A marketing plan outlines everything you need to know about marketing your business. Unfortunately, these plans don’t come with a “business starter kit”. You either have to create it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. We’re assuming that since you are reading this blog, you have taken the DIY approach – good for you! These 7 steps will give you an outline on how to create a marketing plan that will help you promote and grow your business.
1. What are your goals?
Before considering how you are going to market your business, it is very important to define what your goals are. These goals need to be realistic, well-thought out, have a time limit to them, and make sense for your business. For example:
- Increase overall revenue by 30% over the next 12-months.
- Raise average ticket # by $3 by upselling.
- Increase profitability by 5% by the end of the year.
- Establish a web presence that accounts for 20% of company revenue.
- Get 5 extras leads per month through a business Instagram account.
2. Conduct a SWOT
A SWOT analysis outlines your companies’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This is normally done when creating a business plan, but if you haven’t done this yet it is important that you do it now.
- Strengths – what does your company do extremely well? What makes you unique or different than anyone else?
- Weaknesses – where is your business weak? Can you improve this, and does it affect how you will market your business?
- Opportunities – what opportunities do you have as a company? Is there a way you can upsell your product to add value to your customers and increase revenue? Are your competitors struggling in your market, giving you an opportunity to gain some of their lost revenue?
- Threats – what threats do you face? High competition? Fast-changing technologies? Business model volatile-based off the economy? These threats must be identified so you can be proactive in keeping them at bay to the best of your ability.
3. Define buyer personas
Creating buyer personas are a more in-depth evaluation of your target market. It’s creating a profile of who your customers are and how/why they make buying decisions. Below is an outline you can use to fill out your own buyer personas.
- Demographics: Are most of your customers male or female? What is their average age? Where do they live?
- Interests What are they interested in? What are their tendencies?
- Buying tendencies: How does this customer buy? Do they purchase online for expediency? Do they prefer a face-to-face interaction? How do they figure out who they are going to buy from?
- Frustrations: What frustrates this customer when making a purchase/doing business with us or another company?
- Value: How do we add value to this person and overcome their frustrations and objections?
Your strategy is going to involve creating a consistent message to promote your brand, and how you will get this message out to the world. We suggest breaking this into several different buckets depending on what vessels you will be using to market and advertise. For example:
- Create FB and Instagram advertising accounts for paid advertising.
- Post organic content 3 times per week using hashtags that resonate with our ideal customer.
- Share 1 vlog per week that gives insight on our business.
- Make 100 calls to potential customers per week.
- Create email marketing campaign and send to potential customers bi-weekly.
- Hire firm to perform SEO analysis and on-going service.
- Create Adwords account to drive lead traffic to our website.
Set a budget
The reason we recommend that you set a budget after creating your strategy, is we don’t want your marketing vision to potentially be limited by the capital that you have. But, now it’s time to have that big kid talk; “how much can we spend and where will it come from?”.
Hey, you did it! You have a baseline marketing plan, waiting to come to fruition. So, what are you waiting for? EXECUTE! Remember, marketing isn’t a light switch. It takes time to build a sales funnel, and it’s important to take notes along the way on what is working. Nurture those leads, and be consistent.
Creating a marketing plan is fun for some, and a headache for others. Regardless of which category you fall into, remember that the time you invest in this is going to help you grow your business in the long-term. Most big brands don’t become big by accident; it’s a measured process that demands consistent messaging and nurturing. Fortune favors those who stick to the course!