Every business needs a customized plan as it pertains to marketing and that plan serves many purposes in your business. Failing to properly plan out your marketing strategies can cost you time, money and effort. I don’t want you to make that mistake.
Before you learn how to write a marketing plan, it’s important to note that your marketing plan is not a business plan. Rather, it’s a part of your business plan.
I’ve built hundreds of marketing plan templates over the years. I prefer to build my plan for a full year. Now, can you build a marketing plan for 30 days, 6 months or 2 years? Sure you can. However, due to the amount of time it takes marketing plans to evolve, I’ve found a full year to be very appropriate.
With that said, you may be thinking, “why do I need a marketing plan” or “I don’t need a marketing plan.” Here’s the thing, one of the most important qualities of building a successful business is a clear plan of attack. If you’re going to “guess” your way to success, you might as well add an additional 5-10 years to grow your business.
If you want to get big results and grow your business, not only do you need a marketing plan, you need to make sure you’re implementing, testing, analyzing and optimizing that plan every single day.
Rather than trying to get a sample marketing plan, follow the strategic marketing plan below step-by-step, start to finish.
Step One: What’s Your Marketing Strategy?
The first thing you need to do is identify your marketing strategy. I’m not referring to “guessing,” but rather having a crystal clear focus on what you need to accomplish from your marketing efforts.
Your marketing strategy is going to define what you are going to do and directly relates to your business goals.
Now, in order to determine your marketing strategy, you need to have your business goals identified. Remember, to get to the “how,” we must first figure out the “what.” Your marketing strategy will be the “how” and the rest of your marketing plan will be the “what.”
Let’s use an example to show you how.
One of your business goals in 2018 is to get 50 new clients for your consulting business. Your marketing strategy for this goal is to use a new automated webinar funnel and paid Facebook ads to achieve your goals. Your marketing strategy would break this down in a short-term outlook and a long-term outlook.
I use the SMI Formula to break it all down. Strategy -> Marketing -> Implement
- Strategy – Build new automated webinar funnel
- Marketing – Build Facebook ad campaigns
- Implement – Run Facebook ad campaigns
Step Two: Who’s Your Target Audience?
I don’t know how many times I’ve asked, “who’s your target audience” to a business owner. On most occasions, I’ll hear either “everyone” or “I don’t know.”
It’s vital that you know who your target customer is. More importantly, your target audience is not everyone. Your target customers are specific.
You need to identify as many factors as you can about your target audience. This is where you need to do your own market research.
- How old is your target audience?
- Where does your target audience live?
- Where can you find them?
- What do they value?
- What’s their main problem or need?
Why is this important? Not only is this is the right way to go about identifying your target audience, this also allows you to;
- Focus on the specific needs, wants, pains of your target market.
- Clear personalized messaging to your target customers.
Step Three: Competitor Analysis
As I stated earlier, you never want to guess when it comes to your business. Every business and marketing activity should be careful planned.
Once you’ve identified who your target market is, you need to identify who your competitors are.
Competitor research will not only show you what companies you’ll be competing with but it can also give you ideas and inspiration for your own marketing strategies.
Step Four: Your URP – Unique Selling Proposition
Since you now know the competitive landscape, you can now build your unique selling proposition (USP).
Your goal with your USP is to identify what makes your products and services better than competitors.
- What makes your products/services unique?
- What makes your products/services desirable to your target audience?
- What makes your products/services superior over competitors?
The USP is a statement (usually a sentence or two) that will identify why your services or products are better and why it’s the better choice over your competitors.
Step Five: How Will You Reach Your Target Audience?
Communication is the key to reaching your target audience and getting them to take action. You need to know how and where you’re going to get your message out to your audience.
This section is going to include all of your promotional content.
Let’s explore how we can get the word out.
- Direct Sales
- Public Relations
- Social Media
It’s important to note that you don’t want to spread yourself thin on your promotions. You can’t be everywhere starting out.
You need to focus on a few specific areas to start. Revert back to your marketing strategy you completed in step one. You want to make sure these promotions are going to help you execute your marketing strategy.
For now, you can begin building an outline for all your promotions. Next, we’ll begin to determine what we’ll actually invest in and how much that amount will be.
Step Six: Your Marketing Budget
As you begin to outline your promotional plan in step 5, you’ll need to be aware of the budget you’ll have for each marketing activity you invest in.
Building a budget for your marketing campaigns can be difficult if you’re a startup or new business. More than likely, you have limited funds. Due to this, you want to make sure you’re laser focused on the few marketing campaigns you do.
How much should you budget? That’s the golden question and to be honest, there’s no magic number here. Rather, you should focus on ROI.
For example, if you invest $1,000 for radio ads, you need to account for how many customers those ads brought you. Here’s how;
- When someone calls, ask them how they found you.
- If you have a contact form, list the few areas where they may have found your ad.
- If you’re using Facebook ads or Google Adwords, make sure your tracking codes are in place.
- If you’re collecting leads, how much are those worth to you? (More on this in the next step)
Your business growth will be minimal (or worse) if you can’t properly track your ROI (Return On Investment). At the very least, you want to make a 2 to 1 return.
It’s equally important to know what your customer lifetime value is, but we’ll be talking about important KPIs next.
Step 7: Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Every step up to this point is going to allow you to plan, build, implement and execute your marketing plan. However, this step is the most important and can’t be ignored. If you don’t know how to track and measure your results, nothing in this plan will be able to help you. Knowing how to track your key KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is absolutely vital to your success.
There’s a lot of ways that we can track our KPIs. First, you need to be able to identify which KPIs you’ll be tracking.
Your KPIs can be many things, here’s a few examples below.
- Landing page conversion rate
- Product page scroll percentages
- Cart abandonment rate
- Optin conversion rate
- Funnel dropoff rate
- Cash flow forecast
- Inventory turnover
- Gross profit margin
Tracking key metrics is going to take your marketing plan from a general document to a master blueprint that will grow a life as your business grows.
KPIs are key factors and the ones listed above are only a small sample. What you track is going to depend on your business goals and marketing plan.
If you need a marketing strategy for your business, we can help. Contact us today to learn how to get started.