How to Build A Marketing Plan That Actually Works In Your Favor
An effective marketing strategy is how a company aims to reach its target audience. A marketing strategy isn’t meant to be a how-to guide that guarantees success every time. For the best-case scenario, you’ll need a road map, but it’s equally important to be realistic about your expectations and have contingency plans in place just in case something goes wrong. Consumer preferences shift, conditions change, and the results of the first experiments aren’t always what you expected them to be.
An annual marketing plan aids you in putting your marketing efforts on track to achieve your company’s business objectives. Essentially, it’s a high-level strategy that directs your team’s efforts in the pursuit of its objectives and expansion.
A lack of a strategy makes budgeting for the various projects, hiring, and outsourcing you will face over the year difficult and even impossible.
Those who plan their projects ahead of time are 356 percent more likely to report success, according to a recent study. In other words, what are the components of a realistic e-commerce marketing strategy? The answers can be found here.
A company’s digital presence, industry, and whether it sells to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B) all factor into the marketing strategy.
Nevertheless, the following are the components of every successful marketing strategy:
An Overview of the Company’s Activities
It’s critical to get your marketing strategy off to a good start.
A well-written executive summary is one of the best ways to get people excited about reading your marketing plan.
An executive summary explains your company’s goals, marketing successes, objectives, and relevant information to your audience.
Essentially, it serves as a foundation for the rest of your marketing strategy.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Write down your executive summary and reference it weekly (if not daily). You MUST stay organized and not get sloppy. Without a foundation (your executive summary), you run a very serious risk of getting sloppy. When things get sloppy, you lose control.
Some other things to include are:
- A set of attainable marketing objectives
- Analytical data at a high level
- Significant anniversaries for the company (to keep track of your goals + growth)
- Your brand’s facts (to quickly reference them in sales conversations)
- Hiring plan
- Future objectives and plans
- Customer/client avatar
Consider limiting the length of your executive summary. Because you’re not writing a novel, keep your paragraphs to three or four sentences each. Two sections are all that are needed for the executive summary.
For example, a new competitor is set to be overtaken by the company’s expansion, as explained in the executive summary. But there is no mention of any measures or data. A section devoted to that will follow in the marketing plan.
For an executive summary to be effective, it must have sufficient information to capture the reader’s interest, but not so much as to overwhelm them. That is the purpose of the remainder of your marketing strategy!
Additionally, your executive summary establishes the tone for your marketing strategy.
Your brand’s tone of voice should be considered.
Is it possible to be both friendly and amusing?
How trustworthy and competent are you?
Captivating and revolutionary?
Initiatives in the Business Sector
This marketing plan section helps you divide your department’s goals into distinct categories. A business plan should not include big-picture company initiatives, such as a new product or service rollouts. Marketing projects should be included in this section of your marketing plan. In addition, you’ll discuss the projects’ aims and the metrics by which they’ll be evaluated.
Analysis of Customers (Who are you going to be selling to?)
Primary market research will be done here. This section of your marketing strategy may be simpler to put together if your company has already conducted thorough market research.
These details will help you describe your target market and buyer personas in your marketing strategy over the long term. If you want to know your ideal customer, create a buyer persona.
- Personal challenges
- Initiating a chain of events (that lead to a buying decision)
This is also called your Customer Avatar.
To solve their problems, your buyer persona (or customer avatar) has a variety of solutions to choose from, as well as a variety of providers who can administer those solutions.
Consider your competition, their strengths and weaknesses, and any gaps in the market that you might be able to fill during your market research.
- Overall market share
It’s always best practice to keep an eye on the competition anyway. You don’t want to wake up one day and realize you were left in the dust. But if you watch your competition regularly, you’ll be able to keep a better pulse on the industry and you’ll see changes coming in advance.
The SWOT Analysis
The SWOT analysis should also always be included in your executive summary.
SWOT stands for:
Allow yourself time to write most of your SWOT analysis based on the market research from the sections above and your business strategy below. Give yourself time to build this out. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
A good question would be: What will you offer that makes you stand apart from your competition?
A better question would be: What can you provide to your target audience that no one else can.
What are you going to do that differentiates you from them?
Once you know this, you’ll be able to figure out a strategic marketing plan. Remember, the riches are in the niches. The more you can segment down your audience, the better off you’ll be. Provide a specific product/service for a specific audience and you’ll be able to charge such a premium that you’d never have to work again in your life. (That is taken directly from Alex Hormozi’s book, $100M Offers.)
You must try to stand out from the rest: Do things that others aren’t. If you do the same things they are and advertise the same way they are, you’ll just blend in with them. You’ll never stand out, and no one will ever even know you exist.
The “Seven Ps of Marketing” can be included in this section of a comprehensive marketing strategy:
- How much are you going to charge?
