You are all set with your financing, office space, or storefront, and now all you need is customers for your business.
That’s where a marketing plan can come in handy. You probably already know a bit about marketing. It is the art of telling people who you are, what you do, and why they should use you. A marketing plan is essential to get the most of the business plan you developed. It helps to see some marketing plan examples to get you going.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about creating a winning marketing plan for your business. You’ll learn on:
- The key questions to ask before you start.
- What is a marketing goal with your marketing plan?
- How to define your ideal customer.
- What competition analysis is and why it matters.
- The benefits of making your marketing calendar.
- How to decide on a marketing budget.
- Marketing plan examples and key elements of successful ones.
Why Should You Make a Marketing Plan For Your Business?
Just as buildings have blueprints, businesses have marketing plans. The plan is your blueprint looking forward into the next six months to a year. It outlines the various strategies with digital and traditional marketing that you’ll use to generate leads and marketing activity to find new customers.
Developing a marketing plan takes time, dedication, and research. Why would a customer want to use you? What do you offer that no one else does? Who is your ideal customer, and where can they find you? The answers to these questions will form the basis of your marketing plan.
Before constructing your marketing plan, you need to have a clear understanding of:
- Your products and services.
- Your company’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Your target customers: Who they are and what they want.
- Your competitors: Who they are and what they do better than you.
- Your digital marketing plan (e.g., email, social media, video)
- Expected marketing budget: More is not necessarily better.
- Expected marketing return on investment (ROI): More absolutely is better!
How to Write a Marketing Plan?
Identify Your Business Priorities
The first step in creating a marketing plan is creating goals for what you expect from your marketing plan. You should also decide what your company’s goals are? Always start with the end goal in mind. That way, you can determine the type of marketing plans you need to design and use to achieve your company’s goals.
Consider what you can do to make sure people know who you are and want to use your product or services and budget your money appropriately. You won’t be marketing to random strangers but to your ideal customer who would be interested in your offer. Therefore, ask yourself who your prospective customers are and how you can reach them.
Describe Your Ideal Customers
Shape your target audience for marketing around who your ideal customer is. You should have a clear idea of whom you want to attract with your marketing plan. Anyone could be a prospective customer, whether that may be an individual or a company.
A key part of determining the target audience is understanding your ideal customers’ needs, desires, and behaviors. If you’re not sure how to do it right, consider seeking help from reliable marketing experts. Scorpion is one of those platforms deeply dedicated to supporting clients in creating detailed buyer personas.
If you choose to do your own research, then consider running a survey with your existing customer base. You can offer them a gift card or discount for their time. Ask about their likes, dislikes, how they found your business, what services you should offer, etc.. The more you can find out the better.
Define Specific Goals
Once you set your target audience, it’s time to design a marketing strategy around it. Every business has a unique marketing approach, specifically designed to meet the needs of customers. You should do the same and implement the research findings you have in your marketing plan.
Describe your customers and the buying process using the information you have from your research and focus on the most important features and benefits your company offers. Specifically, what problem in your customers’ lives does your company solve? You have to know clearly what you -and only you – can do best for your customer.
With marketing, you will find that each piece of advertising or content you create may have a different goal. Some goals you could consider are
Leads: This feels obvious, but getting your phone to ring or email inbox to fill up with prospective customers should be a goal to consider.
Engagements: If you do marketing on social media, you may focus on engagements (comments, likes, shares). These can take time to build but can create a community that loves to work with and promote your brand.
Revenue: Leads are great, money coming in is even better. Tracking money from marketing channels like Google, Facebook, or your website will help you know where to spend more to get more.
Analyze the Competition
You can learn a lot about a successful marketing strategy by looking into what your competitors are doing. The competitor analysis can give you an overview of the plans that succeeded and failed over time, so you know what to do and avoid in your project.
Here are a couple of questions that could support your competitor analysis:
- What can you learn from the marketing strategy of other companies?
- What are your best opportunities for gaining market share?
- Do you want to enter the market with a unique marketing strategy or build on your competition’s strengths?
- What is your competitive advantage?
- What makes you different from your competitors?
Your customers will ask these questions too when searching for the best offer on the market. Try to follow their perspective, and you’ll find a lot of opportunities for your business.
Create a Marketing Calendar
Your marketing calendar will be a vital part of your company’s strategy going forward. It will help you track the progress of every aspect of your business, from advertising and branding to customer acquisition and sales conversion. A well-designed calendar can also support you in time management and resource allocation.
Here are two essential tips for managing a marketing calendar:
- Track marketing activities in chronological order. It can help to map out what you plan to do quarter by quarter and prepare for any big events long in advance. It will help you keep track of new articles, blog posts, e-books, videos, social media updates, and more. You can use free apps like Google Calendar to get started. A dedicated calendar can help you input the details from your marketing plans and keep them organized all year round.
- Add activities and dates. It’s best to have two main categories for each marketing activity. One should reflect the project date, and the other one should track progress. The more specific you get when inserting data, the easier the project management will be.
