Report 2012)

Legal proceedings may affect brand image (Weakness): The company is involved in several legal and administrative proceedings which could affect brand image. For instance, in January 2013, InterDigital Technology and InterDigital Communications filed a new complaint against Nokia with the International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging infringement of a single declared essential UMTS and LTE patent, and also filed a parallel case asserting the same patent in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. Through this action, IDT is seeking to exclude certain Nokia devices from being imported and sold in the US.

Strategic acquisitions boost top-line growth (Opportunity): The company has completed a number of acquisitions in the recent past which will boost its product portfolio and provide top-line growth. For instance in June 2013, Nokia completed the acquisition of Siemens’ stake in Nokia Siemens Networks.

Intense competition in the devices and services segment (Threat): The company faces intense competition in the devices and services business. The increasing demand for wireless access to the internet has had a significant impact on the competitive landscape of the market for mobile products and digital content. Companies with roots in the mobile devices, computing, internet, and other industries are increasingly competing for market share across all mobile products and services.

Wrap Up

It is essential and vital for businesses and companies to conduct SWOT on a regular basis, especially before launching a new product. Marketing professionals and students should master the art of conducting a SWOT analysis in order to be able to analyze marketing positions for their clients.  Before you make definitive decisions regarding the future of a brand or company, it is essential to make sure you have all relevant information, which as SWOT analysis can provide.

Finally, a SWOT can assist an organization in devising creative problem solving and strategic planning solutions for both short- and long-term initiatives. It can provide insight to isolate a cause, identify a problem, provide additional support for existing processes, and lead to strategic pathways for new proposals, projects, and ideas.

3 Content Marketing Videos Every Brand Should Create

Your digital marketing should use the communication mode your prospects prefer: videos. By producing compelling brand origin, segment-specific and explainer videos, you’ll stand apart from the competition

Everywhere you look these days, people are staring at screens. What they’re viewing most is social media videos and streamed TV. In digital marketing videos are no longer just a nice to have; they’re a core medium through which to build awareness of your brand and to prime future conversions.

The ROI of video marketing is clear, as shown in recent articles by Smart Insights and Wordstream.

Download our Individual Member Resource – Video and YouTube marketing guide

Our guide shows you how to review the full opportunities from video marketing whether you are a company looking to integrate video marketing more into your campaigns or a marketing agency looking to improve your video marketing services.

Access the Video and YouTube marketing guide

Here are a few compelling video marketing statistics:

Video marketers enjoy a 54% increase in brand awareness.

Social video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined.

Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from search result pages.

To build awareness of both your brand and your products, you’ll need to produce and post three types of videos: brand origin, segment-specific and explainer. Each is needed at different points in the buyer journey to inform and guide your prospects along their conversion path.

Best of all, with the help of the freelance video scripters and producers, you won’t need to spend thousands of dollars for a Hollywood-caliber writer.

Create brand origin videos

As Simon Sinek put in in his popular ‘Start With Why’ TED talk, your prospective buyers don’t just buy what you’re selling and how you deliver it, but why you’re in business in the first place. Keep this in mind as you strive to create awareness for your unknown brand (and 99% of brands are unknown, on a global level).

Think about it. All other things like price, quality and taste being equal, would you rather buy your salad dressing from Brand A or Newman’s Own, the company that donates 100% of its profits to charity? Even if you don’t give anything to charity, most people would like other people to know that they do. So you’d buy Newman’s dressing both because it both looks good on your kitchen table and because it makes you feel good.

Steve Olenski gives us four tips for creating a compelling brand story. They’re a great starting point as you brainstorm ideas for your own brand video.

So, in your brand origin (sometimes called ‘our story’) video, speak transparently about who you are and what you stand for. Do that as clearly and compellingly as you can, then stop. Your brand video is not the place to sell your wares; you can do that in later communications and web pages. Your goal here is to build trust and a deeper personal connection.

E-commerce example: Warby Parker glasses

Warby Parker, the maverick online seller of prescription eyeglasses, tells its brand story directly from the mouths of their co-founder, David Gilboa and other leaders in video format.

Gilboa starts by sharing how frustrating it was for him to pay $700 for a pair of replacement glasses after he lost his glasses at an airport. So he started a company to address the problem. The kicker: for every pair of glasses Warby sells, they distribute a free pair to someone in need. Now that’s a compelling story that anyone can relate to.

In addition, the Warby video highlights the ‘virtual try-on’ feature on the website, which addresses a concern many prospective glasses buyers have: not knowing how the glasses will look on their face. While brand origin videos should generally not discuss features, it was appropriate for Warby to do in this case because they found the ‘I can’t try them on’ objection to be a non-starter for a significant percentage of their prospects.

