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Hayley's ACRE Growth System

Craft a Kickass Small-Business Marketing Plan with the ACRE Growth System

brand strategy expansion ideal clients marketing strategy small business marketing Jan 11, 2024

Whether you do this in January or any other month, a strong marketing plan is key to ongoing action toward your business goals. In this blog, I share my method for building small-business marketing plans that are not just good on paper but spectacular in action. And, the ACRE Growth System is your comprehensive guide to doing just that.

Laying the Foundation for Success

Before you dive into the details of the ACRE Growth System, it’s crucial to lay a strong foundation for your annual marketing plan. This foundation sets the tone and direction for your entire marketing strategy.

  1. Realign with Your Vision, Mission, and Purpose: Start by revisiting the core of what your business stands for. Your vision, mission, and purpose are the guiding lights for all your marketing efforts.

  2. Incorporate Your Full Brand Strategy: Your brand strategy is the personality, values, differentiator, and promise of your business. It should be reflected consistently across all your marketing initiatives.

  3. Update Your Customer, Market, & Competitor Insights: Stay ahead of the curve by keeping your insights fresh and relevant. Understand the changing needs and behaviors of your customers, the dynamics of the market, and what your competitors are up to.

  4. Review Past Marketing Efforts: Take a close look at your previous marketing activities. What succeeded? What didn’t work as well as expected? These insights are invaluable for planning future campaigns.

  5. Review Your Product/Service Mix and Pricing: Make sure your offerings and pricing strategy align with your current market position and brand strategy. This alignment is key to attracting the right customers and achieving your business goals.

This foundational work is essential for creating a marketing plan that is not just effective but also true to your brand and responsive to your market.

Diving into the ACRE Growth System

ACRE – Attract, Convert, Retain, and Expand – offers a complete framework for your marketing plan. But remember, each ACRE pillar should have its own set of objectives, strategies, and tactics that align with your overarching annual goals.

  1. Attract: Know your ideal customers and devise strategies that resonate specifically with them. It's not about blanket strategies but targeted efforts that draw in those who will genuinely benefit from what you offer. There are lots of options here and you should explore them and choose the ones that best align with your ideal customers and your resources and capabilities. 

  2. Convert: Aim for conversion tactics that simplify the buying process. Your focus here is to make every interaction lead smoothly to a sale. Every unintentional roadblock you put up negates all the progress you've made with our attraction strategies. 

  3. Retain: This is where you nurture the relationship with your customers. Retention strategies should focus on ensuring quality and building a connection that encourages repeat business. Remember it's the lifetime value of a customer that makes or breaks small businesses. 

  4. Expand: Look for opportunities to broaden your market reach or product line. Expansion strategies should be about growth but align with your brand’s capabilities and market position. I also like to look for ways to expand my impact here as well. 

Crafting the Game Plan

While planning, remember to create a strategy that’s ambitious yet achievable:

  1. Marketing Calendar: Lay out your key marketing activities and deadlines.
  2. Detail Your Monthly Tactics: Each month should have a clear set of actions tailored to your goals.
  3. Budget and Resources: Be realistic about your budget and the resources at your disposal.
  4. Build an Executable Plan: It’s vital to create a plan that you can follow through on. Avoid overambitious plans that are hard to maintain beyond the first week.
  5. Review and Adapt: Regularly review your plan, ideally quarterly. This allows you to learn from the past quarter and make necessary adjustments to stay on track.


Your annual marketing plan, powered by the ACRE Growth System, is your roadmap to success. It’s a dynamic tool – one that evolves with your business and the market. Build a plan that’s not just ambitious, but also realistic and executable. 

If you're looking for deeper insights and more guidance, the "Annual Plans & the ACRE Growth System" course and the "Brand-Worth-Loving Boot Camp" are here to help.

Here’s to a year where your marketing plan is not just a document, but a catalyst for remarkable growth and success.

Hayley xo

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