When you started your business you were told to write a business plan. Check. Now that you’ve amped up your sales and revenue, it’s time to focus on marketing. So you need to write a marketing plan. Of course you do. The thing is, when writing marketing material you are taking a more social approach. While your business plan was an introverted process, your marketing plan requires mixing and mingling with your customer base.
So let’s get this party started, shall we?
Time Is the Essence
If you need to present a marketing plan to your board of trustees next week, forgettaboutit. According to Entrepreneur it takes a couple of months to develop a marketing plan of only a few pages in length.
- For freelance writers working on this type of project, use this knowledge to schedule your workload, and in reference for clients on a time crunch.
Your completed marketing plan should cover the next 12 months. This gives you a four-season scope that will keep you from panicking the weekend prior to Black Friday when you hope to pull your ROI out of the red.
Make it a Group Affair
Everyone from your sales reps to your customers will need to be included in the marketing plan. For starters, you need to check in with your target customer base:
- Create a general character sketch for your customers.
- Are they Millennials or Baby Boomers?
- Do they eat at Red Lobster or Long John Silvers on a first date?
- Are they spending their weekends at the Hamptons or watching reruns of “Happy Days?”
Once you’ve determined who you are marketing to, you can determine how you will go about it.
Get Your Goal On
Setting goals is the beast of burden for any plan. This is the backbone of the marketing plan, carrying it through the short term and the far off future. Keep it short and sweet, with a page of bullets for marketing goals in the next 30 days and by the year’s end. Your goals could be centered on increasing sales for certain quarters, or reaching a new demographic. Whatever you choose, the goals must be as specific as possible. No, “Increase sales by 55 percent” won’t do it.
Plan of Action
What good is a customer profile and list of goals if you don’t have a way to make things happen? Pull your strategies and tactics out of your magic marketing hat, and see what fits with your plan. Writers, this is where the real writing happens, as this section will make up the majority of the marketing plan.
This is also the point where you want to involve the people working with your business. Everyone from sales reps to customer service teams should be on hand to pitch ideas of ways to make the goals a reality. Every team member brings their own strategies and backgrounds to the office, and this is their chance to sparkle. As for tactics, this is where the different types of marketing are involved:
- Inbound marketing with social media, blogging, web content and SEO
- Outbound marketing through direct mail, postcards, newsletters and brochures
Once you’ve determined the who and the how, it’s time to talk about money. Come up with a budget that will carry your marketing goals through to the next year…when it’s time to write yet another marketing plan.
Miranda B. is big into researching and writing on marketing, whether for clients that offer direct mail or businesses needing to revamp their inbound marketing strategy