30 Aug 5 Steps to Create a Successful Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan is the centerpiece to reaching more customers and growing your business. You should pay careful attention to your marketing campaign for these exact reasons . Performing your due diligence up front and sticking to your plan will pay dividends in the future. Start by following the steps below to begin your marketing plan.
Step 1: Determine the current state of your business
Every business regardless of their size, industry, or stage of growth needs to know exactly where they stand. This should be based on not only internal factors, but external ones such as your competitors, legislation, and other market variables. For example, if you sell snowblowers and a mild winter is predicted, you need to be ready for it. Identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT Analysis) will help you prepare for both expected and unexpected circumstances. Take it a step further and plot out a basic plan of action in case any of your opportunities or threats were to happen.
Step 2: Reinforce/identify your target audience
When you first start your business you may think you know exactly who your audience is an what they’re looking for. This can actually change quite fast. Maybe customers are opting for the more customized product, or a more all-inclusive option. Look at the products and services you sell the most of, where these customers come from, and see if you can increase the value they’re receiving. Remember, close to 80% of your sales may come from 20% of your customers (80/20 Rule).
Step 3: Set your marketing goals
By this point you’ve built your SWOT analysis and reinforced or identified your most profitable customers. This will help you determine the goals you’re going to set for the year. Maybe it’s to double down on your most profitable customers and provide them more value to increase sales in this segment of your business. Maybe it’s to grab ahold of a big opportunity in your local market and have a certain percentage of your sales come from here. The most important thing here is that the goals you set are SMART:
“Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely”
Set goals for both the immediate future (1-3 months) and long term (1 year and up). Use the short term goals to judge the effectiveness of your campaign, and make changes as needed.
Step 4: Determine your marketing budget
This is where you really start to lay out the details of your marketing plan. If you don’t have a specific budget you’re going to base your marketing plan around it will be difficult to complete it and actually carry out your marketing campaign for a full year. Your budget also will help determine which channels you’re going to use as the backbone to your annual plan. Don’t forget to take into account those opportunities that may arise from Step 1.
Step 5: Measure, measure, measure
If you’re not able to measure anything it will be extremely difficult to look back on your marketing campaign and determine it’s success. Whether it’s something as simple as increasing your brand awareness or increasing sales by a specific amount, all successful growth strategies require identifying and measuring metrics. Each business will have different metrics, specific to them, that will help to gage your marketing plan’s success.
If you’re looking for help developing your marketing plan for the year, trust the experts who’ve both built brands from the ground up and taken well established businesses to their next marketing goals. Don’t blend in with the competition. Make your next marketing campaign the one that sets the bar.
Stand out, reach your customers, and build you brand.
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