Marketing plans aren’t cool, but having a marketing plan for your business is critical to your success. If you don’t have a plan to follow, how can you possibly expect to accomplish your goals? Most people overcomplicate marketing plans, but they can be simple yet effective. I’m going to walk you through a simple, six-step process to create your next marketing plan.
Creating a plan for longer than 90 days is a waste of time right now. As we deal with the fallout from the coronavirus, the market is changing rapidly, and creating more extended plans doesn’t make sense. At the end of the 90 days, you’ll review your progress, then wash, rinse, and repeat. Let’s get into it.
Step 1: Target Market
Your target market provides direction and focus. When you know whom you are trying to reach, your marketing becomes much easier. At the very least, you should have a summary describing each type of ideal client you want to attract.
For example, “The Luxury Buyer.” These clients are millennials living in San Francisco. They want the best in life when it comes to the items they purchase. They are working in the tech space and have the disposable income to spend $100–200K on a high-end home theater to enjoy their downtime.”
If you want to dig deeper, you can create more in-depth buyer personas. Buyer personas will provide you with a more detailed view of your ideal clients, which can give you a better understanding of the clients you want to reach.
Also by Tim Fitzpatrick: How to Market In a Down Economy
Step 2: Your Marketing Goal
Having too many goals can be confusing. I’d recommend you have one goal that is measurable and specific for your 90-day marketing plan. For example, your goal might be to “close $500K in new projects in the next 90 days.”
This type of goal is an outcome-based goal. With outcome-based goals, there are often things beyond your control that will impact whether you hit the goal or not. For this reason, I don’t like to get too caught up in the goal itself. The goal is there as a measuring stick, but I want to spend more time focusing on the actions I can take to help reach the goal. I can control the actions I take. I can’t always control the outcome.
Step 3: Marketing Budget and Resources
What you decide to focus on for your marketing plan is heavily dependent on how much budget you have to invest in your marketing, as well as the staffing resources or time you have to support the plan.
Step 4: Current Marketing Plan
There are eight fundamental marketing channels I recommend you have in your plan:
- Strategy: Marketing strategy includes your target market from step 1 and your messaging. Your messaging is what you say to attract and engage customers. Skipping this step will negatively impact all the other channels. Don’t skip this one.
- Website: Your website must build trust and engage visitors before you can sell.
- Content: Content is how you attract ideal clients and tell your story in compelling ways.
- SEO: Search engines are the number-one way consumers find small businesses. Your business needs to show up in search results.
- Social Media: Creating awareness and showing the human side of your business is an essential social tactic.
- Email Marketing: Once you’ve earned the trust of your ideal clients, email allows you to serve and engage them more fully.
- Paid Online Advertising: Capturing demand from people ready to buy is a must in today’s digital landscape.
- Offline Marketing: The traditional ways of marketing still work and are a critical component of a comprehensive plan.
I want you to document what you are doing or have put in place for each of these channels. If you aren’t using a channel, make a note of that. All we want to do at this step is to gain a strong understanding of where we currently are.
Also by Tim Fitzpatrick: Email Marketing Secrets to Grow Your Business
Step 5: Next 90 Days Marketing Plan
Now it’s time to put together your focus for the next 90 days. What are you going to focus on in the eight channels above for the next 90 days? You may only focus on a single channel depending on the budget and resources you have. In this step, we are only going to highlight the new actions/tasks we are going to take. Here’s an example of a plan focusing on two channels.
- Email Marketing: We will choose and set up email marketing software in the next 30 days. Once set up, we will begin sending a monthly newsletter to our existing clients.
- Social Media: We will start using Facebook Live weekly to engage and build our audience.
Step 6: Metrics to Track
The metrics will help you determine whether the actions you are taking in your plan are effective. Choose only the most critical metrics. You don’t want to overcomplicate this. In the examples from step 5, my metrics might be:
- Email Marketing: How many people open each email newsletter and click on any links.
- Social Media: How many people are my Facebook Lives reaching and engaging?
There you have it. What are you waiting for? Put your marketing plan together, focus on it for the next 90 days, and see what happens. Don’t expect everything to be roses. Some elements of your plan will work better than others, but that’s how you will learn and continually improve. Your plan will keep you focused so you don’t get distracted by all the “shiny objects” out there that deter you from what you truly want to accomplish.
If you need help with your plan, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the president of Rialto Marketing. He spent 10+ years in the consumer electronics industry as a partner in a distribution company before getting into marketing consulting & digital marketing. He helps eliminate the confusion of marketing for system integrators so their business’ can grow.
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