Growing Your Business: Steps for Developing a Successful Business Marketing Planby Bortnic Ecaterina Sales management
Any business will understand the importance of having a well defined overall business plan - it's a fundamental part of your success. However, when it comes to putting together a plan for marketing, it can be tempting to be vague or not put quite as much care and attention into its creation.
This is a big mistake though. Effective marketing ensures that you have a steady and constant stream of new business leads - without which you simply won't survive. With this in mind, here's our top tips for putting together a solid business marketing plan that will successfully engage new customers.
What is a Marketing Plan?
First thing's first - what exactly is a marketing plan? Well, in simple terms it's a document that sets out how you're going to promote your business and engage new customers. It should also provide a clear description of who your target audience is, as this will determine which channels are likely to be most effective.
While big retailers have plans that consist of many many pages worth of details, a smaller business may only need three or four pages. Ultimately it just needs to be long enough to have all of the information you need to successfully promote your products or services.
Putting Your Plan Together
When it becomes time to start developing your business marketing plan, there are a number of factors to consider. Here are the most important ones…
Know Your Audience
In order to begin writing your plan, you first need to have a good understanding of exactly who you're going to target. If you're selling to consumers, you'll need to have a good grasp of the particular demographic likely to need your products or services, including details such as their gender, age, location, lifestyle and salary etc. This will help you when it comes to crafting content, and knowing which social media channels to use.
Knowing your market is also essential for B2B. Here you need to know firmographic details about your niche - this could include factors like company size, whether they're new or established, turnover, pain points and location. Not only will this help inform your marketing decisions, but it will also mean you can make things easier by using third party resources to gain contact data. For example, if you're looking to target IT startups in Amsterdam, you could use a Netherlands business directory and filter based on number of employees, years in operation etc to find your ideal prospects.
Look at Your Competitors
Regardless of what niche you're targeting, you'll still have competitors, and it's important to research them in order to help inform your own marketing strategy. Firstly, you need to identify them, and then look at things such as what their strengths and weaknesses are, and which tactics they're using.
To find data on your rivals you can look at their website, their social media pages, annual reports and press releases or through B2B intelligence providers. Whether you're based in Australia or the USA, business database providers can give you detailed insights on everything from financials to the technologies being used.
Set Your Business Apart
Once you've established who your biggest rivals are, it's essential that you determine why your target audience would choose your products or services over theirs. Can you offer a better price point? Is your product of a superior quality? Will it help them do their job more easily?
Having something that sets you apart from the competition is incredibly important - particularly if your market is served by just a handful of companies who have a loyal customer base; they'll need to have a good reason for choosing your product or service instead.
Set Your Goals
Now it's time to establish what your goals are, usually for the next year. What exactly do you want to achieve? Try to be as specific as possible, as it will help when it comes to identifying ways to accomplish them. They could be big goals, for example expanding into a new market, or smaller ones, such as blogging every day. Whatever they are, they should be clear, achievable and motivating.
When you know what your specific goals are, you'll be able to start setting out which methods and channels you'll use to allow you to reach them. It will be easier to take your goals one by one, looking at the steps you need to take for each, and ultimately how achievable it will be.
When it comes to the different approaches possible, there are several things you might include in terms of how you'll reach your target audience. For example, social media channels like Facebook or Instagram, email or cold calling campaigns, paid advertising such as PPC or SEO.
Decide on Budget
Now comes the hard part; you need to set a budget for your marketing activities. Without carefully allocating your resources you could end up overspending, or neglecting certain channels. Determine what your overall budget will be for the coming year, and where are the funds going to come from?
You should then look at how much the tactics you planned earlier are going to cost, and divide your budget up accordingly. Remember to keep in mind when doing this that you'll want to provide more resources for those channels that are more successful in engaging your target audience, whether that be email, Facebook, or pay-per-click ads.
In order to work out your ROI accurately, as well as determining what is working and what isn't, you should be tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) as part of your marketing strategy. This will help you decide things like which channels are working for your brand, and what types of content are engaging the most customers.
When you have this data to hand, you can adjust your strategy accordingly and ultimately see much better results.
While it may be tempting to gloss over the marketing part of your overall business plan, it is an essential component in giving your brand the greatest chance at success. Keep in mind that once you've set your plan, it should remain flexible enough to make adjustments based on things like which channels aren't working, or changes in your budget.
Created on Sep 12th 2018 02:46. Viewed 687 times.