Also keep in mind that this video:

Did not require fancy graphics or production. By showing interviews with founding leaders in their office space, the video comes across as personal and authentic.

At under three minutes long, the video is short. You don’t need ten minutes or more to tell your story (if you think you do, get some feedback from people outside your company. Chances are, your draft script is too long-winded).

Starting with creative brainstorming with your marketing team, you can do the same for your brand.

Create segment-specific videos

Once you’ve made your target customers aware of your brand, it’s time to go deeper, to build an increasingly personal connection with your prospects. To do this you’ll need to:

Segment your prospect lists by any dimensions you have available.

Personalize your communications to each prospect’s intent and preferences.

On the segmentation side, HubSpot shares 30 ways you can segment your email list, which includes basic demographic criteria like geography, gender, age, and education level, and other factors like the stage they are at in buying cycle and buyer persona.

Here’s the process to make your communications increasingly personal:

Base your initial email on the lead source (chat, web form, outbound sales) and high-level prospect segment.

Rinse and repeat.

The best way to do this is with an email automation platform. By integrating an email automation app with your customer relationship management (CRM) system, you’ll not only send your prospects the most relevant content. You’ll also gather individual-level data that you can use to learn more about your prospects’ mindsets and motivations.

Most importantly, you should embed increasingly-personalized videos in your emails so your prospects can choose the topics of interest. You can also include links to the article versions, for those viewers who still like to read.

When creating these segment-specific videos be sure to:

Keep them short (less than 90 seconds is ideal).

Optimize your video load and streaming speeds.

Focus your videos on the right prospect segment and buying stage.

The bottom line is each email and video you send should be increasingly personalized and relevant. If, in each email and video you send, you can get your prospect to say, ‘Yeah, that’s me, and that’s what I want’, you’ve succeeded.

Keep in mind your goal here – it’s not to sell (at least not yet). After you’ve built trust and rapport with your brand story videos, you need to build engagement. So, unless you’re selling a ‘quick consideration’ product or service (lower priced, less risk), your prospect will need to feel very comfortable with your brand before parting with her hard-earned money.

Create explainer videos

Now, assuming you’ve made your prospect aware of your brand (the ‘why’), and increased their engagement with it (the ‘what’), it’s time to make a compelling case for your product or service (the ‘how’). Some would call this selling, but I prefer the term ‘building value’ because if you do this well, your product or service should sell itself.

Explainer videos are the realm of value proposition and benefits. Your value proposition is your offering’s top value add and how it does this better than any other brand.

Here’s an example from Tortuga Backpacks, a seller of expandable packs:

‘Bring everything you need without checking a bag’.

This value proposition is short, to the point, and addresses an emotional desire (to avoid the extra time and cost of processing checked luggage).

Marketing blogger Mary Fernandez provides some great ‘how to write a value proposition’ guidance, including a visual canvas template.

Unpacking a bit, the next level of creating an explainer video is determining the unique benefits your product or service offers. Not features or specifications, but how your offering delivers more value, on both functional and emotional levels.

Not sure how to come up with benefits? Use the FAB model, which breaks down as:

Feature – ‘It has…’

Advantage – ‘Which means…’

Benefit – ‘So that…’

For example, let’s say chúng tôi sells an innovative sneaker with laces that automatically synch up after you put on the shoe. The FAB in this case:

It has… automatically-synching laces that tighten the perfect amount.

Which means… you don’t have to manually tie your shoes every time you put them on.

So that… You save a minute every time you put them on. That and your friends are impressed when they see it!

A great script is essential

If you’ve watched many sitcoms on TV, you know the importance of a good scriptwriting team. Great script, funny show. Average script and the show’s off the air within six months.

Agencies like Writer Access and Video Brewery offer access to experienced freelance video scriptwriters and producers. So you might give them a try if you’d rather not commit to longer-term engagement with a video marketing agency.

Roll your videos out widely

Just make sure the lead-on headlines to these videos reference things like prospect segment, buying stage or interests so your prospects will find them relevant. Even the best-scripted videos, if seen at the wrong time, or by the wrong prospects, will fall flat.

Get your video marketing train in motion

Our attention spans seem to get shorter every year as we’re bombarded with more marketing messages. All the more reason for your core marketing creative to be in our preferred communication mode: online video.

