The most important thing for developing your business is marketing your product, service or idea – and your business as a whole. Developing a solid marketing plan will help you increase your return on investment and ensure that you can give your customers what they need when they need it. It will also ensure your success in the long run by developing a well thought out plan focused on marketing and increasing your business. Let’s look at some aspects of developing a marketing plan to help you get started with developing one for your business today!
Developing a marketing plan is not just for newer businesses but also important for well established businesses. Likely, well established businesses are already very familiar with the successes of a detailed marketing plan. Everyone wants their business to succeed but few have taken the time to develop a marketing plan. The most successful businesses develop robust marketing plans that help them consistently drive traffic and increase conversions. If you are serious about your business's growth, developing a marketing plan is an important stepping stone. In college, most of my marketing classes focused heavily on the four P's which are the product (the good or service), the price (what the consumer pays), the place (the location where a product is marketed), and promotion (the advertising). Those are still relevant today but it has expanded a bit. Below you will find information on exactly how you should develop a successful marketing plan and why you need it.
But first it is important to understand the importance of developing one. A marketing plan is an important tool for your businesses growth because it gives you an actionable plan that is well thought out and focused on the growth of your business. The research and planning involved set you up for long term success. SayWhat Consulting are experts at marketing and developing plans for our clients that produce results based on the budgets that are set. We can assist you with all of your marketing efforts.
In order to develop a solid marketing plan, you need to start by identifying your target market. This includes who your current clients are and also identifying other possible clients as well that you may not be reaching yet. The easiest way to identify your target market is through market research and also reviewing details of your past marketing efforts. Who are currently using your services or buying from you? Also take into consideration people that may have bought from you in the past but no longer do so because they do not know about new products and services that you offer. Write down key points on potential new customers: How old are they? What gender? Where do they live? What does their employment status look like? Make sure to include both demographics and psychographics information on these potential consumers. Social Media and other avenues of marketing allow you to target your ads to very specific categories, this is important to know and can maximize your profitability through marketing.
Another important tool many people ignore (assuming you have a website) is reviewing your Google Analytics and also Facebook metrics. This allows you to identify the ages of people on your website or platform, along with where they went, what they liked and so on. If you detect trends that certain demographics visit certain services of your website more often than others it is something important to make note of in your marketing plan.
Identifying your target market will give you the ability to spend less money on marketing and have higher conversions. It is well worth the research and usually will identify markets you never knew existed or thought of.
The most important thing you can do when developing your marketing plan is knowing who your competition is. You need to understand how they are approaching their marketing strategy and what they are doing that is working (and what isn’t). Study their media spend, what advertising channels they use, who their target audience is, and how they approach engagement. This will give you insight into what works and help you develop an effective strategy that gives you an edge over them. What channels are they using? Where are these coming from? What tactics are they using to grab consumers' attention? By spending time learning about your competition you can better determine where your biggest advantages are. Once you know what has worked for them in terms of getting consumers' attention it’s easier to determine where you should start investing in order to grow sales through marketing activity. It could be search engine optimization, pay per click advertising or dozens of other avenues. It is also important to not base all your marketing efforts off your competition – you have to try new and different things and in the future, they will likely be the ones copying you more and more.
It is not unusual or unethical to research your competition, they are doing it as well and it is an important part of business and business growth. The most successful businesses spend time learning from their competitors and drawing on what has worked for them in order to create a winning strategy that puts them ahead of their rivals. A great way to do that is by putting together a comprehensive marketing plan which will help you identify key areas where your competitors have been successful and where they have struggled before you implement any strategy yourself.
Also it is important for you to review your competitions online reputation - this will tell you what their customers like and dislike and generate ideas on their weaknesses - which will assist with your marketing efforts. If you know where they are weak you can then include that in your marketing to attract new clients and convert them.
What sets your business apart from your competition? There can be a long list of reasons clients should choose you over them, but it is vital you identify what those reasons are so you can include them in your marketing. You have already researched your competitors' marketing successes and now you can identify why you are a better choice for them. Here is a list of 5 Competitive Advantages to consider when you develop this part of your marketing plan.
1. Your Pricing - Are you similarly priced, more expensive or less expensive. This is important to determine because it will affect how you decide to market your business. If you are similar in price but offer more services than they do then consider focusing on that fact in your marketing campaign. If you are less expensive than them then focus on that, don't be afraid to show how much money they could save by choosing you over someone else.
2. Services Offered - Are the services you offer different from them and what makes them unique? Can you use these things to highlight your competitive advantage in your marketing campaign, if so then do it! Identify what sets you apart from them and market those advantages.
3. Customer Service - Are you better at customer service than your competition, if so then make sure it is featured in your marketing campaign. You can do that by providing testimonials from past clients who have had great experiences with you and your business. Make sure they are genuine because people will recognize them as fake right away and that could do more harm than good to your marketing campaign.
4. Better Results - Depending on your business, you might be able to prove better results for clients which would be an important advantage. This can vary from case to case so just keep that in mind when developing your marketing plan.