As you do more marketing, you can add in expected goals from each activity based on your previous results. For example, if you plan to spend $10k a month on Google and know from previous months that you will get 100 leads from that money spent, you can have that as an expected goal.
Its also good to lean into your specific industry with your marketing calendar. For example, your techs may have dead periods with less calls if you are an HVAC company. That could be a chance to run a seasonal promotion to entice new customers to call.
Plan Your Content Marketing Campaigns
The time has come for you to define your campaigns. Do you know what type of marketing plans you want to create? Will you focus on social media blog posts or email campaigns? What about preferred social media channels? The answers to these questions will give you a better insight into the type of marketing content you need for your plan.
Each social media platform has different kinds of customers. What works well on Instagram may not work on Facebook and vice versa. Consider the devices your customers use and optimize content for mobile, web, or both. It’s also good to think about the type of content and channel your customers prefer.
Before you start creating the content, make sure to recognize the needs and dreams of your audience. Your customers should be at the center of your every decision. In the end, you may have to make your plan multi-platform!
Set Up a Marketing Budget
Once you outline your marketing campaigns, decide how much money you can allocate for each of them. By budget planning with your marketing, you will know where your money is going and, more importantly, the results that it is creating.
Your budget is the amount of money you want to spend on marketing. When planning it for the year, take into account all the available resources and stay realistic. Avoid investing too much or too little because both may potentially leave you without financial backup and customers.
Decide on Marketing Channels
If you create great content that nobody sees, it is just a complete waste of your time. Once you have decided on your digital marketing plan’s content strategy, you need to choose where to spend your money to make sure it is seen. Here are some digital marketing channel strategies to consider.
Search Engine Optimization
If you want to show up on a search engine like Google or Bing/Yahoo, you need to focus your content strategy around SEO. We have a full Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization to help you, but its basics focus on keyword research and creating high-quality content.
Search engine optimization is a long game. It will take a dedicated focus on new content with blogs and keyword-related pages that your ideal customer will visit. It can sometimes take six months or more to start seeing results from SEO-focused digital marketing strategy.
One of the best ways to get your content out there is social media. We have a complete Beginners Guide to Social Media Marketing to help you start your plan and reach your business goal with digital marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Linkedin, and many other outlets can be free or paid. You can post your blog content, pictures of your business or services, or tell more about your customers.
Whatever you decide to do with social media, it can be a great way to build a community and get free eyes on your content to improve your marketing plan.
There are a lot of different channels for you to advertise your business We have created a full Beginners Guide to Advertising to help. The basics of paid advertising for your marketing plan are that you need to monitor closely. Any channel where you are spending money can easily get out of control if you aren’t looking at the leads coming into your site from them and continually making updates.
Marketing Plan Template
While there isn’t just one good marketing plan example, you could use several marketing plan templates depending on your industry. You will find each has very similar elements. We recommend focusing on the following:
- Mission Statement: Declare your fundamental goal and purpose. Explain why you’re in business and what you hope to accomplish. This is probably something you included in your business plan, but should drive all decisions you make.
- Understand competition: Understand where you fit in the market. What services are you missing or have that others don’t. How is your business different, once you find those things you can understand where to spend the bulk of your marketing.
- Ideal Customer: Discover your ideal customers who will be purchasing your products and services. Name them and explain what they want out of life.
- Income level
Why they need you
- Target Market: Building off of your ideal customer, establish to what customers and industries you will be delivering offers.
- Goals and Performance Metrics: Make a financial statement of your goals. Define performance milestones three months, six months, and a year into the future. Make sure these goals are realistic but don’t sell yourself short.
- Pricing: Knowing how to price your product is an art. You can base the ratings on your competitors but keep in mind that customer demand is the true driving force.
- Distribution: You need a plan for delivering your product or service into your customers’ hands. Which distribution channels do you and your customers prefer? Can you find a faster or more efficient distribution option? Are you going to try out paid advertising on Google, YouTube, or Facebook or are you going to try and run a blog to get more natural traffic from search engines.
- Budgeting: You can either plan your budget from zero or estimate based on previous marketing costs. Your budget should be as precise as possible. Account for the full range of marketing you’ll need to do, including distribution and paid advertising.
You can get as detailed with these points as you want. Play around and see what works best for your target audience. Along the way, you may find it necessary to create different marketing plan templates for each social media channel and promotional campaign.
Start the Journey With an Outstanding Marketing Plan
Not all marketing is suitable for every business. You’ll need to test (a lot) to see what kind of content generates the most responses from your desired audience. Some companies prefer short-form content marketing, whereas others only use long forms such as whitepapers. Whichever kind of content marketing you employ, your marketing plan will guide you toward its correct implementation. You’ll rely on it a lot over the coming months to know where to place your focus and energy.
Creating a marketing strategy from scratch can feel a little overwhelming especially as a part of an overall business plan. It’s not easy to plan all the content and activities if you have limited marketing experience. Getting assistance from an experienced marketing team like Scorpion can help you speed up the process. Our highly qualified marketing professionals are ready to help you scale and grow your business with custom-made marketing plan examples.Contact us today to get started!
Let’s talk about small business marketing. Schedule a consultation.