By scripting, producing and posting brand origin and segment-specific videos, you’ll convince more of your best prospects to engage with and, ultimately, trust your brand and the people behind it. Then, after building more personal connections, your explainer videos can help push your prospects ‘over the tipping point’ to a conversion.

Best of all, since you’ll be differentiating your brand more and competing less, you’ll surely see your overall marketing costs go down and your video marketing ROI go up.

How To Create Your Own Custom Firefox Themes.

If you are a big fan of customizing the look and feel of your computer, especially your Internet browser, this article will show you how to use Firefox Color. A new, experimental feature being tested by Mozilla, which allows you to create your own fully custom Firefox browser theme in only a few minutes.

How to Turn Off Quick Find on Firefox 63. (Disable Quick Find on Firefox)

Even though Firefox isn’t the most popular browser on the market it is by far one of the best and certainly the most under-rated. It’s clean, exceptionally fast, secure, privacy-conscious, and uses far fewer system resources than most of its competitors, including Google Chrome. What makes Firefox even more appealing is the fact the browser’s interface is quite customisable.  

Admitadely Chrome and other browsers allow you to customise their browsers, with custom themes and extensions, however, none goes as far as Firefox. On Firefox you have the ability to customise themes as well as a large portion of the interface, with options to move icons, search bars, spacers etc.

Taking customisation further, Mozilla has also added a feature to Firefox called “Firefox Colors”, which allows you to fully customise almost every part of the browsers colouring, with the exception of the Options menu and New Tab page. That being said, both of these areas are under consideration and will hopefully end up included in the customisation tools official release. Make sure you check out the official promo video below.

 Related: How to Make Firefox Match Your Windows Theme Settings Automatically. (Dark or Light Themes)

Getting Started With Firefox Color. Creating Your Own Firefox Browser Themes.

To start creating your own custom Firefox theme, you’ll first need to visit the Firefox Color homepage and add the Color extension to your browser. Once you have done this, you’ll have full access to the colour tools.

Firefox Color Homepage

Custom Colors: This is where you can change the colour of any aspect of the browser and where you will be doing most of your theme work.

Custom Backgrounds: Allows you to add custom images to use for interface backgrounds. However, it also has a long list of textures available.

Saved Themes: Where all of your custom saved themes will be stored for you to quickly switch between.

How To Create Your Small Business Marketing Plan

You probably know that a marketing plan is a must for your business. After all, marketing is what helps you spread the word about your business and get new customers. And you can’t have successful marketing without a clearly defined and well-thought-out plan. But, if you’ve never created a marketing plan before, it can be difficult to know where to start.

To help small business owners who are serious about putting together a marketing plan, we’ve created a simplified six-step process that will help you achieve real results:

Assess your current business situation

Determine what you’re able to invest

Outline your marketing goals

Identify your target audience

Determine your marketing tactics

Put together an action plan that prioritizes tasks

We’ve compiled these steps into a free marketing plan template you can use to get started right now.

Let’s walk through each step in detail so you have everything you need to create a marketing plan for your small business.

Step 1: Assess your current business situation

Before you get started outlining the meat of your small business marketing plan, it’s important to take stock of where you are now so you can determine the best marketing goals and objectives.

This is the ideal time for a good ole SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.


A SWOT analysis is helpful when creating your small business marketing plan because it allows you to take an objective look at your business and determine areas where you’re doing well right now and areas where you might want to improve.

For example, you might already have a good social media presence, so that would be a strength, but you’re not getting as many website visits as you think you should be, which could be an opportunity.

By taking a good look at your business as well as your competitors’ businesses, you can set a solid foundation for the rest of your marketing plan.

Step 2: Determine what you’re able to invest

Now that you’ve analyzed your current business situation, it’s time to figure out how much you’re going to be able to invest in a marketing plan for your small business. This will help guide and direct the remainder of your planning.

Set a budget

Marketing costs money. So you need to be realistic about what you’re able to spend to invest in a successful marketing plan.

If you’re unsure how much money you should be spending on marketing, most new businesses allocate 12-20% of their gross revenue while established businesses allocate 6-12%.


It may seem like a large chunk, but the return on your investment will be worth it with the right small business marketing plan!

And even if you have little-to-no budget to spend on marketing, any 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 are you able to invest per week in marketing? It’s really easy to let your marketing slide as you focus on running your business but having a specific goal will help you keep track of how you are doing relative to your plan.

In terms of how far out you should plan, a year is not a bad place to start. If this is the first time you’ve put together a marketing plan for your business, you should understand that you may need to do some course corrections over time. Don’t completely flip your marketing plan every month, but you also don’t want to go an entire year without taking stock of what’s working and what’s not.

