Marketing your business can be a feat, especially if you're just starting out. From branding, to research, to resources, and more, marketing contains a lot of logistics! Keeping organized is essential to success. Going in blind is a recipe for disaster. So make sure you're prepared to do it right the first time with a solid marketing plan!
You should start investing time into your marketing plan from the start of your business. It can be used for things as simple as acquiring a business loan, so starting your business with one already in hand can be a game changer. Marketing is best done with strategy in mind; your marketing plan is the blueprint of how you will implement your strategy. It typically includes things like advertising or marketing goals, your current market positioning, key performance indicators, and more.
Marketing plans can help keep your goals clear, provide direction and consistency in your marketing strategy, help you stick to your marketing budget, and help you think more proactively. In your daily routine, it can be difficult to put your attention on the big picture. Writing your marketing plan helps you think about where you want to be and how you want to get there. A good marketing plan enables you to analyze your market so you have a good idea of what your target customers want, what your market segments are, your strengths and weaknesses, and any opportunities or threats that may occur. It's good to be able to see the big picture when starting your business or changing your marketing strategies because it helps you align your marketing activity with things that make your business unique compared to your competitors.
Developing your marketing plan should start with some basic research of your market and your standing in it, what your target audience is, what your current marketing strategies are, and what goals you would like to achieve with your new marketing plan. These basic understandings will help with not only your marketing plan but many other aspects of your business as well.
After you've done your research, start with an executive summary. This snippet of information summarizes your marketing goals and helps tie each of them together. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Your executive summary should include basic information about your business as well, such as business name, location, and contact information. Following that should be information about the company's history as well as its team members, their responsibilities, and how they will achieve the marketing goals included in the summary. The rest of your summary will be information about your market and market trends, your products and services, a description of your customer base, financials, and any other information relevant to executing your plan. We recommend writing this section last because once you have all of the information for your marketing plan, you can decide what's important to include in the summary. You want anyone who reads the summary to have a complete understanding of your marketing plan and goals.
A major aspect of a marketing plan that people often overlook are things like social media, email marketing, and mobile marketing. Once you know what your marketing should look like, getting it out to your audience is the next step. You can definitely do this through traditional advertising methods such as print or broadcast media, but digital marketing is rising in the ranks as the most effective way to reach customers. We know that social media is essential to marketing your business. Email is another great way to get information out and learn more about your customers. Mobile marketing is a strategy that is being utilized more often in companies with the popularity of smartphones and similar devices. Mobile marketing is the future, and including this in your marketing plan in the very beginning will be a huge time saver later down the line.
Developing your marketing plan comes down to a lot of research. But understanding your market and knowing your goals makes implementing marketing strategies so much easier! This will be the guideline for not only yourself but anyone you bring into your company later down the line. You can also update your marketing plan as needed to fit any future goals, so don't feel pressured to have it perfect right away—it should change frequently. But we know you'll do just fine!