There are many ways to approach creating a marketing plan, but it can all seem very overwhelming. So, I have done my homework and found the most important parts (in 5 easy steps) of creating a strong marketing strategy, while saving you from wasting time or spending extra money!
Remember that if you are financing your business through a bank loan, you may be asked to you may be asked to demonstrate a marketing plan and how you intend to develop your service or product. If you are involving investors in the creation of your business, you might also be asked for a focused plan. So, unless you’re the only person involved financially in this business venture, you are definitely going to have to detail where all budgets will be allocated!
1. Research Shopping Habits
First, it is imperative to research on you customer shopping habits. According to the specific product or service you’re offering, do you customers tend to shop via online or in person? Do you need to create a strong sales team or a powerful sales website? In today’s marketing, a functional website gives you credibility to your consumers, and also allows them to have a stable place of information and contact for further references.
Knowing this information will save you wasted time and money. You must find out where your target customers go for products or services like yours, and dig your advertising costs right in there.
2. Research Media Consumption
Second, research the media consumption habits of your customers. In this step, you will take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of every marketing vehicle. TV and radio are of the most expensive vehicles, while online advertisement placement and tangible products, like hand-out brochures, are most economical.
It’s important to weigh the costs of each marketing vehicle, and compose a plan that works for your budget! You don’t want to spend more than you can, because it will ultimately leave you high-and-dry.
3. Choose A Media Mix
Third, determine the media mix and marketing strategy. For example, if you chose to utilize radio advertising for your product or service, you may want to direct your customers to your Facebook or Twitter page. It has be proven that social media is a great vehicle to drive traffic to your website, and you should definitely take advantage of what it has to offer!
Note that social media is not the only form of marketing that should be put into place. Without some form of traditional media in your marketing plan, you will more than likely be missing a large percentage of possible customers.
4. Create Your Marketing Budget
Fourth, once you determine this information, allocate a percentage of your marketing budget for your target market. You do this by creating a spreadsheet of how much you are investing, the amount of time you will be doing so, and where you’d like to be when the campaign is over.
It is important to create a time-line of the marketing plan, so you don’t get lost in your efforts while trying to handle everything else that goes on with running a business.
5. Define Your Goals
Finally, define measurable goals to determine your marketing strategies progress and profits. This means, figure out how much you’ve spent putting into the marketing strategy, how many customers found you through your efforts, and then actually tally up any measurable profits that ensued from the actual marketing.
You can create this on a daily basis, by simply asking your customers “How did you hear about us?” or by using tracking platforms, like Google Analytics, to track exactly how you are receiving web traffic.
Ultimately, there is no perfect science to marketing your business. Although you may put days or even weeks of research into your plan, you might yield results that are less than your expectations. So it is important to note that when you do complete a full marketing strategy, and have assessed it’s goods, it’s bads, and it’s possibilities for future ventures, you then start all over and restructure your plan to make it work even better than the last.
Marketing is a process of trial and error, but every time you blast your business out there, you are achieving more reach and customer attraction. It’s just a matter of finding the best plan that works for you!