Have you been looking to build more awareness around your business? Creating a strong marketing plan can help you reach your business goals and organize your marketing needs.
It can be intimidating to write a marketing plan, but without one you may completely miss the goals you wanted to achieve through marketing. Choosing not to create a marketing plan also makes it difficult to set a budget if you aren’t entirely sure how you will be marketing your business.
This 7-step outline will help you determine the goals of your company and how you will achieve them over time. While every business is different and there will be variations depending on your business goals, we have created a general step-by-step guide to help you.
1. Create a Summary of your Business
The first step of creating a marketing plan is setting the foundation with the summary of the business that you are creating the marketing plan for. This summary should include some basic information such as the name of the company, location of the company, any current marketing efforts that the company has implemented, and the company’s mission statement. In this initial summary you should also include a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities and helps you determine where your company can improve and in which areas that it is successful.
2. Determine your Marketing Goals
Once you have completed the summary of your business, you can then work to determine your marketing goals- both long term and short term. These goals should follow the SMART goal outline.
S – Specific
For example, if your main goal is to increase social media followers you can break it down by each acronym to create a more organized and specific way you will reach this goal. Using the SMART goal outline a broad goal such as wanting to increase followers turns into; I will gain 50 new followers on my businesses Instagram within one month by consistently posting relevant content, following accounts that are similar to my target market, and engaging with more followers on a daily basis.
When creating your goals remember that these are marketing focused goals. Larger company wide goals should be included in your business plan not this marketing plan.
3. Define your target audience
This portion of the marketing plan will help you clearly answer “Who are you selling your products or services to?”. If your business has not already preformed basic market research, now is the time you will have to. You should determine the demographics of your “normal” customer. What is their age? Gender? Location?
From this information you can also begin to create buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional descriptions of the ideal customer your business would have. These personas should focus on traits such as gender, age, location, job, and the challenge they face which is the reason they chose your product/service.
An example of a buyer persona for a health supplement: Sarah a 35 year old mother, is always on the go with her children. She is likes to stay active and healthy so she can continue to keep up with her kids. Sarah is looking for something that will help keep her body healthy and mind sharp.
Remember buyer personas will change from business to business.
4. Create a Marketing Strategy
When creating your marketing strategy you should include how you plan to sell your products/services to the consumer. The strategy should include what is known as the four P’s of marketing; Product, Place, Price, and Promotion.
Product: What benefits and unique selling points does your product/service offer?
Place: Where you will sell the products/services and how you will deliver them to market.
Price: How much will you sell the product for?
Promotion: How you plan to market your product and influence consumers to choose you over your competitors.
When creating your marketing strategy keep in mind that it should include strategies and tactics that will help you reach your marketing goals that you determined in step 2. Keep in mind all marketing strategies vary depending on the type of business. Create a strategy that applies directly to your business.
5. Set a Budget
Now that you have determined your marketing strategy you can begin to set a budget that will allow you to successfully carry out your strategy. This budget should include things such as paid advertisements that are displayed, events held, and other merchandise used to market your products or services.
While some traditional paid advertising may have a set price, digital ads can often be customized and you can choose the set budget and duration of the advertisement you want to run.
6. Choose your Marketing Channels
This part of the marketing plan answers your question “Where should I be marketing my products?”. The first channel you can choose from is traditional marketing which include channels such as mailing advertisements, newspaper, radio, and hosting events. The other channel, digital marketing, includes social media platforms, websites, and Google my business.
To determine the best marketing channels for your products/services you should consider your target market. A younger target market may be more responsive to digital advertisements since they utilize social media and their smart devices more regularly than an older target market.
7. Monitor your results
Once you have launched your marketing plan the final step is to monitor the results. You can utilize free tools such as the insights provided by social media platforms or set up a Google Analytics account. To learn to set up a Google Analytics check out our article on setting up Google Analytics for beginners.
Once you have begun monitoring your marketing results you can make any improvements or changes that are needed based on the customer response.
Now that you have learned everything that should be included in your marketing plan it is time to get started! You can create your own template based off the 7 steps listed above or you can follow this free template courtesy of Hubspot.com.
Need more help? Visit our Contact Us page and set up a meeting with the Conway Innovation Center. The Conway Innovation Center provide free business consulting and mentoring across the Grand Strand.