A Guide to Creating a Marketing Plan for your Business
One of the most difficult parts of running a small business is putting together a marketing strategy. The process takes a lot of time, money, and effort, so it’s essential to have a plan in place before you even begin. A detailed marketing plan will help define what you want to accomplish with your business as well as put on the correct path to make it happen.
I’ve talked about creating a marketing plan in each of my online digital marketing training videos. There are five parts to the plan that can be applied to each marketing channel.
1. Set Goals
Before you can start developing a strategy, you should set up some business goals. Write them down on a piece of paper, and make them as specific as possible. Do not just say “Increase brand awareness.” Instead, break your overarching goal into smaller objectives. This will help you see your progress as you go and keep you from becoming overwhelmed by the big picture. For example, make your goal “Increase number of website visits by 50% over the next six months by advertising website address.”
2. Develop a Mission Statement
Your mission statement should be a precise definition of what your company is and does. It should summarize your goals, target markets, and values. Here are four essential questions from Forbes that your company’s mission statement should answer:
- What do we do?
- How do we do what we do?
- Whom do we do it for?
- What value are we bringing to them?
What do you want the world to know about your company and its purpose? Your marketing strategy will be influenced by the values and goals outlined in your mission statement.
3. Identify Your Audience
Invest in some market research to indentify everything about your ideal buyer including where they live and the products and services they need. It’s a good idea to check out your competitors and what they’re doing, but do not copy it verbatim. Learn from their strengths and weaknesses.
4. Build Your Strategy
Now that you have goals and know who to target, it’s time to do the bulk of the work – putting together your marketing plan. Determine the best ways to get your message in front of your customers’ eyes. Take into consideration your audience’s age, location, gender and other demographics. Do they spend more time on social media or reading the newspaper? Do they watch television or spend more time outside?
Then, think about how much money you have to spend or are willing to spend. Prioritize the methods based on this information. Choose the most promising methods and stay consistent across the various platforms.
5. Analyze Results
The last part of your strategy is evaluating whether you accomplished your goals. Did you meet them? Why or why not? Did you learn new, valuable information about your business or your customers? How can you use the information to further improve your business?
Keep following this process with even more accurate goals to reach the greatest possible success.