7 Urgent Things To Do Before Writing Your Marketing Plan

Have you ever wondered how to streamline creating a marketing plan?

Can I show you 7 simple questions to ask to help speed up creating your next marketing plan?

The first question to ask is, “Do I really need a marketing plan.”

You may not. If everything you are doing to bring in all the business you want, don’t change a thing. Even if you or your staff are bored with it. Let it keep profiting until it stops profiting.

Next ask, “What do I want a marketing plan to do for me and my business.”

Many marketing plans are written as part of a business plan. Also, marketing plans are written when looking for new or more funding. Most marketing plans are created as a road map, a guide to the next 12-18 months of marketing campaigns

Now, “What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?” Answer in a compelling way, why anyone would choose your products, services or ideas over all the other choices they have, including doing nothing.

Of course, you are making and “Irresistible Offer” every time you are in front of someone. Business and marketing are all about offers. You give me this and I’ll give you that. Keep in mind that without an offer, no business transpires. Think of the many times you have seen an advertisement or marketing message and couldn’t figure out what was being offered. Don’t make this critical mistake. State exactly what you will be offering in your marketing plan.

OK, “Where is your ideal future client or customer?” Not just anyone, but who is the ideal lead to generate for your products, services or ideas. Where can you find enough of your ideal future clients to be profitable? When you do find them, how much do you know about their hopes, aspirations, desires, fears, problems, etc? Take off your shoes and walk in your future clients shoes for a week and see, hear and feel what they see, hear and feel. Then and only then, will you know their real problems.

I’m sure you’ve decided on which, if any, of the many of the different “marketing media options you’ll want to test.” Options like direct response mailing campaigns, yellow page ads or email marketing. How about tele-marketing, newspaper display ads or Webinars? Networking, Social media marketing or pay-per-click marketing? We could go on and on and on, but you get the idea. Where are you going to spend your marketing budget

Finally, as long as you are going after new clients, “How are you capturing their personal information?” I don’t mean their shoe size, waist size or height (but you may need them depending on what you are selling). Are you asking for their name, email address and snail mail address? If not, how will you communicate with them in the future?

Now grab a piece of paper and start answering these questions.Doing so will focus your marketing plan and anyone reading it will know exactly the what, where, when, who and how you are planning to market your business.

OK, I admit it; there are more than 7 questions to answer. You should have seen the ones I edited out. I’ve saved them for another article in the near future, so keep checking back.

Marketing Plans: Do I Really Need One?

What happens when you go to the grocery store without a list? You typically end up buying a bunch of stuff you don’t really need, spending more money than you planned, and come home to realize you forgot quite a few things. Then you have to go back again to get everything right. This is the same scenario you will face when you don’t sit down and write a marketing plan. It may seem like a waste of time, when all you want to do is jump in and get started, but actually sitting down and writing a marketing plan will save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Here is what a marketing plan can do for your business:

Help you Focus on a Target Market

Without a marketing plan, it’s easy to get caught up marketing to everyone instead of a specific target audience. When you sit down and write a marketing plan, you think about who has a need for your product or service. You look at demographics such as age, gender, location, and education. When you narrow down your target market, you’ll be able to focus all your marketing dollars on an audience who actually has a need for your product or service, and stop wasting money marketing to an audience who has no interest.

Help you Spend Your Money More Efficiently

How do you know how much money you will allot to your marketing efforts, or determine if you are over or under-spending? Generally, around 10% of sales should be spent on marketing. Once you figure out this number and actually get it written in your plan, you will easily see how much you will be able to spend of each marketing strategy, and keep yourself from going over-budget.

Help You Focus on Specific Goals

Are you trying to get more sales? More leads? Increase brand awareness? Without a marketing plan, you don’t have a specific goal to work towards. All of your marketing efforts are going to help you work towards your goal, but if you don’t have a concrete goal written down ahead of time, you may find yourself getting off track in your marketing efforts.

Help You Monitor Your Competition

You know your business is going to have competition, but do you know how you compare to them? With a marketing plan, you take the time to find out exactly how you stack-up against the competition in terms of price, products offered, marketing strategies, etc. When you are able to see a side-by-side comparison, it will help you know what you need to do to gain the competitive edge.

Focus Your Marketing Strategies

Are you going to run a newspaper ad, or send out marketing emails, or focus on social media? There are tons of choices when it comes to marketing strategies, and you can’t do them all. If you have taken the time to define your goals and target audience in a marketing plan, you can decide what strategies will work best to achieve those goals.

Creating a marketing plan requires some effort on your part. You have to do quite a bit of research and planning ahead of time, and it is an ongoing process that will change as your business grows. But a well-written marketing plan is like a map, leading you the direction you want to go and preventing you from getting lost along the way. Take the time to write a detailed marketing plan now and your business will definitely reap the benefits down the road.

9 Steps For Creating A Successful Marketing Plan For Your Online Business

Creating a marketing plan is a prerequisite for any person conducting business. Whatever business you are involved in, you need to base your marketing campaigns on a well laid out plan so that you do not lose track and run your business blindly. Have you ever created one?

Surprisingly, not many online marketers think about creating a marketing plan. They just begin their online businesses and end up jumping from one failed marketing method to another. But if you are a success-conscious marketer, you need to have a WRITTEN MARKETING PLAN to avoid doing things wrongly. In this article, I would like to share with you 9 steps for creating a successful marketing plan.

1. To create a successful marketing plan, you need to read to understand the different online marketing and advertising methods. If you are a newbie, you need most importantly to equip yourself with some knowledge on online marketing before you create your marketing plan.

2. Understand your market and competition. Find out first what the marketplace is, what happens in it and what its trends are.

Additionally, get information on your competitors by finding out who they are, what they sell, how they sell it, what their marketing methods are, what makes them stand out, how their websites are, what their weaknesses are and what they don’t offer that you could offer. You can easily get this information by searching on the internet.

3. Get to know properly your targeted customers. You should know who they are, how and when they buy, what their problems are, which solutions they are looking for, how they respond and find what they buy, what they say and what needs to fill the gap.

4. Discover the position of your business. Find out more about the product you intend to sell or promote and how you will position your business. Find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, your field of business and expertise, lives and challenges of your customers and the different niche groups in your line of business.

5. Develop your marketing messages. Your plan should entail in-depth information on what your brand is, what your unique selling point, strap-line and marketing slogans will be. Remember that your messages have to cause action to be taken. It’s a reason why you need to develop them carefully and strategically.

6. Set your marketing goals. A successful marketing plan clearly spells out the vision for your business, what you want to achieve, your specific achievable goals and your priorities. Your goals have to be stated clearly in that they are not only SMART but they are also SMARTER (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound, extended and rewarding).

7. Determine your marketing methods. Get to know the marketing methods competitors use and what works for you best basing on your strengths, knowledge, skills and ability. Focus on how you will get new customers and maintain old ones as well.

8. Develop your budget. When developing your budget, base on the marketing methods you have selected to determine the total cost of your marketing campaigns, the resources you need to invest in your marketing and what your return on investment will be. Having a marketing budget is a key to creating a successful marketing plan.

9. Map your marketing strategy. Creating a successful marketing plan requires you to focus on how you will progress in each and every aspect of your plan. You should focus on what is needed to set up your business and the steps and practical actions to be taken. Project your anticipated obstacles and deadlines and how you will track, evaluate and review your strategy.

Finally, having a marketing plan is a necessity for any success-conscious online marketer. Always have it written down and make it as simple as you can. Your marketing plan serves as your guide. It’s your commitment that helps you to walk your road to success in a systematic manner. If you have been doing things haphazardly, it’s high time you created a marketing plan for your online business.