One of the fundamental activities involved in any successful business operation is creating and implementing a marketing plan. A marketing plan is an operational blueprint detailing the promotional strategy that you will implement to reach your target audience as well as generate and convert leads. The functions and features of a marketing plan include the following:
√ State your business' mission – clearly and succinctly describe the nature of your business, what you offer to the audience that you serve. Have a clear message and communicate that consistently as you execute your plan.
√ Determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your plan – ensure your tactics are measurable. Marketing goals can include the number of new clients, the number of people you want to reach, or the amount of income you would like to generate. Be realistic and practical when establishing your goals. Then monitor results to determine which of your marketing strategies are working and which are not adjusting your plan accordingly. Read more about why Marketing Metrics Matter.
√ Identify your target audience – know who the ideal customer for your product or service is. Can you group them into logical buckets that you can reach with a similar message and/or the same channels? Be efficient in your efforts to reach the largest number of people effectively. Know what they want or need and make sure that you can meet that desire/need.
√ Describe your marketing initiatives and promotional strategies - different strategies work better for different target audiences therefore, several may be required to reach each segment. The key for successful marketing is understanding the value you bring to each segment and what will get them to respond. This requires you to learn your audiences’ needs, problems, pain points, how you can solve them, and industry trends.
√ Define your marketing budget – understand the budget requirements for the tactics that you select and plan accordingly. Marketing does not have to be costly; it must be thoughtful using the resources you have to get the biggest impact.
√ Know your competition - know your competitors and how to position yourself in relation to them. Determine how and why your services are special and benefit users. You can compete based on value, price, product, or service, or some combination of these. Your unique position in the marketplace must be promoted consistently in your marketing programs and materials.
√ Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities – your marketing plan isn’t something you create and place on the shelf. You need to identify who is responsible for each task and ensure duties are clearly communicated and everyone is held accountable to the KPIs. Actively work your plan and you will create a sustainable business.
Without a written plan, you execute tactics without a strategy which leads to ineffective outcomes, less than ideal frequency, and haphazard use of marketing channels. Don’t allow your small business to succumb to poor outcomes, create your killer marketing plan today!