Most entrepreneurs think about crafting a good business plan but rarely do they think of a marketing plan, but a marketing plan is just as important. It is an integral tool for the success of your business; Yes, good marketing plan is more than just budget and strategies, as it focuses on winning and keeping customers.
In this article, I would be sharing five essential things you need to consider in order to create a marketing plan that actually works.
The first thing to do is, to begin with, a snapshot of your brand’s current situation. It is the most important step in creating a marketing plan, as it would influence every other step therein. When doing your situation analysis, you’d need to define what your brand is about, your product/services, your unique selling point (is it Convenience, Quality, Pricing or something else?) You’d also need to do an audit of your industry to determine your market share and to check out your competitors. Understanding your competitors is very important, so you find out what they are doing wrong and stay away from those things, as well as find out what they are doing right, and make notes to creatively do those things in a better way. Your situation analysis should be an overview of your brand’s Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats.
After doing a detailed overview of where you are now, the next step is to define your target audience – their demographics, needs, preferences etc. The target audience is perhaps the most factor in marketing as they determine the strategies and channels you employ, your tone of voice, your content direction etc. Thus, in creating your marketing plan, it is expedient you clearly define the people you want to reach and convert to paying customers.
Define your customer journey and touchpoints, i.e the process your customers go through before making a purchase (typically the customer journey is divided into Awareness, Consideration, Intent, and Decision) and the different ways and places you can come in contact/interact with your target audience. You can so go a step further and create a buyer persona. Buyer personas helps you bring your target audience to life.
Now that you have successfully defined your target audience, the next step – which is a very crucial one – is to define your marketing goals. Your marketing goals and objectives should be an offshoot of your business goals. Marketing should be able to affect your brand’s bottom line. Define if your Marketing Goal is Brand Awareness, To drive Traffic to your Website, Social Engagement, Lead Generation or Conversion. Ensure that you set goals that are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. For example, ‘increase website traffic by 30% by end of Q3’ is a much smarter goal than just writing down ‘Increase website traffic’
Strategies and Measurement
Now it is time to determine your marketing strategies and tactics. This is the heart and soul of your marketing plan, as it determines how you reach your prospects and accomplish your goals.
Based on your already defined your target audience, you’d have to identify the places and the ways to best reach them at the different stages of their buying journey. What strategies – content and channels would you use to reach out to those in the awareness stage? How would you tweak it to fit those already considering buying, and what strategies would you use to ensure you close every prospect that has an intent? Identify the various touchpoint you can harness – Email Marketing, Social Media, SEM, investing on SEO, Display Advertising etc.
It is not enough to identify their touch points, you’d also need to determine how you’d mix and match all of them for the best results. At this stage, you’d also need to identify your measurement tools and or processes for each strategy you use. You need to constantly know if your strategies are helping you meet your goals, right?
I don’t have to remind you that you need to invest money as well as time in order for your business to grow right? Marketing is not left out. So yes, to get better results faster, you’d need to invest money in marketing. Determine the strategies that would pay off more both in the short run and in the long run and allocate accurate budget to them.
It’s time to go ye therefore and implement. You probably want to call someone to help you here, but nonetheless, the above insights would go a long way. Wishing you the best of luck.
Peace Itimi is an Account Manager at Webcoupers, a Lagos-based Digital Marketing agency.
Photo Credit: Mariusz Szczawinski | Dreamstime.com