Marketing is the heart of any business. It is almost impossible to attract and retain customers in this competitive world without putting a word out there. Marketing is not automatic, you plan it. Our guide will help you understand how to develop a winning marketing plan and details on what each of these marketing plan steps involves.

What is a Marketing Plan?

Before anything else, you need to understand what a market plan is and what it entails. A market plan is simply a template which contains important factors to consider in order to succeed in promoting your business. Here are 8 marketing plan steps to help you get started.

1. Understand Your Business

You may not be able to come up with successful marketing plan steps when you have no clear insight into what your business is all about.  Here are some questions you need to ask yourself so as to fully understand your business.

  • How long have I been in this business?
  • Is my business online or purely offline
  • What products and services do I offer?
  • Is this business a partnership?
  • Who are my competitors?

You should also be in a position to determine your strengths and weaknesses.  Additionally, be able to properly examine opportunities in your market and strategize how to seize them before your competition does. Examining and re-examining your business is the only sure way to know where you at.

2. Outline Your Goals

You need to know what you want to achieve at the end of the day. Are you interested in generating leads?  Making sales? Your goals should be on both short term and long term basis. The most important part of goal setting in the marketing planning process is to have smaller milestones that you want to achieve in a calendar year.

  • Your business objectives should be realistic to achieve. They should not seem too impossible to attain.

3. Determine Your Target Audience

Your target audience is the specific type of people you want to reach through your services and products.  Market research on your target audience is crucial in coming up with a marketing plan that is successful.  Your market research should help you:

  • Determine what kind of people make up your audience
  • Know where to find them
  • Understand what they are  interested in
  • Assess their immediate needs
  • Determine their problems

Audience identification will help you  personalize your marketing campaign so as to generate leads and finally convert them into buyers

4. Know-How to Reach Your Target Audience

Your marketing planning process must include ways in which you are going to reach your target audience. It is important to start with two or three of these methods so that you do not get overwhelmed along the way. A few of these methods, when used correctly, will help you succeed in your marketing plan.

One way of reaching your audience is through online marketing.   To get started on social media marketing, pick a platform that your audience spends most of their time on.  You can choose two when starting out.

Facebook should be an added advantage since it is where most leads hang out. Create your social media profile professionally and start offering value to your readers across the platforms. Always give information about your products or services will help your readers solve their problems.

Master your posting schedule to help you remain relevant and consistent. Continue creating trust with your audience until you are able to sell them your offers.

5. Examine Your Competition

Studying your competition helps you prepare for your marketing strategically.  It is important to know who else is offering the same products and services as you are. Understand who else is targeting your customer profile.  This gives you a chance to implement what your competition is doing to convert leads.

  • Competition analysis helps you identify gaps in the market so that you plan efficiently on how to fill them.

6. List Your Strategies

Now that you already have your goals and identified your competition, what are you going to do to stay ahead of the curve? Handling each of your goals at a time is a good way to get a clear picture of what activities need attention in order to achieve what you have set in mind.

It also helps you identify the goal that is unrealistic so that you are able to readjust on time.  Here is a marketing plan example that is aimed at getting 500 followers on Facebook:

  • Stay active on Facebook by sharing content at least twice a week
  • Engage with my readers to know what interests them.
  • Interact with my audience at least one week through live video.

Your strategies should be straightforward so as to give you a clear path to follow in order to achieve your goals in real-time.

7. Identify Your Business Unique Factor

What differentiates your business from the rest? Find that one factor that makes you unique. Unique selling proposition of your products and services identifies the specific aspects that make you better over your competition and the reasons as to why the customers should choose you and not your competition.

8. Know-How Much to Spend

As you draft your marketing plan, you need to know how much money you need and for what purpose.  As a startup, you may not have a lot to channel into your marketing. However, with the little at hand, you need to create a plan that will be engineered towards giving good returns.

You will need a budget template so that you have everything written down clearly. Again, to track down your budget, you will be forced to keep your records for each month so that you are able to see where to cut or add costs.

Conclusion

We hope that the above marketing plan steps helped you create the best marketing plan for your brand. Some of the steps may seem complex implementing, but we assure you that it shall pay off in the long term. Once you know what is suitable for your business, you are good to go. The strategies discussed here should get you started already. Plan your marketing strategy well, work on your goals and success shall follow.