Step 3: Outline your marketing goals

Now it’s time to get down to business! Once you have a solid understanding of your opportunities and weaknesses as well as your budget, you can start writing your marketing goals.

Marketing goals should be SMART. Check out this chart for details on what SMART stands for:


An example of a SMART marketing goal would be something like: Increase website visits by 5% in six months.

This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific.

When it comes to writing your marketing goals, you might consider some broad marketing objectives that many small businesses have.

Here are some common marketing goals examples:

Building an online presence

Increasing brand awareness

Connecting and engaging with your audience

Growing your online audience

You can determine which of these make the most sense for your business and then make them SMART.

Step 4: Identify your target audience

Before you can solidify your marketing plan, it’s important to know who you’re going to be targeting with your marketing. Your target audience varies based on a number of factors, including your business type, your area, and so much more.

Here are some questions to ask to help identify your target audience:

Who are your current customers? This includes general demographics such as age, gender, location, and more.

Who else would you want to reach? Is there any group that you wish you were reaching but you aren’t? You can outline this group and target them with your marketing plan.

What products/services are your customers buying from you? It’s helpful to understand what your current customers are buying from you so you can incorporate that into your marketing plan–or look for opportunities to show your other products and services a little more love.

Why are your current customers buying from you? Understanding your customers’ motivations for buying your products and services can give you a deeper glimpse into your differentiators as well as what pain points your business can address.

What information is influencing their purchasing decision? If you can pinpoint specific information, marketing channels, or people that are either getting them to buy from you or keeping them making a purchase from you, you can better tweak your marketing messaging and address areas for improvement (such as bad reviews!).

Where do your current customers spend time online? If you can understand where your customers spend time online, you can also incorporate this data into your marketing plan by investing in the channels that have the best chance of reaching them.

What do your competitors’ customers look like? It’s important to know what the competitive landscape looks like when it comes to determining your target audience. Take a look at what your competitors’ customers look like to see how you could replicate reaching a similar audience.

Get more tips for finding your target audience here.

Once you have your target audience defined, you can even create buyer personas to better understand who you’re targeting and why.

Step 5: Determine your marketing tactics

Now that you have your marketing goals outlined and you know who you’re targeting, it’s time to determine what will make up your small business’s marketing plan.

Take a look at each of your marketing goals and list the marketing tactics you think you would need or want to reach those.

Let’s use our example marketing goal from above. In order to increase website visits by 5% in six months, there are a number of different tactics we can use, like:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – this will help us optimize our website to get found in search engines.

PPC – This will more immediately drive users to our website while our SEO is getting up and running.

Facebook Ads – These will help grow our audience and drive more visitors to our site.

Once you’ve completed this exercise for each marketing goal, you can revisit the budget you set in step two to determine what’s realistic and doable–both from a time standpoint and a monetary standpoint.

This is also the point in creating your marketing plan that you may want to decide whether or not you want to outsource your marketing plan by working with a marketing partner. It may require a little more budget to outsource your marketing, but it will save you time and deliver better results in the long run.

Step 6: Put together an action plan that prioritizes tasks

Congratulations! You now have all the pieces to put together a marketing plan. The next task is to simply write down the tasks that you want to accomplish and prioritize 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 reference any time you have a spare moment to work on your marketing.

You can fill out this chart in our free sample marketing plan!

Creating this prioritized list will make your marketing far more approachable, and it will make you far more likely to get started and stick with it. Once you create your list, put it in a highly visible spot for quick reference and share it with your employees and your marketing partner.

Get started with your small business marketing plan today

No matter how great your small business idea, it won’t stay alive without a solid marketing plan.  Now that you’ve created yours, make sure to measure your results and adjust your plan accordingly. Your goals may shift as changes happen in your business, the economy, and your market, but your overall marketing plan should keep you on track for success and growth.

Want more planning tips? Check out these resources:

Stephanie Heitman

Stephanie is the Associate Director of Content for LocaliQ and WordStream. She has over 10 years of experience in content and social media marketing and loves writing about all things digital marketing. When she’s not researching the latest and greatest marketing news and updates, she’s probably watching reality TV with her husband, reading, or playing with her two pups.

Other posts by Stephanie Heitman

How To Share Youtube Video On Instagram Story

Did you see a YouTube video that you like?

Or do you have a YouTube channel and you want to promote one of your videos?

Either way, you can share the YouTube video link on your Instagram story.

It’s commonly known that you need 10,000 followers on Instagram to use the swipe-up link.

