Plenty of people think that all marketers do is make stuff look good and sound awesome. And while that is definitely part of it, there’s so much more that goes into successful marketing. For smart marketers, it all starts with a marketing plan.
Before you begin anything, whether it’s putting together Ikea furniture or building a marketing campaign, you need a plan. A roadmap for success, if you will. Something concrete that outlines your goals and how you plan on achieving them.
Below, we outline the main items that should be included in your business’s marketing plan in order to get the most out of your marketing efforts.
Step 1: Start at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start)
Before you even decide where you want to go, you’ve got to establish where you’re coming from. Which is why we recommend starting any type of marketing strategy with a SWOT analysis.
A SWOT analysis identifies your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It gives you the chance to take a look at what areas of your business are thriving and which ones may be struggling. It also forces you to observe the current market trends and competition, helping you identify anything that could help your business grow or be an obstacle in your path toward success.
With a solid understanding of what’s happening within and outside of your business, you will be able to capitalize on your business’s strengths and the potential opportunities within your defined market.
Step 2: Let’s get personal, personal
For this step in the process, you need to ask yourself, “who is your customer?” Ideally, you want to know everything about this person, what influences their buying decisions and where they are most likely to convert in the sales funnel. The more you are able to narrow down the characteristics of your customer, the stronger your messaging will be.
One strategy that our team at TRIO implements is the creation of a customer persona. This is a comprehensive description of a typical customer for our client’s business. For our purposes, we included income range, personal goals and frustrations, preferred brands and go-to channels for communication (i.e. local newspaper, social media, etc.).
While it may seem like a good idea to send your message out to as many people as possible, remember that you are looking for quality over quantity. Your message may reach 1,000 people, but if they’re not people who would actually buy your product or service, then you are essentially throwing away your marketing dollars.
Step 3: Goooooooaaaaaaaaalllllllllssssssss
Did you know that people who write down their goals are 50 percent more likely to reach them?
To ensure that your marketing efforts are effective, it is important to establish SMART goals in your initial marketing plan. While you may have a general idea of what you want to accomplish in your business (i.e. get more customers, sell more products), it’s not enough.
Make sure you establish a budget that includes any expenses directly associated with implementing your marketing objectives. While we sometimes reach for the stars when it comes to our marketing ideas, the stars aren’t always within our budget.
Another important aspect to include when setting your goals is a realistic timeline. Set milestones so you can track your progress and determine who will be responsible for each aspect of your plan to keep everyone accountable.
You also want to make sure your goals are attainable. You know your company’s capabilities and capacity better than anyone else. Make sure you’re not setting goals that are unattainable for your company.
Step 4: Ready, aim, fire!
Once you’ve completed the previous three steps, you’re ready to start developing how you want to reach your goals and target audience with marketing tactics.
Marketing tactics include selecting the specific channels you want to communicate through (i.e. social media, billboards, radio, etc.) and what type of messaging and visuals you want to use. Essentially, this step is the marketing campaign that you will put out into the world for your prospective customers to see.
Now that you’ve established who you are, who you’re talking to, what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there, you’re ready to dive headfirst into execution.
Ready to bring your marketing plan to life? Or do you still need help developing the basics? Our team at TRIO can help! Get in touch with us today and get your business on the right track toward success.