A marketing plan is a critical document for any company that wants brand or product visibility. It is a strategic outline for how, when, where, and what you communicate to audiences.
The right marketing plan details what you want to accomplish and an action plan. It should also show how you will measure performance. Think of it as a blueprint or roadmap that guides all your activities.
Marketers know that the marketing plan is a living document. What this means is you should be ready to add or remove elements depending on the outcome.
It is crucial to provide a distinction between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy. The plan is the umbrella under which you will find different strategies.
What does this mean? Digital marketing, content creation, email marketing, and promotions are examples of marketing strategies. But, they all fall under the marketing plan.
Creating a customized marketing plan for your business is not a simple task. Yet, it is not something that you should overlook. It is highly important to continuously analyze the competitive landscape you function in to ensure that your marketing plan is current. Adhoc marketing will only lead to loss of money without any return on investment.
Our article explores the right way to go about the process. Please read on for some fantastic tips.
1. Start By Thinking About Your Goals
It is essential to have clarity on your goals when coming up with a marketing plan.
Let’s say you want to build a digital marketing strategy. Your focus would be on using digital platforms to build brand and product awareness.
Some of your goals would therefore be:-
- Use the online platforms to create greater brand visibility
- Leads generation and customer acquisition
- Increase website traffic
- Create better engagement with audiences on the digital platform
It is easy to come up with goals. But, you must adhere to the SMART principle. The goals should be specific and measurable. They must also be attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
Redefine your goals as:-
- Increase the number of leads by 15% using local listings management within the next six months.
- Double website traffic within the year through the strategic use of PPC marketing
Break them into weekly or monthly goals to make it easier. There is also great satisfaction in ticking off achievements as you move along.
With SMART goals, it is possible to set key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress.
2. Get Ready For Some Research
There is a lot of research work you will need to do. Data-driven insights are critical for every step you take going forward. Here are the areas you will need to focus on.
Now that you know what your goals are, it is time to understand the market situation. A SWOT analysis will provide the relevant insights you need. It looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats available.
The analysis covers both internal and external factors. An internal audit will require you to take a long hard look at your business. Where are you now in terms of the current market situation? How do you compare to others?
Carry out a competitor analysis to know what you are up against. Get information on things like how do your products and services compare against theirs? How do they treat their customers? What makes your product unique so that a customer would choose you instead of them, and so much more?
Understand the Target Audience
Define and understand your target audience. Create a buyer persona taking into consideration factors like income, age, and marital status.
Know what drives their buying behavior, their pain points, and what they need. The information will help you see how your products or services can provide a solution.
3. Outline Your Plan of Action or Marketing Strategies
Now comes the tricky part. The strategies will determine the success or failure of your marketing plan. It is critical to have the right plan of action to help you realize your goals. Let’s go back to the digital marketing strategy.
Your plan of action should highlight:-
- Platforms you will use, including websites and social media. For the latter, you must identify the ones you intend to use depending on where the target audience is
- Outline the strategies like SEO marketing and email marketing. Others are social media marketing, video marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing.
- Paid advertising such as PPC marketing and display advertising. Others are boosting posts on social media platforms and online banners
- Promotion tactics like giveaways, discounts, and competitions.
Break down each strategy as you plan to approach them. Take the example of:-
- Take an audit of existing content. Which are the best performing and why? The information will give insights on what to replicate or remove
- Do you need to replace the content? You can repurpose posts, infographics, and whitepapers
- What other types of content can increase engagement? Videos, tutorials, case studies, etc.
- Audit web performance and existing SEO strategies
- Website optimization – loading speeds, navigation, responsiveness
- How to improve the existing SEO? – Link building, web redesign, mobile-friendliness, site security, etc.
- Would it be feasible to consider outsourcing SEO services?
4. Allocate a Budget
The activities you decide on in the step above will require a budget. The advantage modern marketers have is the use of the digital space. There are many benefits to online advertising. It is possible to achieve a lot of brand and product visibility without spending too much money.
The same was not possible before when analog media ruled. Only those who had huge budgets for print or electronic advertising managed to get in front of customers.
Now, it is possible to achieve visibility without spending a lot of money. Companies can easily set up websites on platforms like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, and Weebly.
Social media platforms are also cost-effective, thus providing solutions to startups and small businesses.
Look at the strategies you want to use, and then allocate a budget for each. You may find that you cannot afford to do everything. In that case, set priorities, or see where you can cut costs.
We have looked at the steps you need to take when creating a customized plan.
Determine what your goals are so that it guides whatever you do when coming up with the plan. Take time to understand the market, competitors, audiences, and your business.
Be clear about the strategies you want to use. Your budget will have a significant role in what you can or cannot do. But, the online space has tons of cost-effective options that you can use. Do not be afraid to explore such options.
Good luck with developing your marketing plan!