Every business, every solopreneur and consultant, has, quite likely, a business plan. That is all well and good but it is not the same as having a marketing plan. Your marketing plan is the very heartbeat of your business. It is what attracts customers and clients to your brand and it is what keeps them coming back to buy. Your marketing plan, like your business, is ever evolving. It is flexible enough to roll with the marketplace yet sturdy enough to deploy anywhere. So, what exactly do you need to do to create a great marketing plan?
- The first, and most important thing, you need to do is to find out exactly where your company is right now. The fancy term for it is called situational analysis and it allows you to define your market or niche and then play to your strengths. You already know who your customers are and where they are located. Now, the foundation of your marketing plan is describing your products and services and to demonstrate how they will solve problems and how your brand is better than your rivals in doing all of those things.
- Next, you must know where you are weak and you must know how to position yourself for success. You need to identify those blockades and threats to your growth and you must devise a plan to overcome them and gain market share. Sell more to your existing base? Expand out into new market segments?
- Define everything in concisely written paragraphs. Who is my customer? What am I actually selling? Why are these segments my prospects? Next you must list your goals. What do you want to see the business accomplish through the use of your marketing? May sound rather elementary, but few businesses actually think about where they want all of the effort to end up. Setting and writing down your goals won’t be enough. You must create a way to measure and evaluate them. Otherwise, you won’t really know if you are gaining any ground, making any real progress.
- Finally, you need to know which tools you will use in your mix to achieve your marketing goals. You will, of course, need a SEO plan as well as a plan on how to attack your social media platforms. What about your content? What about your video and podcast productions? Every part of your sales cycle must have a marketing initiative to go along with it. You can’t leave anything to chance. When you have a destination, and a plan to get there, you can’t help but succeed.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer