What Does A Marketing Plan Look Like?
If you’re looking to make more of your business, marketing is an essential part of your strategy. One of the best ways to do so is through sharing your brand with others. And there are plenty of tools to utilize to market your business. Utilizing social media is a great strategy, as well as enhancing your website or printing new business cards. However, marketing is a lot like a puzzle. To make sure all the pieces fit together, you need a marketing plan.
You may wonder why this is important or worth your time, but a marketing plan is a strategic way to align your goals and give direction as to how you will achieve them. It’s your map to success. Though every marketing plan may look a little different, here a few topics to think about and include.
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It’s important to know where you currently stand in your marketing efforts before beginning anything new. Gather background of your current financials, business branding and previous goals. This will help you strategically choose what you’d like to accomplish with your marketing plan. Write down a brief summary of who you are and what you do.
You may think it’s strange to write down what you already know about your business, but if you were ever to show your marketing plan to a new hire, this information is extremely helpful. It helps orientate them to who you are and what you’re looking to accomplish in your business.
With so many great ideas, a marketing mission statement might be the most difficult part of any marketing plan. You truly have to focus your vision into just a few sentences, describing your business, what you do and why you do it. Everything in your marketing plan should point back to the mission statement in some way, making it an invaluable part of the document.
If you’ve gathered background on your company, this will help answer the questions you need to answer in your mission statement. Here’s what your mission statement should answer:
- What is your business?
- What do you do?
- Why do you do it?
For a pro, defining your target market might be tricky. Of course, you want business, but it’s important to focus your marketing on gaining the right business. If you know who you’re trying to reach, you can best target your marketing to what they are looking for and where they are looking. If you have trouble with this, think of your ideal customer and begin to create a story about him or her. Here are a few things to consider:
- Location: Where does this customer live? Is it local or even hyperlocal?
- Age: Does your customer or ideal customer tend to be in a specific age range or demographic?
- Gender: Is your customer typically male or female?
- Homeownership: Does your customer typically own or rent?
Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition is what makes you stand out and differentiates you from the competition. A USP is how the customer sees your services being better than other services out there. This is important to define so you and your employees know that is your standard. Think about what you’re known for or what makes you a one-of-a-kind pro in your area.
To help define this, check out what others are saying about you in reviews that really makes you stand out to others. Maybe it’s your exceptional customer service or the finishing touches you put on projects. In your marketing plan, explain your USP and why it’s important to fulfill your overall mission statement.
Goals, Objective, Strategy & Tactics
This stage of the marketing plan is when you begin building your map to how you will accomplish your goals. List out your goals for the year and the strategy you will take to get there. Your goals are your outcomes you want for your business; write three to four down. Next is the strategy. This how you’re going to achieve your goal. Once you’ve written a strategy for each goal, define the objective, or how you plan to measure your goal. And finally, determine your tactics or what you will use to reach your goal.
This method of planning forces you to thoroughly think through your goals. By doing this, you turn your ideas into strategic goals with a clear path to accomplishing them.
Once you’ve outlined your goals, it’s time to work on your marketing budget. Even if you’re only spending a few dollars on marketing this year, it’s important to have a record of where that money is going and if there is any ROI.
In your marketing budget, think about any items that include your branding and information. This could be website costs, fliers, business cards and social media ads.
Get to Work
Once you’ve completed your marketing plan, begin to follow it! Act on the plan you’ve created. This may be a one-time thing, or something you have to do consistently. Whatever it may be, continue to pursue your goals and measure the results. You’ll need these results so you can see your ROI and make adjustments to your marketing plan next year.
A marketing plan is a useful tool for any pro to have. It’s helpful to have the opportunity to sit down and think through your marketing goals. This way, you’re able to see how your efforts translate to success.
Looking for more ways to strategically plan for your marketing goals? Read How To Market Your Small Business For The Different Seasons for a few tips.
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