A Marketing Plan is used to outline strategies for marketing and operations. The plan may include developing a marketing message, identifying the target market, and creating strategies for the promotion of the business’ products or services. This plan will be used to evaluate how well a marketing strategy helps a company meet its business goals.
The first part of the marketing plan should include a summary of the business and what the goals are surrounding the plan. The rest of the document will detail the action plan and the budget for the marketing plan. A Marketing Plan should be completed so that everyone will have an idea of the strategy and marketing goals. This includes employees, investors, stockholders, and other stakeholders.
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If you're a new entrepreneur, small business, or startup, you'll need to have a marketing plan template in place in order to appeal to potential investors. You may be thinking, "But I don't know how to write such a formal document!" Don't worry - it's easier than you think. Creating a marketing plan need not involve the expensive help of professionals. We highly recommend setting aside a bit of time and writing your own, with the help of our free marketing plan template. Marketing plans consist of a few basic elements.
Here is where you describe your business' basic mission statement and hint at future goals. Your executive summary should be concise and not bother with numbers or details. It is meant to serve as an overview of your business.
This is fairly simple. Describe your target audience. Provide statistics and percentages of all demographics, and explain briefly how you are planning to broaden your market. It may be useful to include a visual representation of your demographics through infographics.
This should be succinct, catchy, and appealing. This is what sets your business apart from competitors.
Explain your pricing strategy. When you use low prices, what is the reason? How do you justify high prices? Be sure to use plenty of hard numbers and statistics in this section to back up your argument.
Describe the manner in which customers obtain your products or services. Include methods of distribution, patterns, and details about which emphasis is placed upon which sections of your market.
This includes free trials, discounts, packages, guarantees, and any other perk that makes your products extra appealing for consumers.
Identify which marketing channels you plan on using to target existing and new customers. You should also describe each of the marketing tactics you use or plan on using, such as TV commercials, press releases, and trade shows.
There needs to be a substantial subsection devoted to digital marketing, since nowadays the internet is a crucial hub in the life of every business. Your digital marketing plan should include content marketing strategy, search engine optimization (SEO) strategy (such as keyword use and website management), email marketing strategy, online ad campaigns, and social media strategy.
Identify the metrics, such as key performance indicators (KPIs), that you will use to judge the success of your campaigns.
Include a section for your conversion strategy (how you plan to snag prospective customers) as well as a retention strategy (how you plan to KEEP said paying customers once you've secured them). You should also include sections describing customer referral programs (a vital marketing tool for any new business - word of mouth is still the most powerful PR there is) and your strategies for increasing revenue (generally by increasing transaction prices).
This is the final section of any marketing strategy template. It should include the expenses accrued and/or projected for every strategy outlined in your plan. It should also include statistical projections regarding future sales and profits, increase and maintenance of your customer base, and over-arching goals for your company's financial future.
Before you begin writing your marketing plan, you should analyze your current situation. First, conduct a SWOT analysis—or an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A SWOT analysis will help you identify areas where your business' pain points and where you can maximize your opportunities and chances for success.
Next, conduct a competitor analysis. A thorough competitive analysis will involve market research, identifying your major competitors, and researching competitors' marketing and sales strategies. This will help you identify potential opportunities and ways that you can outperform and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Once you have analyzed your company's situation and that of the market, you should make sure that you know who your target audience is. Your target audience is the ideal customer that you'd like to attract through your marketing activities.
If you don't already have one, create a buyer persona. Figure out your target customer's demographic information, including age, gender, and income. Ask yourself:
What drives that customer?
Why did they choose your product or service?
Why did that customer choose you over all of your competitors?
Defining your targeting audience will help you to create the optimal marketing strategy.
Once you have analyzed your company, the market, and identified your target audience, it's time to set SMART goals.
SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This means that you should set specific and realistic goals that can be achieved within a set period of time.
For example, you may want to grow your company's social media accounts. To turn this into a SMART goal, you might instead say that your goal is to increase your LinkedIn followers by 15% in the next 90 days utilizing a targeted advertising spend and consistent social media marketing content strategy.