I'm sure that every entrepreneur and small business has created a business plan for their business but what about a marketing plan? A marketing plan is equally as essential as a business plan because it contains important strategic information about the business's marketing strategy. The entire focus of a marketing plan is how to continuously draw customers in, how to retain customers and how to market to those customers as well.
Before you start writing your marketing plan you need a very clear idea of where you want your business to head. You should take a look at your marketing options: Do you want to market mainly on social media or do you also want to market offline? Do you have any funds in your budget for paid marketing or will you fully focus on free marketing tactics? It's also important to know who you're marketing to so you'll be able to alter your marketing strategy to fit the customer and the platform on which you're marketing on. You need to have clear business goals and objectives so you will know what goal you're working towards by marketing. Sure writing a marketing plan sounds complicated but once you know what to include in your marketing plan it isn't as hard as it sounds.
What should you include in your marketing plan?
The Why? (Called the Executive Summary)
Why are you creating your business? What's your mission? What do you want to accomplish? What main functions does your business do?
The Who? (Called Target Market Analysis or Summary)
Who are you marketing to? Who is your ideal customer for your business? Who do you envision will buy your product or use your services?
Goals & Objectives
You need to be clear on your goals and objectives in your business. What do you wish to ultimately accomplish? Now break those down, what goals do you want to reach monthly? Some people just list their yearly goals and objectives but personally, I feel that breaking them down further into monthly goals will help you stay motivated and on track with your business.
Your Current Marketing Situation
This consists of a few things:
- What platforms or forms of marketing are you currently using? How are those forms of marketing working for you?
- What are you doing on those platforms to market? What is your promotional strategy?
- What is your strategy to convert followers/fans into paying customers? How is that working for you? What is your basic conversion rate?
SWOT Analysis - Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
You would use your SWOT Analysis to outline your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, as it suggests. I would suggest writing at about 3 bullet points under each of the categories but no more than 5. You don't want this to get cluttered and hard to read and understand. This section will help you to see what your strengths are, what you need to work on, any opportunities that you may have and any threats that you foresee possibly being an obstacle for you. This is something you could look back on in a few months and see how things have changed for you and your business.
This section would outline how you plan to market your business in the coming months. What are you planning on doing to better your marketing? Be detailed and outline every strategy that you have worked out for your business. This will help you in the future if you ever need to look back on it to see what your plan was.
How much can your business realistically spend on marketing at this current time? What about in 6 months? One year? You can always alter this as time goes on but if you're just starting out in your business, chances are you won't have too much extra money to invest in marketing your business. If you don't, don't worry! That's what social media and internet marketing is for. There are plenty of online venues where you can network and market your business online for free.
Most people list three major competitors and analyze what they are doing right in their business with their marketing efforts. You can include a SWOT Analysis if you wish to do so, but that is not necessary. You could basically list some bullet points of how they are marketing, what they're doing and how can you try to integrate some of their working tactics into your marketing. You should definitely know the three major competitors who are selling a product or service that is identical or closely related to yours, even if they don't have the exact same ideal customer.
Under this section, you would list the action items that you will need to accomplish in order to successfully market your business. This could include: hiring a marketing manager, hiring a marketing expert, come up with a good call to action, optimize social media accounts, etc... This will be specific to you, your business and the way that you are going to be marketing it. Seeing these important action items will allow you to see what the most important tasks are that should be done first and foremost so you can get the most out of your marketing efforts.
Desired results would be an outline of how your ideal marketing efforts would go. What results do you ultimately want out of your marketing efforts? How do you foresee your marketing efforts impacting your business? How long would you like to take to achieve those results, realistically? There is a lot to think about and remember: This is just an outline and what you hope will happen. Your marketing efforts could completely exceed any goals that you have set for yourself or it could fall short.
If you would like an expert to help you write your marketing plan, please contact us for a free discovery call. We would love to help you on your road to marketing success!