Sit. Cross your fingers. Wait for people to find you. No, businesses need something more— they need a marketing plan.
Build it, and then they will come.
Often businesses fall short when it comes to an understanding of a practical and strategic marketing plan.
To be a successful business, you need constant marketing and promotion.
But when business people listen to the word ‘marketing plan,’ then they find it technical and ultimately a daunting process, but it’s not.
Let’s take a closer look at the best steps to create an effective marketing plan.
But before that, you need to understand what a marketing plan is? Before you take your business to the next level.
What Is A Marketing Plan?
Don’t get a marketing plan confused with a business plan there separate. And most entrepreneurs don’t recognise a marketing plan is essential to have aswell.
Different from a business plan, the marketing plan goes over acquiring new customers and retaining the existing clients; it contains facts, objectives, numbers and strategy.
The plan should include tools and tactics you’ll use to achieve your goals. Generally, the marketing plan isn’t used to gain funding, so it doesn’t have to be lengthy.
In the plan, you want to go over what you sell, who will buy it, and the tactics you will use to generate sales.
Cut the fluff and get straight to the point use bulleted sections to help you achieve this.
Yes, some large corporation may have marketing plans that are of hundreds of pages, while the small businesses may have only a single page. But it never matters how many pages you have.
Moreover, it is necessary to keep your marketing plan’s span to one year, which needs to be flexible because of frequent changes.
So now, you are aware of the nuts and bolts of a marketing plan, let’s find out the best steps to take your business to the next level.
1. Situation Analysis
Situational analysis is a current snapshot fo your business; you want to define what you sell with your products and services and what separates you from your competition.
You do this to position your product professional in the market you are in; every business does this from restaurants to Saas companies.
This overview should include your company’s
Strengths and weaknesses refer to characteristics within your business, while opportunities and threats point to external factors.
To help determine your strengths, go over what gives your business a competitive advantage?
Weaknesses, for example, could be a saturated market or an extended shipping time.
Next, describe any external opportunities you can leverage, such as an expanding market for your product.
What external threats could be holding your company from gaining market share?
Going over these four steps will help position your product.
Go over the features of the product and decide how they distinguish your product from its competitors.
Decide what type of buyer is most likely to purchase your product. What are you selling? Convenience? Quality? Discount pricing? You can’t offer it all.
Knowing what your customers want helps you decide what to offer, and that brings us to the next section of your plan.
2. Determine the Target Market
Or customer person as you might have heard before. Write a description of everything you know about your customer.
It will include demographic information – sex, age, earnings, location, and then conclude their behaviours and decisions.
Social Bakers have a great template on customer persona, you can view the pdf below.
If you’re in the B2B space, you define your target audience by relevant information:
Size of the business
and any other characteristics that make them possible prospects.
The clearer and more detail you put into this description, the easier it will be to market to the audience. Because this will be your model as you plan your advertising and public relations campaigns.
3. List Your Goals
Now the next step is to determine your unique objectives and goals. Every business possesses its own goals and objectives to work towards and achieve.
To determine the right goals, you need to spend time with your team and evaluate your business growth level, and ways you can improve your business.
Make sure you define short and long term goals separately, which have to be measurable and achievable. Some examples could be:
Increase sales by 10%
Outreach to 100 people per week
Partner with 15 Instagram influencers a month
4. Set Marketing Strategies
This section is the meat and the potatoes of your marketing plan. In the previous steps, you identified your customer, the critical aspects of your product and the goals you want to accomplish.
Now we dive into the tactics and strategy to reach those goals.
There’s a lot of different avenues to plan your marketing strategies, and you want to outline various aspects of marketing. If the prospect is a cold lead and never seen your brand before you might want to try Facebook ads, blogging, press releases, etc.
But you also have warm leads; these are prospects that might already have met you or are aware of your business and products. And they can respond better to email marketing and loyalty programs.
Most people say it takes a prospect seven interactions with your brand before they will buy from you. So its good to have a few different strategies and tactics to try.
Once you have an idea of different strategies outline your primary tactics, then include a mixture of them at varying points in your sales cycle.
Print advertising, Facebook ads, SEO, and Email marketing.
Your marketing mix will change depending on where your audience hangs out. That’s why nailing down the previous steps are so important.
The more you know your target customer, the narrow your ads can be, and they’ll be more receptive to your message. Which will lead to more customers for your business.
5. Determine Your Marketing Budget
Now the semi-final step is to determine your marketing budget. Budgeting is solely not about the money you need; it’s also about the available resources.
Most businesses allocate at least 10% of there gross sales go into advertising and marketing.
If you’re starting a business, you’ll have to acquire funding, borrowing or self-financing, for your marketing.
Remember, marketing is necessary for the success of your business. Even if it’s not paid marketing, there are plenty of different free marketing channels.
With so many different marketing outlets available, you can outreach to every conceivable audience, and there’s a marketing mix to fit even the tightest budget.
I hope this article will help you understand the necessary steps to follow when creating a marketing plan.
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