Every business needs a plan in order to succeed. While building a strong brand can help bring in the sales, it may not be enough. So it’s surprising that many budding business owners, or those planning to start one, do not bother to exert the effort and put in the time needed to draft a thorough marketing plan.
Don’t make the same mistakes that have cost the businesses, and thousands of dollars, of businesses owners before you. Here’s how to make a solid marketing plan that can lead your business to success.
Step 1. Write Down Your Business Goals
First things first, you’ll need to define what your goals are as a business. You can’t figure out how to get to the destination if you don’t know what that destination is. Determine what your goals are for your business for the next 1-3 years. This could be external goals, internal goals, or a combination of the two.
When writing down your goals, remember to keep them SMART. That is, they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound so t
hat you can establish accountability.
Some goals you can consider are:
- Increase product revenue by 50 percent in the next 12 months.
- Decrease overhead costs by 10 percent in the next 6 months.
- Open three brick-and-mortar stores within the next 24 months.
Step 2. Develop a SWOT and Establish a Budget
The main goal of a marketing plan is to keep bringing in new high-quality leads that will hopefully turn into new customers to keep your business growing. Your target audience and customers should be happy and look forward to hearing from you, and not irritated every time you post or send them an email.
Remember that every collateral you make, and release involves time, effort, and money as well, so you want to hit your mark as often as possible. You can accomplish this by creating a marketing plan that is aligned with your business goals and stems from:
- A SWOT of your current marketing approach – list down the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you are currently facing, who your target market is, your target audience, which marketing channels you are using, and so on.
- Determine how much you want to spend for marketing. We recommend setting aside 6-10% of your gross revenue for your marketing. You can adjust this up to 15% for the first few months of your business as you build brand awareness and establish trust with your customers and slower taper it down.
Step 3. Define Your Target Personas
A target persona, sometimes called a buyer persona, is your ideal customer. Since your business can’t logically target all of your customers, you’ll need to narrow it down to a select number of ideal ones. You can have multiple target personas for your business, and these target personas are who you will be writing or marketing for.
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on a certain set of qualities including demographic data, online behavior, and who you believe your buyers to be. Your buyer personas should be complete personas in that sense that they have names, backgrounds, and histories. For example, buyer persona A is named Karen, a middle-aged white woman living in the suburbs. Karen is a stay-at-home mom of three children, has a college diploma, and shops for your products online. Your second persona could be Jeff, an accountant who lives on his own. He’s never been married, is in his mid-thirties, and has a master’s degree. Jeff has heard about your products from his other friends at the office and is interested in checking it out.
Once you have your full list of buyer personas, don’t forget to include where they hear about your products, how likely they are to buy it, and who influences their buying decisions.
If you want to read more about target personas, Hubspot has a complete guide about there here.
Step 4. Flesh Out Your Marketing Goals
Now that you’ve got your business strategy, SWOT, and target personas, you can begin writing down your marketing goals. This is integral so your entire marketing team knows what you are all working towards, and you can narrow down your marketing strategy.
Documenting your marketing goals also gives you a sense of accountability. Just like your business goals, they should be externally focused, internally focused, or a mixture of the two.
Write down your goals in the SMART format.
Your marketing goals can include:
- Increase the qualified leads passed on to the sales team by 20% in the next six months.
- Expand our reach on Facebook to 30,000 by Q2 2021.
Step 5. Create Your Campaigns and Build Your Marketing Activity Plan
With your marketing goals and budget set, you’re ready to get down and dirty developing your marketing activity plans. The most effective way we’ve found to turn your marketing strategy into an execution plan is by making campaigns, with each campaign containing activities revolving around a common theme or goal.
A campaign gives you the general overview of what you need to produce: it can be a video, a major product launch, a billboard ad, social media ads, white paper, etc.
Here is some sample strategies we’ve done with home care marketing in mind.
Campaign 1 – Lead generation and conversion
- Description – Using content marketing and influencer marketing, attract quality leads that will convert into sales
- KPI 1 – Increase leads by 20% to 1,000 per month
- KPI 2 – Increase lead opportunity conversion from 4% to 5%
Campaign 2 – Brand awareness
- Description – Develop a strong online presence using our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram)
- KPI 1 – Increase online inquiries made through social media by 30% to 75 per month
- KPI 2 – Increase organic reach online by 100% to 25,000 by Q3 2021
To sum it up
No business can survive with a solid strategy. While this may take a great amount of time and effort to create, this will eventually help lead to your business’ success. Remember that an effective marketing plan should have a clear direction that targets specific personas through different campaigns that is time-bound, and budget driven. As long as you follow these, you’re good to go!