When it’s time to get your business out there, it’s essential to start building a marketing plan. Think of your marketing plan as a road map to help you reach those target audiences. Items like consumer trends, product sales and demand, and more can be studied through marketing trends, helping you create a more accurate business plan.
Why should you focus on marketing? The simple answer is that marketing is how customers find your business. Whether you choose to do this online or in-person, following through on marketing plans can upgrade your shop’s sales and popularity. Follow along as we go over some essential things to keep in mind once you begin creating your marketing plan.
The first page will cover your executive summary when you begin your marketing plan. Here you’ll be summarizing the marketing strategy you hope to follow. Your executive summary will include the following points.
- Business Details: confirm your business name and where you will be selling to the customer. This can be through e-commerce, word of mouth, storefront, etc.
- What products and services you’ll be marketing: confirm the products and services your company will focus on. From here, make sure to note what advantages your products/services have over the competitors and which you think will be customer favorites.
- Mission statement: this statement will become the forefront for your shop in many ways. Make sure to think of a one-sentence statement that embodies what your shop represents. For example, the Coca-Cola Company is “Refresh the world. Make a difference.”
- Marketing goals: make sure to create short and long-term marketing goals. These goals can relate to growth in your return on investment (ROI), obtaining new customers, and raising retention.
- Create a budget and Projections: Focus on what your Return on Investment (ROI) will be once you push your marketing plan forward. You can adequately plan for paid advertising and marketing spending by learning your estimated ROI.
Creating your executive summary will be last on your to-do list since this will embody your complete plan as a whole.
Your first step in creating a marketing plan is conducting market research for your industry. Try to avoid assuming or overconfidence bias when creating your marketing plan, as this can lead to lower revenue than you’re expecting and cause a mishap in your financial planning.
Look into market research for your audience base. Review website analytics, social media audiences, and customer surveys to get an idea of what attracts the customers you’re aiming for and see what you can bring to the table that competitors might be lacking.
Review their demographics (location, age, and income level) to better focus your marketing efforts on markets that want your product. For example, if you focus your efforts on an audience that is too old for your product or can’t afford it, you could be wasting your efforts, resulting in low ROI levels for your business. Remember that your marketing audience can be different from your product audience. For example, while you’re creating children’s apparel, it’s the parents and adults in their life you’re marketing to.
Finding Your Strategy
Choosing a strategy for your marketing is focused on three items: what channels you’ll be on, how you’ll format, and what your messages are.
What’s Your Channel?
These are the platforms you’ll find yourself using to promote your business, products, and services. By reviewing your target market research, you can see which best channel options are for you based on what channels your target audience can be found on. For example, if your target audience is a younger crowd, you might find yourself promoting on Tiktok or Instagram, as compared to using Facebook.
Channels to Focus On:
- Social Media: Used by over 50% of the population, social media marketing is a top platform for your business. You can post for free and reach your target audience by researching sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. These sites are also a perfect platform to keep in contact with customers and build a relationship with shoppers.
- Search Engines: When consumers need something, they’ll usually run to their favorite search engine. Keep this in mind when choosing where to place ads and how to create the content for your website, as search engines work off SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and follow the content you have on your site. Do this to hit your target audience when they’re looking for your product on the internet.
- Email Marketing and SMS: Think of this as your direct line to your customers and those interested in your product. By using these resources, you can inform customers of deals, products, and more directly to their inbox.
- Getting Offline: Marketing is not contingent on the online world. Look into channels like radio shows, billboards, TV campaigns, and more.
Once you’ve figured out what channels you’re going to market on, plan how you choose to do so. You can choose to go for organic marketing, which would mean no money involved, only your time and effort. Or, you can choose to advertise on these channels and pay for a boost on your posts. Paying for advertisements can get your product out to new crowds that usually wouldn’t see your post and can be directed to whom you choose in many cases.
Don’t stretch yourself thin with how many channels you focus on. Going too wide can be difficult to maintain and properly focus on, losing your audience in the process instead of creating a bridge between you and them. Instead, focus on your top channels, and put your effort into where your audience base can be found on. Remember that having only one channel will not assist you in the long run either, so it’s good to find your happy medium and work on those.
Formats to Use:
When you choose to post and advertise, think about what formats your audience would pay the most attention to.
- Images: This can be GIFs, infographics, memes, product photos, and more.
