Chances are you just read my last article, “Do NOT Start a Business Without a DETAILED Marketing Plan.” If you remember, I stated that a product is NOTHING without a marketing plan because no matter how great a product is, it’s irrelevant if no one knows it exist. Now that I’ve convinced you that you need one, I’m going to show you how to create a detailed marketing plan that will help you acquire all the exposure your business deserves.
“Ok, I know why I need one, but How do I create a Detailed Marketing Plan?”
Great question fellow entrepreneur! The first step in creating a marketing plan is creating a marketing strategy. A marketing strategy and marketing plan may sound like the same thing, but they’re completely different. Let me explain. A marketing strategy is the overall vision of a marketing plan. For example, if your marketing strategy is to promote your product using a marketing campaign centered on content creation and content marketing, then your marketing plan would describe the steps necessary to bring that strategy to life, like create a blog, create a list of topics to write about, hire writers, etc. Your marketing strategy should be brief; it should state your product, the benefits of your product, the niche in which you’re targeting, your customer’s buyer persona (the characteristics that describe your typical customer), how you plan to reach your customers, and your marketing budget, which should be a percentage of your expected total sales figure (you learned how to project sales and expenses in my previous article titled “How To Prepare a Financial Business Plan”).
“Ok, I have my Marketing Strategy, now what about the Marketing Plan?”
Your marketing strategy will consist of (hopefully) several campaigns for reaching your customers. Now, all you have to do is describe how you plan to execute those campaigns. For example, let’s say you run an event company and one of your marketing campaigns is to advertise your upcoming event on a local radio channel. Your marketing plan would describe the subject of the ad, the official script for the ad, the length of time the ad will run, the radio company that you will use to deliver the ad, the cost of the radio ad, the ad’s target audience, and why you want to use a radio ad as an avenue to reach your customers. You will need to follow this procedure for every marketing campaign that you’re using, in order to ensure that you’ve done the proper planning and research necessary to execute the marketing tactics associated with each campaign. For example, let’s say you purchase the radio ad for your upcoming event but you never researched the radio channel’s target audience. A few weeks go by and you realize that the ad isn’t bringing in any customers. Upon further investigation, you discover that the target audience of the radio channel doesn’t match your event’s target audience. Now, you have just wasted thousands of dollars on an ineffective radio ad because you failed to properly plan and research your marketing campaign. You’d be surprised at how many companies make the mistake of not doing enough planning and research before dropping thousands of dollars on an ad.
“Ok, I have my Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan, what now?”
Now that you have your marketing strategy and plan, it’s time to define your marketing goals. Your marketing goals should be realistic and attainable. An example would be acquiring 1000 followers on Twitter within 6 months, which is totally doable if you follow the tips in my article “How To Make a Lasting Impression on Twitter.” Not only is this a realistic and attainable goal, it also moves you closer to creating a strong social media following, which is a good thing to have in the business world. Marketing goals provide you with an objective to work towards. If you don’t have any goals, you’ll have a hard time accomplishing anything.
“Ok, I have my Marketing Strategy, Marketing Plan, and Marketing Goals, am I done yet?!”
Almost, but not quite. The last step is evaluation. You have to evaluate your marketing strategy and plan to see if it’s working. If you reached your marketing goals, evaluate your goals to see if they were too easy or whether they made a difference in your sales efforts. If you didn’t reach your goals, try to understand why and create more attainable goals in the future. Effective marketing campaigns should ultimately result in higher sales figures (more revenue), so if your sales figures aren’t trending upward (improving), evaluate your marketing strategy and plan, because you may need to revise them. It’s ok if you make a mistake in your marketing strategy and plan; it’s ok if a marketing campaign doesn’t work. There’s nothing wrong with a little trial and error.
-Mike, creator of EntrepreLoser