Every business including yours needs a solid marketing strategy to grow. Any business that overlooks marketing is simply writing a letter to the “death” of the business. That being said, a marketing strategy is not simply waking up and posting whatever comes to your mind on social media.
A marketing strategy involves a thought-out plan to bring your business into the consciousness of those who truly need what you have to offer so you can grow your business profitably. To come up with a marketing strategy, you need a marketing plan. Don’t know how to come up with one? Here are the step-by-step details of a marketing plan so you can develop your own customized marketing strategy.[Great Read: How to Reach Your Target Audience on a Shoestring Marketing Budget]
Developing an Effective Marketing Plan
Now, that you know the importance of having a marketing strategy, it’s time to develop an effective marketing plan. A marketing plan is a document that helps you understand your target audience, what they want, how to reach them and how to sell to them effectively. An effective marketing plan has six (6) elements. Each of these elements is discussed below.
The first element of an effective marketing plan is your Business Summary. Do not think this is inconsequential. If you find it difficult to write down what your business is all about, then it’s probably difficult for those you are trying to reach to understand what your business is all about.
A lot of entrepreneurs say, “I know what I’m trying to do but I just don’t know how to express it” Well, if you do not know how to express what you are trying to do/sell, then you need to sit down and ask yourself some tough questions.
Your business summary should include your brand’s name, location, mission and vision. You can also include your SWOT’s analysis which represents Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats.[Great Read: 5 Ways to Create Content Your Audience Will Engage With]
The second element of an effective marketing plan is your Business Initiatives. List the initiative you have taken as a brand to set yourself apart from other brands doing something similar to yours.
An example could be you offer live customer service compared to other brands that offer automated services, you use organic ingredients compared to other brands that use synthetic, you are a specialist and therefore highly skilled compared to other brands who are generalists and therefore average.
Your initiatives are unique to your brand so write down whatever step(s) you’ve taken to be different. How is your brand different from others?[Great Read: How to Recharge Yourself and Come Up With Fresh Ideas to Grow Your Business]
The third element of an effective marketing plan is market research. Do not let the word market research scare you. It is just a term used to describe the steps you’ve taken to “hear” from your prospects and customers alike. This could be as simple as placing a phone call, sending an email, texting or even joining conversations involving your target audience online.
People love when their opinions are valued and would be glad to do business with you if they see that you incorporate all they want in how you run your business. Your market research should also include an analysis of your top competitors – their strengths and weakness. Write everything down before moving to the next element.
The fourth element of an effective marketing plan is Market Strategy. This is where a lot of entrepreneurs struggle but if you truly want to build a profitable brand, it’s either you learn how to strategize or pay someone to help you strategize. In this section, you describe how your brand will approach the market using your 7 P’s as a guide.
These Ps are the product, price, place, promotion, people, process, and physical evidence. Describe each “P” and use descriptive words as much as you can. If you take your time to complete this exercise you’ll not only be proud of yourself but you’ll also have better clarity of where you are and where you are taking your business to. Go ahead and write then move to the next element.[Great Read: 7 Steps to Doing Business Beyond the Border]
The fifth element of an effective marketing plan is Budget. Unless you are already turning customers back and you truly do not want to expand your business, you need a marketing budget. This is money set aside at the beginning of every year that goes toward the marketing of your business.
Examples of what you can use the budget for, include branded materials, software, paid promotions, etc.
You know your business the best, so you should come up with a marketing budget that will help you reach your goals. Write these down and move to the next element
The sixth element of an effective marketing plan is Marketing Channels. What are the marketing channels? These are where you’ll publish the content that educates your buyers, generates leads, and spreads awareness of your brand.
The channel you choose to market your brand will determine how successful you are in your marketing campaigns. You must choose your marketing channels carefully, so you can get the best results overall. You should also justify the choice of each channel and project the results you think you’ll get from each channel.
Overall, your marketing strategy needs to be continually tweaked. It is not a document that you develop once and forget about it. It is a living document that requires constant tweaking.
Once you complete these marketing elements, all that is left is implementation. If you fail to implement your strategy, it’s just another piece of paper that will gather dust.
If you developed a marketing plan and strategy using these tips, please leave a comment below.
If you’d like Onpoint Success to develop a customized marketing strategy that you can easily implement at your own pace, contact us today!
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