Did you know I come from a background in the hospitality business? One of the biggest projects we did every year was a marketing plan. It had to be done before we did our budget for the following year. I never felt it was a waste of time however it wasn’t until I transitioned from operations to sales that fully understood the power of a marketing plan. Sure it helps you make a more insightful budget for the year but there is so much more to it than that. When done well a marketing plan can help you understand your target client, how you will reach them and who else is working to capture the same business. It will also allow you to understand the impact of your efforts so you can make educated decisions on future initiatives. Although marketing plans can vary depending on the industry, type of products or services, and the goals you want to achieve, there are certain essential elements that most plans include. So here it is a marketing plan broken down into sections.
#1 Summary and Introduction
This is just what it sounds like. It should be a synopsis of what you have done, what you plan to do, and how you are going to get there. Don’t overthink this. It can be as simple as 2020 we plan to grow our revenue by 25% year over year and
# 2 Business Objectives
Your amazing marketing plan will help support your overall business strategy and goals. In order to reach this sort of alignment, whoever is doing your marketing, even if that is you must be clear on what these business objectives are and which aspects of them your marketing efforts can affect.
#3 Target Client
Many find this to be the hardest part but you cannot possibly market to EVERYONE. Which makes knowing who your target client is to essential to your marketing plan. You need to know who they are, what they like, where they work, how old they are. Have no idea? Take a look at your top 20 clients right now and look for similarities. You can have more than one but armed with this information you can decide the best places to commit your time and money to. In many situations, it will also help you determine who your true competitors are.
# 4 Market Analysis
I recommend starting with a good SWOT analysis to get started this will let you know where you stand in your market compared to your competitors. In this section, you will take a close look at the factors that influence your marketing both internally and externally and make detailed notes on how you will address weakness and leverage your strengths
#5 Define Your Brand Messaging
This is a combination of your Brands Mission, Core Values and your Brand Essences. This all combines with your name, tagline, and logo to create consistent messaging both written and visually. The right messaging can help establish your brand's position in the market, make you stand out as different from your competitors, create value to your target client and build loyalty. You should set some general messaging guidelines in your plan, this way you have a starting off point to create more specific messages for each campaign.
You must know what you can spend on your marketing campaigns and how much money your company is willing to put into different types of marketing efforts. It is also a good idea to include an expected return on investment (ROI) to determine if they worked well or not. You want to also consider costs like events, networking & photography.
Now we get into the meat of the plan and I recommend breaking it up into quarters and revisiting it each month/quarter and reevaluating were needed.
#7 Marketing Goals
The focus here is on how your marketing tasks will tie into the overall goals of the company. For example, if an overall objective of a company is to increase if an overall objective of a company is to increase brand awareness through social media then the related marketing goal might be to get a certain amount of photoshoots scheduled around company events.
# 8 Strategies
Strategies are simply the steps you will take to reach your business goals. So for example, if you're trying to get a certain amount of people to sign up for the online course, your strategy may be to introduce new clients to the course with personalized invites that highlight the course benefits that might benefit them
# 9 Tactics
These are the specific actions you will take to execute the strategies that you set. So, if you introduce new clients to the course with personalized invites, then one tactic you could use is sending out emails that address each new customer by name and let them know about some specific benefits that they can get, along with a link to easily sign up for the next course.
#10 Tracking and Evaluation
This section of your plan should include how you plan and track each type of marketing activity you are using. Simply put If you are not tracking and measuring your efforts then you are not marketing effectively. Without a tracking system, you will never know if your efforts have paid off well or not, especially if you use more than one method, which I am sure you will. What if you spend a couple of hundred dollars a year on some automation software and thousands of dollars a year on a local ad. If you don’t keep a record you may never realize that the ad is only bringing, you a small portion of your business where social media brings you at least half.
I hope this helps you start your plan. Still feeling a little overwhelmed but understand the importance? CLICK HERE to download my Marketing Plan Template, join my community for more small business tips and keep up with me.