However, Instagram recently released a new feature that allows everyone to share links.

As a result, you don’t need 10,000 followers to add a YouTube video link to your Instagram story.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to add or share a YouTube video link on your Instagram story even without 10,000 followers (swipe-up link).

How to share YouTube video on Instagram story

To share a YouTube video on your Instagram story, you first need to copy the link to the video.

Secondly, add a story, tap on the sticker icon, and tap on the “Link” sticker.

Lastly, paste the link to the YouTube video and post the story!

As of 28 Oct 2023, the “Link” sticker is available to everyone on Instagram.

The sticker allows you to include a hyperlink in your stories.

You can link to a YouTube video, TikTok profile, an e-commerce store, and more.

In addition, the swipe-up link will be discontinued (even if you have 10,000 followers).

Here are 6 steps to share a YouTube video on your Instagram story:

1. Copy the link to the YouTube video

The first step is to copy the link to the YouTube video.

To do so, open YouTube and navigate to the video that you want to share on your Instagram story.

You can use YouTube on a desktop or on a mobile device.

Once you’re on the video, you’ll see a “Share” icon.

If you’re on the YouTube app, tap on the “Share” icon.

After you’ve tapped on the “Share” icon, you’ll see multiple sharing options.

This includes “Copy link”, “Twitter”, “Facebook Messenger”, and more.

To copy the video’s link, tap on “Copy link”.

2. Open Instagram and add a story

After you’ve copied the YouTube video’s link, you can now share it on Instagram.

To begin with, open the Instagram app.

Once you’re on Instagram, tap on your profile picture on the bottom navigation bar.

This will open your Instagram profile.

Now, you need to add a new Instagram story.

To do so, tap on your profile picture on your profile.

You can also tap on the “+” icon on the top navigation bar of your profile and tap on “Story” to add a new story.

3. Tap on the sticker icon

After you’ve tapped on your profile picture, the Instagram camera will open.

If you’ve tapped on the “+” icon, you need to tap on “Story” to add a new Instagram story.

On the Instagram camera, you’ll see multiple options on the left.

This includes “Create”, “Boomerang”, “Layout”, and more.

Tap on the “Create” icon to create a story.

At the top of the camera, you’ll see a sticker icon.

Tap on the sticker icon to open the list of stickers.

4. Use the “Link” sticker

After you’ve tapped on the stickers icon, you’ll see a list of stickers.

This includes “Location”, “@Mention”, “#Hashtag”, and more.

You’ll also see the “Link” sticker.

Tap on the “Link” sticker to add a link to your Instagram story.

If you don’t see the link sticker, you need to update Instagram.

To update Instagram on an iOS device, open the App Store and tap on the profile icon.

Lastly, scroll down, find Instagram, and tap on “Update”.

To update Instagram on an Android device, open the Google Play Store and tap on the profile icon.

Lastly, tap on “Manage apps & device”, find Instagram, and tap on “Update”.

After you’ve updated Instagram, the “Link” sticker will be available to you.

5. Paste the link to the YouTube video

After you’ve tapped on the “Link” sticker, you’ll land on the “Add link” page.

On the page, you’ll see a URL field.

Now, you need to paste the YouTube video’s link in the URL field.

To do so, tap on the URL field and tap on “Paste”.

You can also see a preview of the link by tapping on “See preview”.

Lastly, tap on “Done” to add the YouTube video’s link to your Instagram story.

6. Post the story

After you’ve tapped on “Done”, the YouTube video’s link will be shown as a sticker.

You can edit your story by adding the video’s thumbnail as an image.

You can also add a caption to intrigue your followers to watch the video.

Once you’re done editing your Instagram story, tap on “Your story” to post it!

Your followers will be able to tap on the sticker to watch the YouTube video.

You’ve successfully shared a YouTube video on your Instagram story!


Adding or sharing a YouTube video on your Instagram story used to be impossible in the past.

Before the “Link” sticker was introduced on Instagram, you need to have 10,000 followers or more to add a link to your Instagram story.

In the past, you’ll be able to use the swipe-up link feature only if you have 10,000 followers or more.

Since the introduction of the “Link” sticker, you can now use it to share a YouTube video on your Instagram story.

When you’re sharing a YouTube video to your Instagram story, make sure to include some context.

You can do this by adding the video’s thumbnail as an image to your story.

You can also add a caption explaining what the video is about.

Further reading

How to Find Live Videos on Instagram

How to Hide Your Following List on Instagram

240+ Funny Instagram Captions (For Friends & Selfies)

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