It is normal for entrepreneurs to focus a lot on the business plan, which is the launching pad for a business startup. But equally vital is the need for a marketing plan to keep the business afloat and make it grow. Just as soon as the euphoria of a successful subsides, it is time to focus on winning customers and retaining them. It requires a strategic move that includes facts and numbers as well as objectives. A good marketing plan specifies all the tools and tactics that you will be using to achieve your sales goals.
Here is how you can get going in creating a marketing plan for your small business by Eric J Dalius.
Do a SWOT analysis
Before creating a marketing plan, define your business and products or services by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the company. This should give a fair idea about your capabilities so that you never attempt to bite more than what you can chew.
In the next step, list all the business opportunities for the products and services that you can envisage. Consider any external challenges that the business might face, which you anticipate. Now you are in a position o have a bird’s eye view of your business.
Your mission statement acts like a compass against which you can compare your marketing strategies later.
Know your customers
Based on the market that you want to target; you must have a clear understanding of the customers by knowing their specifics. You must have thorough knowledge about the customer demographics that includes all information about their online behavior, what they like or dislike, and what are their personal as well as professional goals. In the process, you will know where they hang out online so that you can factor it when creating the marketing plan. The more you dig into the customer demographics, the more startling facts keep emerging that helps in knowing who could be your potential customer.
Set your business goals
Since the marketing plan must align with your business goals, you must have the business goals in place. The goals must be realistic and specific both in the short and long term. Having set the goals, think about your marketing budget, whether it will be self-financed or funded, and whether you will outsource the marketing or handle it on your own.
Create the marketing plan
Your marketing plan should revolve around the known marketing channels that are common to all industries.
- Think about using word of mouth for marketing, which is highly effective and cheap, and you can use it at any stage of the business.
- Having a website for your business is mandatory because it is the only way to get closets to your customers. The other cost-effective forms of marketing are using social media platforms for business promotion and bolstering your efforts with e-mail marketing.
- Advertising on social media is like on Facebook, and Instagram will spread your brand awareness far and wide and reach out to the largest section of the audience.
As you implement the plan, monitor the performance to gauge its effectiveness.