- Video: Use YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok to your advantage. Highlight reels, demonstrations of products, and how to use them, bring in the audiences, and create a more personal feel to your channels. This can also include introduction videos to your company, team members, and you.
- Written Content: As we mentioned, search engines will find you through your SEO. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to create blogs and posts that will bring search engines to our sites and social channels. When creating content, focus on blogs, your website landing pages, and transcripts for videos.
- Audio: Podcasts and Radio shows are popular forms of channels for travelers, active and sports enthusiasts, and hobbyists who enjoy listening to these forms of channels, like Spotify and the podcast app, during their activities or traffic.
When you’re marketing, you need constant content. Social media has created a world where consumers want new and fresh posts to focus on and bring their attention in. This can be demanding for a small business to keep up with, which is why we recommend researching tools that can assist with posting and scheduling like Hootsuite or Sprout Social.
Try and bring your audience in by encouraging posts with tags and hashtags to your company page. This gives you new content to re-post and helps you market your products and services in a no-cost way through your past customers. You can also partner with social media influencers who relate to your product or service, assisting you to gain brand awareness with little work on your end.
When you’re working on different channels, this doesn’t mean your message changes. Remember to keep all your post across channels consistent in what you sell, the services you offer, and everything else. You want to keep consistency to grow trust in your business.
Find your message, and use it as a catalyst for what your content centers on. For example, Walmart’s channels will always focus on them being the lowest price, no matter what content they’re producing. Finding your adjective, the comfiest, the lowest, the highest, will set a tone to what you create going forward and how you’ll center your advertising. If you’re unsure what your message is, take a moment to reevaluate your business goal and why you want people to buy from you.
In your messages, try to avoid focusing on product features and focus more on what the product can do for the consumer. For example, if you’re creating blankets, knowing the size is great, but creating a story about having the comfiest blankets perfect for a night’s sleep will grab customers’ attention more. Marketing is about the product, yes, but it is also about building that relationship with your customers and wanting them to care about your product.
The best thing about marketing is the option to be high or low on your budget and still do well. Marketing can be done organically and paid, allowing you to choose where your budget should go and where you can cut and still do well.
Free marketing is out there! Many social media sites do not require paying to have a page or profile. On sites like Instagram and Facebook, creating profiles and pages is free of charge and allows you the freedom to get your name out there using hashtags, geolocations, re-share buttons, and tagging. Don’t forget many of these sites also allow you to invite your peers to share and like your page, helping you get your name out there.
You can also submit your business in marketing competitions like press opportunities, awards, podcast and blog features, and so much more. Using word of mouth through these submissions allows your company to save on marketing spending while assisting your goals.
While your budget for advertising spending may be low, remember to account for the time and effort that goes into the marketing itself. From creating the content to scheduling and posting, make sure to account your salary, or workers’ salary, into your marketing budget.
What’s your goal?
Lastly, take the time to break down your marketing plan goals and how you plan to measure the success. One of the main ways is through ROI (Return on Investment), the revenue you plan to obtain after spending your budget on the marketing.
Plan your marketing budget around your expected ROI to avoid situations where your marketing has a higher price than what you’re getting back on it. For example, if you see that a marketing campaign has begun to cost more than what you’re selling of the product, plan to revise that campaign and place your funds in a different project that can better assist you.
Besides the money, you can receive from marketing, think about other goals these campaigns can accomplish for you. It’s not always the dollar price in sales we’re concerned about, but rather brand awareness, website traffic, and followers. If you can create a marketing plan that can hit your goals, whether it be a dollar sign or follower count, you’ll be able to see a higher success rate down the line.
From Planning to Marketing
Once you take that step and implement your marketing plans, you’ll finally be able to see your idea at work. You are spending that time to create your marketing plan, whether its hours or days, which will help you, in the long run, create a business with better sustainability and higher exposure.
Knowing your audience, where they are, and how to communicate with them will bring you that step closer to closing a sale each time.
- Know your market.
- Know your channels.
- Know your message.
- Know your budget.
- Know your goal.
When you keep up with these five points, you’ll be able to see what your marketing is doing for you and how to elevate your company when the time comes. So keep up with your marketing and know about its unpredictability and how it can bring awareness to your company. Marketing can bring your business to new heights and is an important plan to keep nearby!