When starting a company it’s common knowledge that a business plan is essential, yet a marketing plan is often overlooked. It’s important to set your goals and get them on paper, then detail the tools and tactics you’ll use to achieve them. It should be seen as a plan of action – what you’ll sell, who’ll want to buy it, and how you’ll generate the leads.
For more information on how to being building a marketing plan, follow Entrepreneur’s 5-step guide:
Step 1: Situation Analysis
A snapshot of your company’s current situation, the situation analysis defines your products and services and then shows how the benefits you provide put your ahead of your competition.
No matter what industry you’re in or what your niche is, your target audience will be segmented and specialised. Positioning your product requires a deep understanding of your market and a clear view of what your competitors are offering, plus how your products are better.
Succintly review your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is often included as part of a business plan if you had to seek investment or partners, so this may have already been done.
Step 2: Target Audience
A simple, single paragraph will do. Describe their demographics – age, sex, location, lifestyle, earnings, and family composition. For more information on target audience personas, Buffer has a great guide.
Step 3: Marketing Goals
What do you want to achieve? What’s the deadline? Always make your objectives SMART.
Step 4: Marketing Tactics
The heart and soul of any marketing plan! How will you achieve your goals? At what part of the sales cycle are you targeting your audience? A good plan will reach out to prospects at every stage.
Cold prospects – advertisements, PR
Warm prospects – email, loyalty schemes, existing customer events and offers
Hot prospects – personal sales contact
Step 5: Budget
Marketing is absolutely essential to the success of your business and luckily, with so many different kinds of tactics available for reaching out to every conceivable audience niche, there’s a mix to fit even the tightest budget. Consider hiring an agency to create your content, analyse your website, or even do the marketing for you.
First impressions count so it’s important you get it right!