The number of entrepreneurs without a solid marketing plan can be astounding. The vast majority of small businesses have some sort of business plan, but their marketing plan is relegated to a minuscule, non-specific section.
A good marketing plan specifies exactly what tactics and tools your business will use to hit its sales goals. Without it is like going into war without weapons or a general.
Thankfully, your marketing plan doesn’t have to be a 50-page behemoth if you are a small business. A marketing plan works best when it is concise, easy to read, and coherent. Be clear and get right to the point.
A Marketing Plan Is an Organic Document
Your marketing plan will grow and change as time progresses. It is highly unlikely anyone can nail down the perfect marketing plan on the first go without any prior market feedback or experience. You might not get your marketing plan right during the first round, and that’s okay. As long as you come to a functioning marketing plan that allows you to hit your sales goals in a sustainable manner, you will be fine.
Information to Have on Hand
Before you begin, the following materials will make the process much easier:
- Financial reports, including operating budgets, profit and loss, sales figures, sales information by product, main region of business, and length of time in business.
- A list of your products and profit margins on each.
- Your current marketplace knowledge, including geographical boundaries and buyer personas.
- Current distribution channels.
- Demographic data and trend information.
- Main competitors.
Describe Your Current Market Situation
This section should explain the current state of your marketplace using hard numbers. This should be very clear to read and reference.
Be sure to ask questions like:
What are the main competitors in this marketplace?
How can you best describe your audience in terms of income levels and demographics? If your business primarily operates online, you can utilize Google Analytics to understand who is visiting your site.
How do you do sales and distribution? Are these methods currently helping you meet your sales goals? It is helpful to consult with your sales team to see pain points that may exist.
What are your main products/services? Add quantitative metrics such as quantities sold, profit margins, and other relevant inventory information. Be sure to note your best-selling and worst-selling items.
Understand Your Product Positioning
You could also do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to determine the best place to focus your efforts. This will be helpful to position your products based on their features what types of buyers are likely to purchase them.
What are your product’s features and how are they distinguished from other competitor products? This will help you to decide which features to showcase and emphasize.
What type of buyer is going to buy your product? Creating a buyer persona, an extremely detailed personification of your target customer’s traits, will help you to understand who you are selling to.
Set Your Marketing Goals
This is where you decide what exactly you want your marketing plan to achieve and in what time span. For example, if you want the number of subscriptions to your service to increase 10% every month, your plan should reflect that. Make all your marketing plan goals measurable so you can know if your marketing plan is reasonably achieving them in the future.
Develop Your Marketing Tactics and Strategies
By now, we’ve identified our buyers, market plan expectations, and current market situation. This is the bread and butter of your marketing plan, which can fluctuate based on market feedback. Design it with the mind of a scientist until you find what works for your business. You could go down one of many routes here.
Cover all stages of the sales cycle. One of the most common is establishing a marketing funnel. The funnel starts at the broadest part with the awareness stage, followed by interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, and purpose. After you become familiar with them, establish marketing tactics for each step.
For example, if you want to focus on raising awareness, you might want to adopt content creation and a targeted Facebook ad campaign aimed at bringing people onto your site. Then, you must find a way to guide those visitors into becoming customers.
Engineering a holistic marketing plan will be detailed enough to outline how each primary marketing strategy plays into the grand marketing matrix.
Your ideal marketing mix will reveal itself after a lot of careful planning and market feedback. By putting together a killer marketing plan for your small business, you’ve taken the first step toward breaking your sales goals.
Be sure to constantly A/B test and even go as far as to interview your ideal customers to gain a better understanding concerning to what the market will best respond.