Marketing is a part of business that has always fascinated me due to it’s ability to being able to turn a business selling a mediocre product or offering a standard service, into a million dollar success.
When a business is struggling to find new clients, sell to existing customers and survive, concentrating on marketing is essential. A well thought out marketing plan will help you move your business in the right direction towards reaching your goals.
Furthermore you can pre-think the project which will help you see the bigger picture and set out your tactics and strategy before implementing your plan.
I personally ‘hate’ planning, as I’m a hands on kind of guy; however, it really is important to plan your marketing campaigns properly. Otherwise there is a good chance you will end up paying more for marketing in the long run with less results.
Your marketing is all connected and the more you understand how everything will work the better chance you have of success.
Since planning can totally delay action it’s important to find a way to plan without being intimidated. A 100 page marketing plan template can impeded even the most meticulous academics.
For this reason I have included two very easy to use plans, one is a simple one page template and the other is a 10 step sequence. I have also included the downloadable templates for you to use.
The Easy One Page Marketing Plan
As I’ve already mentioned I sometimes abhor planning. It can be easier to start off small and focus on important points before delving into masses of detail regarding every nuance of your business’ marketing.
For this reason I have provided an Easy One Page Marketing Plan to get you recording your golden marketing ideas. This plan contains 10 important questions to help you formulate your overall plan. This plan comprises the following questions to answer:
My target market
What makes my business stand out from competitors
What’s the most important buying factor for my target audience
Your product/service offer
This year’s goals
Download the Easy One Page Marketing Plan here: Download
10 Steps to Create your Marketing Plan
Step 1 – define your market
It’s crucial to fully understand who’s problems you are solving with your product/service. The more details you can provide to describe your target market the more you can understand where and how to target these individuals or businesses as well as create a marketing message that will resonate directly with these people.
At the end of the day you must have a desirable offering people are prepared to pay for! Here’s some questions to help you define your customer avatar:
- What is their gender?
- Where are they based geographically?
- What age group are they in?
- What is their income?
- How much money will they pay you for your offering?
Here’s some questions to help you consider the bigger picture:
- Are there areas of the market that need a better solution?
- Is there real commercial value for you in this market?
- Is the market already saturated with businesses solving this need?
- Are there any weaknesses that other businesses are exhibiting that you can capatalise on?
The more you can define your market niche the better chance of success you will have. As the saying goes “If you appeal to everybody, you appeal to nobody”.
The more you can niche your business the better chance you will have of being able to specifically target your market, meaning you will be able to find clients easier and convert them at a higher rate.
Step 2 – Understanding the Problem
What is the main problem that your target market has that you are going to solve with your business offering? Be very clear on this problem; the clearer you get, the easier it will be to craft an effective marketing message to address their pain points.
Is your offering solving hair loss, a lack of personal confidence, business growth problems, erectile dysfunction, halitosis etc. Really get into the minds of your target audience and try to comprehend the affect this problem has on that individual or business.
Step 3 – Research competition
Researching your competition will give you the power to develop your USP. Find out their USPs; their prices; their advertising etc. The more you know about your competition the more you can differentiate yourself from them.
It must be said that sometimes focusing too much on competition can be a bad thing, as you can lose focus on your own uniqueness. Be sure to turn this on its head by quickly learning from what everybody else is doing in order to ensure you are positioned correctly!
Step 3 – What is your USP (unique selling proposition)
To set you apart from your competition and persuade prospects to buy from you, it’s vitally important to have a USP. So what exactly are you offering that your competition is not? What makes you the number one company in your sector and why?
Step 4 – Pricing
Now that you have an idea of competitors prices and the going cost for your offering, you can now decide on whereabouts you are going to position yourself with your pricing. Don’t make the mistake of going for the lowest price possible to undercut your competitors.
Doing this is usually the quickest way to ruin. Instead consider how you can give your product/service a premium price tag. Sometimes more expensive prices are more desirable to your market!
Step 4 – Create your marketing message
Your marketing message will no doubt have much to put across to your target audience to explain how amazing your company really is.
However, it’s also important to be able to sum your marketing message up to deliver it quickly and easily in a few sentences. Generally a marketing message would include the following:
- Exposing the problem you are solving
- A to the point description of why your business is the best company to solve this problem
- A list of benefits that your customers will receive by buying from you and using your product/service
- The top features of your offering (more focus on the benefits)
- Proof of your offering satisfying customers i.e. testimonials, case studies
- And any extras to entice customers to buy from you i.e. money back guarantee or free trail
Step 5 – Selecting marketing mediums
Decide on the vehicles you will use to get your well crafted message out to your target market. Your main focus here is to find the most effective marketing medium possible.
In other words what’s going to put your message out to the most people in your niche, whilst being at the lowest cost. As you will know there are many marketing mediums to utilize:
- Google Adwords
- Facebook ads
- Search engine optimization
- Content marketing
- Social media
- Direct mail
What ever you decide to run with, don’t pour tons of money into advertising until you have ran some tests (if possible). Today there are many ways to invest small amounts to test your ROI (return on investment) before heavily investing your money.
Step 7 – Understanding the selling process
Be clear of exactly how a sale will look. There will be steps a customer takes when purchasing from you, so be sure to know these steps inside and out to help you make the process as easy as possible for customer satisfaction as well as for efficiency purposes.
Step 8 – Understand your follow up process
After a sale occurs what will be your follow up procedure. Will you send them an email every month to promote similar products to what they initially bought from you or will you call them twice annually for feedback?
To get the most out of each customer you serve ensure you have a system in place to get these desired results.
Step 8 – Goal setting
Goal setting is a must when planning your marketing campaign. Be as clear about your goals as possible, jot down everything about each one and remember to keep them realistic.
You should set financial goals as well as non financial goals for your campaign. So for example a financial goal might look like: “Make £40,000 profit in the first year”, whilst a non financial goal might look like: “Achieve 10,000 unique visitors to our website per month by August”.
Step 9 -Your budget
Now you have a good idea of how you want to get your message out to the world, you can begin to focus on determining a realistic budget for you to achieve your marketing goals. It can be difficult to do this as it will involve much research and calculations, but have your best shot at it to get your best estimate.
Step 10 – Action plan
Create a step by step action plan outlining everything you will need to do in order to role out your campaign. This will include:
- Every marketing task i.e. create and post newspaper ads
- Who will be responsible for each task. This could be a member of staff or an external resource like a graphic designer etc.
- When a task will be carried out. This will show the exact date an action will be taken and how long it will run for
Make your action plan as detailed as possible, although do make it easy to understand for ease of use. Download your free marketing action plan here Download
Download your full Word template of this 10 Step Marketing Plan here Download
Please don’t be put off by the planning process. Yes, taking ACTION is what connects the imaginary to the tangible, but taking the time to plan can help strengthen your actions.