Marketing plans can help to refine your business’s marketing goals, increase recognition of the brand, ensure that content is geared towards the target audience, improve the clarity of messaging, and boost your consumer base. They’re also useful to determine whether your business is meeting its marketing goals year to year.
If a marketing plan is written well, it will benefit the business, investors, employees, and consumers.
Where do you begin?
Start by asking yourself simple questions:
What are you hoping to achieve through marketing? Do you want to sell more products and services? Or are you hoping to ramp up a bigger following on social media?
Who are you trying to reach? Targeted marketing practices can display ads for very specific audiences. Think about their age, location, education level, what they do for fun, what kind of music they listen to, or even what kind of food they like. Do they use social media at all or will you have to reach them through other media?
How much are you willing to spend? Organic posts on social media do not yield high amounts of views and engagement. Sometimes you have to be willing to spend money targeting your audience. Paid advertising is absolutely necessary for a successful marketing campaign.
What experience do you want to give to your audience? In other words, what is your message? Your customers are not going to engage with your ad if they can’t see any benefit in it. Think about what your customers want in their lives and how your products and services can change that for them.
What have you done so far? Have you been having success with any of your current marketing endeavors? If so, they need to go into your marketing plan.
Writing the marketing plan.
Marketing plans come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few essential components, without which your plan will fail.
An Executive Summary
This is your elevator pitch of the marketing plan. It should be concise and give an overview of the business and the plan. Completing this last may be useful so you can make sure it is cohesive and accurately addresses each section of your final plan.
You may want to make a spreadsheet or a table describing a few types of customers that you’re trying to target with your marketing. Be specific. The more specific your target, the more likely you will reach the people that really want your products and services.
What will you be using to spread the word about your business? Print media consists of newspaper ads, brochures, catalogs, and business cards. All of those can be replicated in the digital realm with the addition of videos, jpegs, and even gifs. What will your audience respond to? You may not know this now, but keeping track of your marketing successes and failures will help you gauge what your audience wants to see.
Have you ever been drawn to an ad just because it says 10% off or buy one, get one free? People love to take advantage of offers. They come in many forms: money-back guarantees, discounts, freebies, or coupons. Use your offers creatively. You can ask customers to leave you a review in exchange for coupons or host a competition where the winner gets freebies or a year-long subscription. Using offers will provide an extra incentive to give your products and services a try!
Online Marketing Strategy
Any marketing plan would be incomplete without an online marketing component. It makes up 15.5% of global retail sales and, in 2017, it accounted for $3B in sales. (Statista) If a potential customer does research on your business and cannot find any websites or social media accounts associated with it, they’re likely to think the business is not credible. Online marketing gives businesses a unique opportunity to really engage with consumers and clientele. Feedback provided on websites and social media is instantaneous. Make sure to optimize your SEO, use keywords frequently, and don’t be afraid of paid online advertising.
How much will you be spending on your marketing endeavors? Think about this on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. What results do you expect to see? You’ll want to invest in the marketing strategies that will provide your business the biggest ROI.
Writing your marketing plan might seem like a daunting task, but trust us, it is worth your effort. Drop us a line on social media! We’d love to hear about your experience writing and executing your marketing plan. Good luck!
Some more resources:
If you’d like tips on completing a more extensive Marketing Plan, check out this Forbes article, “Marketing Plan Template: Exactly What to Include”
For a simpler Marketing Plan, this Sample Marketing Plan is perfect.
Still don’t know where to start? Use this Web Strategy chart to help organize your thoughts.