Business owners, especially budding entrepreneurs often worry about developing a successful business plan, and though, without a doubt, a business plan is essential to your business success, it’s not the only plan you should be worrying about.
See Also: How to Write a Business Plan
As I’m sure you know, a business is what its clients make of it, so if you are interested in creating a powerful brand you need to make an impact on your clients. To do that, you need to create an effective marketing plan that will not only create exposure for your company but will also create a faithful following.
A lot of factors will contribute to your marketing plan’s success and in order to give you a head start we’ve gathered the categories on which you should focus in this concise guide that will help you with creating an effective marketing plan.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
The first thing you should understand about marketing is that it’s always about the brand, or at least, it’s all about the brand these days. You should not focus on marketing individual products or services as this is ineffective, products have short lifespans whereas brands have long lifespans. Therefore, your marketing campaigns should always focus on your brand. So, in order to be able to promote your brand, you need to understand its following, or its potential following if you are just starting out.
As much as we’d all like to, brands are not universal, they appeal more to certain groups of people, and the sooner you realize who that group of people is, the more effective your marketing plan will be. Ask yourself in what way your brand makes life easier or more pleasurable for people and you’ll be able to identify your target customers that much easier.
2. Identify the Competition
Whether we like it or not there’s always competition that’s out to get our audience. Unfortunately, your competition will not only be promoting similar products to you, but they’ll be also trying to attract the same audience as you are.
By identifying your competition and what their marketing strategy is, you’ll be better able to win the game. See if you can offer better prices or if they have poor social media strategies try to up your game in those areas.
3. Identify Your Marketing Goals
It’s important to remember that you don’t just want success, or for your brand to do well in general. You need actual, tangible goals. So, if for example, you want an increase in sales, set a realistic goal of what that increase should be. By making your goals measurable you’ll not only be able to know when you’ve reached them and when to set new goals, but your efforts to achieve those goals will also be more driven.
4. Develop Marketing Communications Strategies and Tactics
Thankfully we live in an era where our audience is easily reachable, so you won’t need to waste time on ineffective communication strategies. Identifying your target audience implies that you’ve also identified where they like to spend their online time, therefore, target those platforms on which you can create exposure for your message. New customers will respond to a sponsored post if they find it interesting, or if it somehow covers their needs. Clients who’ve already been in contact with your brand will also respond to emails with offers and newsletters.
It’s important to remember that social media is great for attracting vast numbers of people, however, that doesn’t mean that everyone who will be lured in by your social media strategies will make a purchase. So, for your marketing strategy to be effective focus on your target audience and the strategies that will appeal to them.
5. Set Your Marketing Budget
Exposure can be achieved through a lot of channels, but your budget will most likely be limited. So identify which channels are more likely to create the biggest impact for your brand and set your goals and budgets for each channel accordingly. It’s also important to set milestones so that every month you can check if your communication tactics have been paying off. This way you can establish which channels are costing you money without getting you clients and which channels have been paying off.
An effective marketing plan essentially means that you should have realistic expectations of what you as a company can achieve and finding ways to achieving those goals. Your number one priority should be to identify your target audience and once you do that, everything else will fall into place.