What is a marketing plan? A marketing plan is a report that outlines your marketing strategy for the coming year, quarter, or month.

Typically, a marketing plan includes:

  • An overview of your business’s marketing and advertising goals.
  • A description of your business’s current marketing position.
  • A timeline of when tasks within your strategy will be completed.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) you will be tracking.
  • A description of your business’s target market and customer needs.

For example, marketing plans provide a high-level overview of the business and competitors before diving deep into specific goals, key performance indicators, and tactics. To create an effective plan, you will need to answer important questions about your goals, your business vision, and your strengths and weaknesses. Following are a few questions to help you get clear on all the areas you need to cover the plan.

How Does A Marketing Plan Support A Company’s Goals?

The marketing plan identifies the marketing objectives and explains how marketing activities will help the organization achieve its broader goals and objectives. The marketing plan also focuses the company’s resources on reaching target customers and driving them to act. If you do not have them already, create specific business goals to get started. Have a time frame to help you create a more targeted marketing plan.

What Is A Good Mission Statement For A Company?

Your mission statement is the foundation of your marketing plan and should address what you are trying to do and why you are doing it. Be sure and add a mission statement to your marketing plan as it provides focus and is a good tool to refer back to whenever you start to question if you are still on the right track. If you haven’t finalized a mission statement, do so as soon as possible.

Who Is Your Target Market?

In your marketing plan, detail the traits and trends of your ideal buyer. You need to research who those people are and what makes them buy your products or services. A target audience profile is simply a specific group of customers most likely to respond positively to your promotions, products, and services. Often, your target audience analysis will be based on specific factors like location, age, income, and so on. Other info you should consider is what they value as important and what they need right now. Make a sketch of the ideal customer as this helps you identify specifics about those customers so you can personalize your marketing messaging to that group of people.

Who Is Your Competition?

Who are you up against? Study your competition. Take a look at what your competitors are doing right and what they are doing wrong. What is SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis? This is a method for identifying and analyzing internal strengths, weaknesses, external opportunities, and threats that shape current and future operations and help develop strategic goals. Take time to measure the SWOT of your top competitors and your own business, as well.

What Sets Your Business Apart From Your Competition?

Regardless of your business’s industry, it is important to have an identifiable slogan that allows you to market your offerings. A unique selling proposition can provide a basis from which to grow your business and increase brand awareness. What is a unique selling proposition? A unique selling proposition, also called a USP, is a slogan that businesses use to make themselves stand out among competitors within their industry. Typically, a unique selling proposition is used to describe one or more products or services a business offers that make it a better purchase than that of competing products. Further, businesses use their unique selling propositions to aid their marketing efforts and may even include their selling proposition in commercials, on the packaging, and in customer service procedures.

What To Include In The Pricing Section Of Your Marketing Plan

The product and pricing section of your marketing plan defines the products and services that you offer in the marketplace and your pricing strategy for each. Your pricing sends a strong message to your market – it needs to be consistent with your positioning, your brand, and the value you’re delivering. If you have not identified your pricing perspective yet, do that now with an eye toward how it can fit into your marketing.

Where Should You Put Your Marketing Budget To Reach Your Target Market?

Now it is time to identify the tasks you need to do to put your business marketing in motion. What will be your budget? Marketing strategy is not free. You will need a website created, website hosting, and an email provider. You need to create an annual marketing budget which track results to focus on the activities that provide the biggest return on investment. One of the activities you could launch would be a direct mail campaign. Digital marketing is essential for every business. It’s how a business gets the word out about who they are and what they do. By far, the most expensive way to go about marketing your business is by hiring an in-house professional to do it for you. You can save a lot more by working with a marketing company, or you could do it all yourself. But here’s the thing, even if you do it yourself, it still isn’t free. You’re only one person, and at the end of the day, you still have to know which marketing strategies to dedicate your time, energy, and dollars to. A successful online marketing strategy is one that ensures that, wherever your target audience is online, your business will be there, too. And, these days, your target audience is most likely on social media. Your small business marketing plan is useless if you do not track and measure results. The way you track and measure your result depends on your marketing tactics. In general, the more standardized your tracking system, the more relevant your results will be.

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Since 2006, Main Street Marketing has been creating Internet Presence Solutions for small businesses mainly in the Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky area. Main Street Marketing uses internet marketingsearch engine optimizationsocial medialead generation, and video to create a true Internet Presence for its clients. When integrated correctly, this core group of services provide results together that none of the services could provide on their own or in phases.
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