- Where can people buy from you?
- Who is most likely to buy your product today?
- How are you going to go-to-market? (GTM) In other words:
- What is it that you’re selling?
- How are you going to go-to-market? (GTM) In other words: How are you going to let people know you’re open for business?
- Do you have any proof of your product/service’s success? (Reviews, testimonials, texts*, DMs*, etc)
Huge pro tip: If you have DMs and text messages from satisfied customers/clients, you must be saving them. Throw all of these screenshots up on a page of your website. Update and refresh it as new ones come in. You basically want to build an entire tank page that showcases all of the good things people are saying about your business. You wouldn’t believe the power of something like this in the digital marketing world.
Don’t confuse your marketing budget with the price of your product or other aspects of your company’s finances. Your budget explains how much money the company has allocated to the marketing team to pursue the initiatives and goals listed above.
You may want to consider itemizing your budget if you have a lot of different out-of-pocket expenses. The following are some examples of marketing expenses:
- Costs can be delegated to a marketing agency or other service providers.
- Software for advertising
- Promotions for which you are being compensated
- What you’ll be doing (hosting or attending)
Also, do not glaze over this part. Sit down and figure out how much you’re willing to budget for marketing each month.
A good rule of thumb would be to set aside 10% of gross revenue for your marketing budgets. Yes, it’s a bigger expense than you probably want right now. But trust me, it’s worth it. If you can find a way to get in front of your target audience and stay there for a long period of time, you will reap rewards you didn’t even know existed. The more times you consistently show up for your target audience, the more you gain their trust. And the more credibility you earn. All because you showed up on their phone screens every day. Figure out how much you’re going to spend and figure out how you’re going to spend it. (I’d prefer to use the word “invest” in your marketing, but I know it’s simply a cost for a lot of folks. It’s just a very, very good habit to get into. You won’t ever regret marketing your company.)
The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends, “As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7–8 percent of their revenues to marketing.” This percentage is based on companies that have margins in the 10–12 percent range (after expenses). | commonmind.com
Identify Your Marketing Channels
You’ll also have a list of your marketing channels included in your marketing plan. Aside from ad space, your marketing channels are where you’ll post content that educates your customers, generates leads, and spreads awareness of your brand.
As part of your marketing strategy, channels are the platforms you’ll use. Re-evaluate your target market’s online and offline entertainment, inspiration, and shopping habits.
The following are some of the most popular e-commerce distribution channels:
- Social Media Marketing: A whopping 53.6% of people use some form of social media. There’s so many free social media tools available to help businesses connect with their ideal customers. As a result, 70% of marketers plan to increase the role of social media in their marketing strategy.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Search engines are used by nearly half of online shoppers to begin their research. It’s possible to get in front of potential customers when they’re actively searching for what you have to offer. You need to figure out how to get your website and your content in front of them. You need a system like outboundOS to ferociously publish insanely valuable content that positions you as an expert in your field. Our outboundOS product is only available to select clients. Please email our Founder (Kyle Ackerman) directly: email@example.com.
- SMS marketing: SMS inboxes are sacred places for marketers to reach their customers. You can communicate directly with your target market if they choose to do so by providing them with a phone number (of course). Chat+ is perfect for this because it’s the simplest way to turn a website visitor into a paying customer (or client!). 99% of SMS/text messages are opened. And 96% are opened within 15 minutes of delivery. It’s the most direct route to your buyers.
- Email marketing: This is almost the same as SMS marketing except the email inbox is viewed as “less sacred”. Therefore, only 30–40% of emails ever get opened.
- Podcasts: Make podcasts out of interactions with your staff, consumers, or experts in your sector. Word of mouth, radio, billboards, and TV commercials are all great ways to get your brand in front of people when they’re not on the internet.
A separate social media plan template may be necessary for businesses with extensive social media presence.
Finally, Your Financial Projections
If you know how much money you have to spend and have done some research on the marketing channels you want to use, you should be able to devise a strategy for how to allocate it based on the expected return on investment for each tactic. You’ll be able to make year-end financial projections once you’ve completed this step. These will not be 100% accurate, but they can help executives plan their schedules.
This was originally published here on the Nurturely blog
Nurturely is a marketing automation platform designed for local businesses who need:
- Call tracking*
- Funnel builder*
- Website builder*
- Membership sites*
- Calendar software*
- Live chat software*
- Landing page builder*
- Attribution reporting*
- Reputation management*
- Email marketing platform*
- Missed call auto-text back*
- Sales pipeline management*
- Appointments management*
- SMS/text message marketing
- SEO (search engine optimization)*
Nurturely is currently invite-only.
— — —
If you’re a business owner who’s interested in marketing and doesn’t know where to start, please feel free to DM me on Twitter. Always happy to answer marketing questions.
— — —