How To Create A Marketing Plan That Will Get You More Customers
A solid marketing plan can take your business to new heights and, over time, will significantly increase your number of new customers and the value these sales bring to your company. In this article, we explain what a marketing plan is, why you need one, and how to go about it.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a step-by-step action plan for how you are going to obtain your marketing objectives. By starting with the marketing plan we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves. For a plan to be meaningful it has to be guided by a marketing strategy, which establishes the objectives to be achieved. The marketing strategy, in turn, is guided by your business goals.
One planning stage feeds into the next, like so:
- Business goals
- Marketing strategy (with marketing objectives aligned to your business goals)
- Marketing plan (with marketing tactics and channels aligned to the needs of your customers)
- Implementation (specific real-world activities that deliver your marketing objectives)
So, your marketing plan outlines the types of activity you plan to engage in, and the expected results of doing so. It is a roadmap for success that is essential for maintaining a unified view of all your marketing activities and keeping control of your costs and timescales.
A typical marketing plan includes a marketing mix of activities, including:
- Online advertising – Google Ads, Facebook Ads etc
- Content marketing – blogging, incentive content, infographics, videos
- Search engine optimisation – optimising your content and website for better visibility to search engine bots, thereby improving your search rankings
- Social media marketing – engaging with target customers on their favourite social media platform
- Email marketing – nurturing opted-in website leads through personalised email content
Benefits of a marketing plan
Why bother with a marketing plan at all? Can you not just choose to use Google Ads and just get on with it? Well, yes you can but businesses that take this piecemeal approach are often disappointed with the results, as there are no inbuilt mechanisms for feedback and budget control.
Creating a marketing plan unifies your marketing efforts within a clear framework for success, ensuring that everyone within your organisation is on the same page, and that there is good communication and mutual understanding with third parties. It also lets you analyse your results, make targeted improvements to your marketing activities, and identify new opportunities as they arise.
How to create a marketing plan
Your marketing plan is unique to your business, so they all take a slightly different form and use a different balance of activities. However, the process of creating a plan follows roughly the same steps, and there are several good templates available that can be customised with your information.
- Summarise your marketing objectives and business goals. (Some businesses find it useful to do this in the style of a mission statement or executive summary)
- Set one or more KPIs for each marketing objective
- Identify and define your buyer personas (your target audience)
- Research your main competitors, identifying the types of marketing activity they engage in
- Summarise the value of your products and services to your target market – i.e. how you address their specific requirements and challenges
- Decide on the best activities to help you reach your goals
- Set realistic benchmarks for success, and establish a monitoring and reporting schedule
Next steps – working with an SME digital marketing agency
At JDR, we create marketing plans and actionable sales strategies for small businesses that deliver genuine results, helping our customers grow their business for less money. To find out more about how we can help, please get in touch with one of our small business marketing specialists today.
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