To develop a new business or grow an established business, you need to have a well-thought-out marketing plan. Marketing plans don’t have to be complicated or lengthy, they just need to provide a roadmap that will help direct your efforts and keep you focused on your overall objectives.
Marketing plans must include a list of actions. These actions should help you answer three key questions – who is your target customer, how are you going to reach them, and, finally, how do you retain them for repeat business?
There are five key actions that all marketing plans should include and each one takes you a step closer to achieving your goals.
Your Business Vision
- The first item on your action list should be to identify a vision for your business to clearly distinguish what you want your business to be.
Define Your Mission
- When you define your mission, make sure it answers what you do, how you do it, and for who.
What Do You Want to Accomplish?
- Once you have your vision and mission nailed down, you can begin to outline what you want to accomplish. When you establish your goals, be specific about what you want to achieve.
Describe Your Ideal Client
- To describe your ideal client, think about their age, gender, and interests. For example, what are their needs as it relates to your product or services?
What Makes You Different?
- When you think about what makes you unique, ask yourself “what is your Unique Selling Point [USP]? Describe what sets you apart from everyone else in the marketplace. Remember the Energizer Bunny? It keeps going and going and going. That was Energizer’s USP.
Once you have defined the first five actions, you will then need to lay out a plan for how your business will achieve its goals. This plan should include the marketing strategy and tactics to which you will deploy your strategy.
For example, are you doing an online campaign only? If so, what digital channels should you use? What about social media platforms? Would Facebook be a good fit for your campaign?
Make sure to create an action plan of what you need to do and when so that you can ensure you are staying on task and hitting all dates for each tactic. Don’t forget to track your progress! This way, you can gauge what is working, what isn’t, and what you can make better.
All businesses need marketing plans, aka strategies, in place before anything. Having a defined plan that is well thought out, which also defines the five key actions above, will help position all the moving pieces so you can market your business successfully.
Forbes: Marketing Plan Template – What to include exactly
Masterful Marketing: 10 Reasons to create a simple small business marketing plan