5. It Is YOUR Business! - Therefore, you really need to sit down and make a comprehensive list of all your sales points and how they compare to your competition, and why they are important to clients. Be sure to document these reasons so that you can use them in your marketing campaign - writing them down and keeping them will allow you to review these a year from now which can help you realize things you may have missed. Our Business Owner Consulting Program can assist you with this as well.
Most importantly when you are deciding what your competitive advantages are, it is vital your entire focus is not just on generating more clients but focusing on potential client’s needs. This will allow you to have an overall better marketing campaign and help ensure that your sales goals are being met. As stated earlier you have already researched your competitors' marketing successes and now it's time to identify why they chose them over others and how you can include those advantages in your marketing campaign.
You should have both marketing and sales goals before you start developing your plan and then reevaluate them after you have established your marketing plan. These goals should reflect what your company wants to achieve over a short period of time, typically one year. For example, if your goal is to increase revenue by 25 percent over a 12-month period, that is how much growth you need from marketing and sales efforts to succeed. As you write down your marketing and sales goals, keep in mind that every goal must have an actionable strategy behind it as well as deliverables to help track progress. In other words, if revenue is an objective for your business, figure out how much incremental revenue needs to be generated each month or quarter to reach your target growth rate. This will give you something specific—and ultimately measurable—to work toward during your planning process.
It is also important you are realistic when setting your marketing and sales goals. If you don’t plan realistically, you won’t be able to implement an effective strategy that will help achieve these objectives over time. For example, if your goal was to achieve $25 million in revenue in one year, but the company only produced $1 million of revenue over that same period the previous year, then your goal is probably too aggressive based on current resources and performance metrics.
If you have actionable plans in place with the proper research it should be uncomplicated to make an educated guess about business growth.
There are many different marketing strategies that you can use to market your business and numerous different mediums you can use and have access to. Here is a list of some of the most common and why you should use them.
1. Social Media - Most social media platforms are free and allow your business to reach out to thousands of people at once. You of course can (and should) choose to use paid advertising as well. Take into consideration how much time you can invest into managing these accounts as well as who may be able to help you with creating posts and interacting with customers. Once you’ve decided which platform(s) will work best for your business, research popular hashtags that relate to your business so that people will find you when they are searching. This usually is something that you should work with a company that specializes in online marketing with because it will further ensure your success and is much more complicated than just hashtags, etc. Find out more about Social Media Marketing here.
2. Website Marketing - This is one of your main platforms to reach out to current and potential customers online. This will be your home base so you should have access to updating it yourself at any time or have someone else do it for you so that you are able to keep it updated with current news, information, products, etc. You also need to have great search engine optimization and local maps placement to ensure you get traffic. This is also something you absolutely need to hire an outside company to assist you with that has a proven track record. You can find out more information about digital marketing here.
3. Newsletter- If you are using your website for marketing then don’t forget about newsletter sign ups! You can ask people to sign up on both your website as well as through social media pages/profiles. This leads to email marketing.
4. Email Marketing - This one is pretty much as it sounds, you can send out newsletters and updates to email addresses through your website as well as other forms of media like social media or even text messages! This also needs to be managed by an outside company because you need to make sure that only those who have signed up will receive these emails and you want to keep them updated with your latest offers, news, etc. More information about email marketing can be found here.
5. Pay Per Click Advertising - This is something that you may decide to use to reach out to potential customers online who are searching for what your business offers. The main thing with paid advertising is that it can be quite costly so make sure to set up your budget accordingly. If you are not willing or able to spend money on these ads, then I suggest looking into other forms of marketing as it will not give you enough exposure without real investment. However, they are well worth investing in if done properly. Learn more about Pay Per Click advertising.
6. Other Methods - There is a laundry list of other ways to market your business both offline and online. SayWhat Consulting can assist you with all methods. We invite you to review our Digital Marketing Services and Offline Marketing Services.
A budget is critical to executing your marketing plan. Without one, you’ll have no idea how much you’re spending. Even worse, without any limit on your expenditures, it’s all too easy to go over budget. By creating a detailed budget early in your process, you can define exactly how much money will be spent on each aspect of your campaign and whether or not it will move the needle with regards to sales growth. If something doesn’t work out as expected, just return to your budget—you’ll already know that money was spent so there won’t be any second-guessing what should have been done differently along the way.
Once you’ve outlined your budget, make sure you actually stick to it. It can be tempting to spend more than expected and, if no budget was originally defined, it’s even easier to fall off track without knowing where you are with regards to your projections. Be realistic with your predictions—estimate conservatively, especially at first. If you expect higher sales over time, factor that into your plan as well.
We specialize in marketing and know everything needed in order to create and implement a strong marketing plan focused both on the short and long term of your business. It is important that you hire a company that can give you unbiased advice when it comes to marketing. We are not trying to sell you services and will help you find the right vendor for each project to ensure your long term success. Too often, people will get advice from people with the motive of gaining their business for SEO, Website Design, PPC etc. – we don’t want that business from you but will assist you in finding the right company for your specific needs. Contact Us Here!
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