How often do you review your marketing strategy?
Annually, quarterly, monthly, NEVER!
Well, you should, because after staff, it’s often a business’s largest outgoing, and your annual turnover could depend upon its success!
And don’t you want to ensure that you’re making the highest ROI possible on every marketing dollar you spend?
If your strategy doesn’t have a plan, it can often result in high investments that produce low results.
But by implementing one, you’re giving you and your team a clear course to steer, one that you can regularly assess and adjust to ensure you’re always on track.
Simply put, marketing plans create consistent growth by making your marketing strategy business goals a reality.
And we’ve put together a list of what to include, so you can build a business marketing plan that delivers.
Conduct a Situation Analysis
Your first step in devising your marketing plan is assessing your present situation, and you do that by conducting a SWOT analysis.
It will help inform you what your threats, weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities are.
At this point, you should also review your current market and how your business compares to your competitors. You find that information by running a competitor analysis. It enables you to identify your major competitors and research their products to see if, or how, they’re better than yours.
But you can also discover what your competitor’s marketing strategies are missing, find possible opportunities, and use them as a competitive edge to attract new customers.
And your customers are your next step, let’s find out why.
Profile Your Target Audience
You can only focus your marketing efforts effectively if you first know exactly who your target audience is.
And you find that out by creating a buyer persona.
A buyer persona provides you with invaluable information about your audience and enables you to group them based on specific demographics, psychographics, and characteristics. And when you do that, you can better focus your marketing strategies.
Buyer persona demographic, psychographic, and characteristic information include:
- Demographics: Age – Gender – Income – Occupation
- Lifestyle: Personality – Personal values – Personal class
- Buying behavior: Readiness to buy – Usage rates – Loyalty
- Pain points and goals: What drives your target audience, what are their problems, how can you fix them?
And a powerful strategy for creating a successful buyer persona is by conducting market research; I’ll explain.
Conduct Market Research
You can’t implement a marketing plan without a marketing strategy to base it on, and a crucial part of developing one of those is market research.
- The information you collect provides your buyer’s persona by telling you how they think, their location, demographics, and buying patterns.
- You can also gather relevant market information, like social trends, annual growth, audience numbers, and discover what content engages your audience and which channels you should use for promoting it.
- By researching and gathering market and customer-related information, you can better align your strategy around your target audience.
Once you’ve researched and gathered relevant market and customer information, it’s time to stand out from the crowd and convince them that it’s your brand they need, and you that by creating your USP.
Create Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the why in the question (Why should I buy from this brand)? That consumers ask themselves before purchasing a product.
It’s what convinces them to press the buy button, to become loyal customers, and to share and like your marketing content and products across social media.
Your USP might be how you provide a particular service, a unique product you offer, or exceptional after-sales care.
Create your USP by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do I love most about my company, service, or products?
- What do I offer that’s different from my competition?
- Do I have any special skills or knowledge to offer?
- How do I benefit my customers?
- Why should my customers choose me and not my competition?
Once you have those answers, you can start writing your USPs first draft; try using the following tactics:
- It’s not an ego trip; it’s about your customer; ensure they can see that by forming your USP around them, their problems, and their needs.
- Don’t bore them; keep it short, or they’ll leave
- Get to the point, be precise; otherwise, they’ll leave confused.
Select Your Goals and Set Your Budget
You can’t create a marketing plan that delivers on your goals if you don’t first know what those goals are.
And once you’ve researched your audience and market, you’re in a position to set your marketing goals. That, in turn, helps you define your marketing activities so they can achieve your desired results. The best way of doing it is by using Smart Goals: Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant – Time-based.
Next, you should allocate a budget to each goal; some marketing activities you might include are:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- Branding design
- Website development + Hosting
- Social media campaigns + Influencers
- Staff / Outsourcing freelancers
- Offline advertising / Promotional materials
Develop Your Business Brand
9 out of 10 new businesses fail by year two, and I bet you my bottom dollar that the one that succeeds has a brand.
Does your business have a brand? What about a logo design?
If not, why not?
You see, if your business sells, markets, or even communicates online, you have to have a brand; otherwise, you’ll go unnoticed by consumers and the search engines!
Building a brand is no longer optional. It’s now essential for your business’s success. With so many companies today offering similar services and products, your brand identity will help you stand out from the competition and create recognition, trust with your audience, and sales.
And search engines (Google) promote businesses with brands above those without, not fair, but true.
You can now develop a well-articulated, memorable brand that emotionally connects and engages with your target audience, turning them into loyal customers, on a relatively small budget. Your goal is to create consistency throughout your marketing by using visuals and content that represents your brand, so your consumers can relate to it.
Monitor, Analyze, and Review Your Results
You must regularly monitor, analyze, and review all your marketing strategies to determine whether they’re achieving the desired results.
First, you should review your plan every quarter to ensure that the marketing activities you chose to implement are supporting your overall marketing strategy.
Once you have established your business, you can review your plan and make adjustments to reflect your new status or support a new service or product you’re offering.
Monitoring Activities to Consider:
- Conversion metrics – click-through rates – conversion funnel rates
- Sales figures
- Customer activity during advertising campaigns
- SEO tools to track your website’s performance
- Revenue metrics – cost per acquisition, the value per visit – ROI
You can use tracking tools to help monitor every strategy you’re operating within your marketing plan. Like Google Analytics, many analytic tools are either free to use or have affordable entry-level subscriptions sufficient for social media and website campaign monitoring.