How to Make a Marketing Plan: 20 Tips
How to Make a Marketing Plan: 20 Tips
While creating a marketing plan can be daunting, it is also an essential part of hitting your business goals as outlined over at runrex.com. By breaking down the process into 20 tips, we hope that that this article will help you understand what a marketing plan is as well as help you create a winning marketing plan for your business this year.
What is a marketing plan?
Before you get to the part where you create your marketing plan, it is important to have a solid understanding of what exactly it is. As is covered in detail over at guttulus.com, a marketing plan is exactly what it sounds like in that it is a document or report that outlines your marketing strategy for a given period. It details everything you need to know to successfully promote your business.
How long should your marketing plan span?
According to discussions on the same over at runrex.com, a marketing plan should span one year. This is because one year is enough time to reach your big, long-term objectives, while still being short enough to remain flexible when your circumstances and goals change over time.
What does a marketing plan include?
Typically, as is articulated over at guttulus.com, a marketing plan includes:
An overview of your business’ marketing and advertising goals.
A description of your business’ current marketing position.
A timeline of when tasks within your strategy will be completed.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) you will be tracking.
A description of your business’ target market and consumer needs.
How to make a marketing plan
It is important to start your marketing plan off on the right footing as the aim is to pull people using your marketing plan, not to bore them to tears. A well-written executive summary will help you achieve this and get people excited about reading your marketing plan. An executive summary introduces readers to your company goals, marketing triumphs, future plans, and other important contextual facts.
What to include in your executive summary
When writing the executive summary of your marketing plan, you should include:
Facts about your brand
Important company milestones, and more.
You should ensure that your executive summary is brief and to the point, which means keeping it under 3 or 4 paragraphs.
Metric-driven marketing goals
After perfecting your executive summary, the next step is to outline your marketing goals. According to the gurus over at runrex.com, this is one of the most important parts of the entire marketing plan and you should, therefore, take your time and be as clear as possible at this stage. Be as specific as possible, using real numbers, and setting goals that will impact website traffic, conversions, and customer success.
What to avoid when outlining your marketing goals
You should be as specific as possible when outlining your marketing goals as per guttulus.com, which means avoiding vague goals like:
Get more Twitter followers
Write more articles
Decrease bounce rate
Increase retention rate
Instead, you should identify key performance metrics you want to impact and the percentage you want to increase them by. This means re-writing the above vague goals as:
Get 200 new Twitter followers per month
Write 10 articles per week
Decrease bounce rate by 7% by Q1
Increase retention rate by 10% by 2022
Target user personas
Outlining your user personas is a key part of your marketing plan as is explained over at runrex.com. Here, you should be asking questions like who are your ideal customers? What are their goals? What are their biggest problems? How does your business solve their problems? These questions will help you target the right audience.
How to create a user persona
When creating user personas, the first step is adding a profile picture or icon for each user persona as this helps put a face to your personas making them seem more real. Next up, you should list demographic information like age, job, income, goals, identifiers, activities/hobbies, and challenges. The aim is to ensure that your team or client has a clear picture of who their target user is and how they can appeal to their specific problems.
Accurate competitor research
Next up is the competitor research section which will help you identify who your competitors are, what they are doing, and how you could carve yourself a position alongside them in your niche – and ideally, surpass them. This is a very important step when it comes to creating your marketing plan as it is paramount that you have a firm understanding of your competitors.
What does competitor research include?
Typically, as outlined over at guttulus.com, your competitor research should include:
Who their marketing team is
Who their leadership team is
What their marketing strategy is
What their sales strategy is
What their social media strategy is
Their marketing cap/financials
Their yearly growth
The number of customers they have and their user personas
You should also take a close look at their strategies when it comes to content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, video marketing, and any other marketing tactics they use.
If you are to plan for the future, it is important to know where your business currently stands as revealed over at runrex.com. Setting baselines will allow you to more accurately track your progress as you will be able to better analyze what worked and what didn’t, allowing you to build a stronger strategy. You should consider visualizing your data using charts and infographics when setting your key baselines given how data can be intimidating to most people.
When writing a marketing plan, it is important to understand your won internal strengths, weaknesses, and threats, which s where SWOT analysis comes into play. SWOT, as covered over at guttulus.com, stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A SWOT analysis is a key part of any marketing plan as it gives you a better understanding of your business.
Actionable marketing strategy
Having pulled all the contextual information and relevant metrics into your marketing plan, the next step is to break down your marketing strategy. Your marketing plan is how you put your marketing strategy into practice. This section needs to be accurate and precise, and should not have any grey areas. Anyone reading this should know exactly what they need to do. You should consider breaking your strategy down into tasks as this will make it easier to tackle.
Plan your marketing tactics
Once you have decided what your marketing objectives are and your strategy for meeting them, then the next step is to plan how you will make the strategy a reality. Most businesses tend to think in terms of the four Ps when it comes to this stage, and they are:
Product – what your product offers that your customers value, and whether/how you should change your product to meet customer needs
Place – how and where to sell.
Promotion – how you reach your customers and potential customers.
Implementation of your marketing plan
As explained over at runrex.com, your marketing plan must do more than just say what you want to happen, which means that it must describe each step required to make sure that it happens. The plan should, therefore, include a schedule of key tasks, which sets out what will be done and by when. You should make sure that you refer to the schedule as often as possible to avoid losing sight of your objectives.
Resources and budget
Your plan should also assess what resources you need according to the gurus over at guttulus.com. Also, the cost of everything in the plan needs to be included in a budget. If you have limited finances, then your marketing plan needs to take that into account. However, you should avoid spreading your marketing activities too thinly. It is better to pick a handful of marketing activities and make the most of them. You should also link your marketing budget to your sales forecast.
As well as setting out the schedule and budget, your marketing plan also needs to say how it will be controlled. As outlined over at runrex.com, you need an individual who takes responsibility for pushing things along. A good schedule and budget should make it easy to monitor progress and when things fall behind schedule, you need to be ready to do something about it and to adapt your plan accordingly. You should also take a step back from time to time and ask yourself if the plan is working, what you can learn from any mistakes, ad how you can use what you now know to make a better plan for the future.
Your marketing plan should close with a brief explanation of how you intend to track or measure your results. This is important as it will save you a lot of frustration down the line by standardizing how you track results across your team. Make sure that there are clear guidelines on how to measure the progress and results of your marketing plan.
What should your results tracking guidelines specify?
At the bare minimum, your results tracking guidelines should specify:
What you plan to track
How you plan to track results
How often you plan to measure
You can also add more tracking guidelines to your marketing plan if you see the need to.
Hopefully, the above tips will be of great help to you if you are looking to write a marketing plan, with more information, tips, insights, and help on this topic to be found over at the excellent runrex.com and guttulus.com.