A marketing plan is one of the most vital aspects of your business, as it focuses on how you can promote your business. It can help you reach your sales goals because it details how you can win and keep customers. Though it may seem like an intimidating task at first, you will be able to come up with a sound marketing plan by doing the following:
1. Know your business and your target market.
Although nobody knows your business more than you do, take this as an opportunity to understand your business a bit deeper. Remember: Only by fully understanding your business will you be able to come up with the right marketing plan that will suit your needs.
Determine and analyze your business’ strengths, weaknesses, growth opportunities, the threats that may adversely affect your growth, and the factors that set you apart from your competitors. Furthermore, you also need to have a clear picture of your target market—know their basic demographic information (e.g., sex, age, geographic location, and earnings), and learn more about their behaviors, lifestyle, and decision-making.
By gathering these essential pieces of information, you will be able to identify the appropriate marketing strategies and public relations campaigns to implement.
2. Know your competitors.
In today’s highly competitive business world, you have to strive hard and exhaust all possible measures to stand out. By arming yourself with any intel about your rivals, you will be able to find ways to differentiate your company from others which have already established their reputation in your field.
You can start by detailing the features of your offerings and analyzing what are the competitive advantages of your products and services. However, equally important is trying to identify the aspects in which your competitors are ahead of you. By determining the challenges that your rivals put up against you, you will be able to come up with ways by which you can step up your game.
3. Set well-defined goals.
When creating a marketing plan, it is important to have a clear idea on what you want to achieve. For instance, are you aiming to gain a 25% increase in sales of your offerings per quarter? List down your marketing objectives for the year, making sure that you set specific targets that are measurable so you’ll be able to determine if you’re actually accomplishing them.
4. Develop the marketing strategies that you will implement.
This is the main body of your marketing plan. Now that you have a deep understanding of your business, target market, competitors, and marketing goals, it is time to outline the various strategies that you will perform to reach your prospects.
When developing your marketing plan, it is recommended to create a strategy that is targeted to potential customers at all phases of the sales cycle. For instance, cold prospects can be reached through the many forms of public relations tactics, advertising, and direct marketing.
On the other hand, permission-based emails and loyalty programs are great for ‘warm’ prospects, which refer to consumers who have been previously reached by your marketing messages. Meanwhile, interpersonal sales contact through phone, email, or in person may be the most appropriate way to close a sale with a ‘hot’ prospect who is ready to make a purchase decision.
Aside from developing strategies for prospects who are at different stages of the sales cycle, you may also want to list down the marketing efforts that you will execute to achieve each of the objectives you have identified earlier. For instance, if you want to gain more followers on Instagram, you may want to do the following:
- Stay active by posting 5 images every week and commenting on relevant photos of other users.
- Engage with prospects by replying to comments.
- Host a contest for your followers.
- Research and use relevant hashtags to boost organic traffic.
However, your marketing strategy won’t be effective if you don’t know where to reach your target market. With this, you have to figure out which channels are used by your potential clients when it comes to finding information and where they are most active.
Furthermore, you may also want to integrate various forms of content in your strategies, such as blogs, tutorials, videos, infographics, and e-books, for you to find out which types attract your target market the most.
5. Set your marketing budget.
How much are you planning to spend on your marketing efforts for the year? Where will the funds come from?
Entrepreneurs normally allot a percentage of their projected gross sales for their marketing efforts. However, when you’ve just started your business, your marketing budget may come from newly-acquired financing or your own pocket.
Although this may seem like an additional expense on your part, keep in mind that marketing is a critical aspect of your business. In the long run, you will not only get back what you’ve spent but will probably gain much more especially if your marketing strategies turned out successful.
Furthermore, having a tight budget is not a reason to miss out on opportunities to expand your reach and convert leads to sales. There are various cost-effective marketing tactics which actually work. It is just a matter of exploring your options and experimenting on which strategies yield the best results.
So there you have it! By following this simple guide, you will be able to create an effective marketing plan that will take your business to the next level. The next steps should involve implementing it and improve it along the way.
Although a marketing degree is not necessary to come up with a viable strategy, it would surely help if you hire a digital marketing expert digital marketing expert who can help you determine the right approach.
At Infinit3solutions, we have a team of digital marketing professionals who can provide assistance in every step of the entire marketing process—from planning to execution to monitoring. What makes us different from other companies is that we take the time to study the business of each of our clients and devise a customized marketing plan depending on the needs of a particular business.
If you want to learn how we can help you achieve your goals, contact us today!
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