You're going to need a plan. You can't just wing it. If you don't have a plan, how will you know what to do? An effective marketing plan is the difference between success and failure. It's the difference between being able to measure the effectiveness of your efforts and not having any idea whether or not they're working. It's the difference between spending money on things that are going to help you grow your business and wasting money on things that aren't as effective as they could be. In this article, we will show you how to create an outstanding marketing plan that will help your business succeed!
Step 1: Conduct a situation analysis.
To get started with your marketing plan, it's important to conduct a situation analysis. What is it that you need to improve? What is it that you want to change? What are the current trends in your industry? How do they impact your business?
For example, let's say you've got a fitness center. You'll want to look at how people view your industry and how they view fitness centers as well as how many gyms or fitness centers there are in the area. Do people think it's okay for them to go to the gym every day or do they prefer long breaks between sessions? By looking at these things, you'll be able to determine ways in which you can improve your business.
You can also look at the community in which you're doing business. Are there any other businesses in your area which provide the same service as yours? Is there one that does it better than you? These questions might make you reconsider some of the things about your business and how you offer your services.
Step 2: Define your target audience.
After you have learned about your business and market, you're ready to figure out who your target audience is. Target audiences are important for two reasons. The first is that they help you figure out who you're speaking to and what kind of language you should use to do so. The second, more often overlooked benefit of target audiences is that they give you a way to measure how well your content is resonating with your audience.
If you've done a thorough job of defining what your business offers, then you should already have a good idea of who it's for. If you haven't quite gotten there yet, don't worry—a target audience can help you get there faster than ever. Defining your target audience will help guide your branding decisions and influence how you craft your marketing campaigns. When you have a clear picture of who exactly is going to buy what you're selling, everything else becomes easier.
For example, a small business that sells dog treats might find that its target audience breaks down into moms with young kids, busy professionals between ages 30 and 50, or retirees looking for something extra to do in their golden years. Each of these categories represents individuals who have different needs and who might need different things out of a dog treat supplier. But even though they differ in their desires and needs, they could all still fall under the same umbrella category—dog treat buyers.
Step 3: Write SMART goals.
What's a SMART goal? A SMART goal is a specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound goal. It's not enough to wish for a great marketing plan—you have to take an active role in making one that has real potential for success. You need to set goals for what you want your marketing plan to achieve and when you want it to be finished. You won't know how long it will take or whether it will be successful if you don't have specific goals. Goals have to be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic and they need a time frame.
Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve?
Measurable: Can you measure your goal so you know if you've reached it or not?
Attainable: Is it something that's realistic for your business?
Realistic: Is it something that will benefit your business?
Timeframe: How long do you want to achieve this goal by?
Step 4: Analyze your tactics.
Once you've determined what you want to achieve and whom you want to target, it's time to figure out how. This means you need to analyze your marketing tactics. One of the most important things to consider is whether or not your tactics are going to resonate with your audience. If they don't, then it doesn't matter how great your product or service is—you'll never be able to reach the people who matter most.
When analyzing tactics, look at how well-known or popular your brand or product is within its niche and ask yourself: do these tactics align with what my audience already knows about me? Do they align with what my audience expects from me? Are they original enough that they will attract the attention of my audience? Do they align with our overall strategy for this particular campaign or initiative?
In a typical marketing campaign, there are several different tactics that can be used. For example, if you're running an e-mail marketing campaign, you might decide to send out a series of emails over a period of time—perhaps one email per week for 4 weeks. You could also run an ad campaign on Facebook or Instagram. Or maybe you want to host a webinar or create a video series that goes live on YouTube. Each of these tactics has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to marketing—and each will require different amounts of time and effort to execute successfully.
Step 5: Set your budget.
Setting a marketing budget is one of the most important things you can do as a business owner. It's how you'll know how much money to spend on your marketing efforts, and it's also how you'll know how much money to expect in return. You can't just throw money at ads or promotions and hope they work—you need to figure out which ones will actually be effective. And that's where setting a budget comes in: it helps you determine what tactics are worth trying, and which ones aren't worth the investment.
When setting your marketing budget, think about what kind of return you want from your investments. Do you want more customers? More sales? More brand recognition? You should know exactly what type of growth is expected from each dollar spent on marketing so that when something doesn't work out as expected, it's clear why—and then you can adjust accordingly.