7 Steps to a Killer Marketing Plan
Writing a marketing plan for a new year is one of the most important things you can spend your time on. It will not only help you set goals and get a clear picture of what you are working towards, but will also help you get there much, much faster.
Here’s how a marketing plan will help you:
- Analyze your current business situation. Thoroughly understand what you do well and what you need to work on.
- Narrow in on who your target audience is.
- Set goals and focus in on the things you want to accomplish.
- Focus your energy on the marketing strategies that will propel you forward faster.
- Decide on your marketing budget so that your money is spent in the most effective way.
- And last, but definitely not least, make more money.
“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent return on energy!” ― Brian Tracy, author and motivational speaker
How to Write a Marketing Plan
1. A Fresh Perspective.
It always helps to get out of the office and go somewhere where you’ll be less distracted from your daily activities. Bring someone with you who knows your business and who can brainstorm with you. If you are a solopreneur, see if you can get together with someone who has a similar business. Having the ability to talk things out loud, get feedback on your ideas, and hear ideas from someone else can make a huge difference.
2. Determine Your Revenue & Profit Goals.
Write down last year’s revenue and profit and then set a revenue & profit goal for 2019 that is a good balance between realistic and ambitious.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, writer and pioneering aviator
3. Take a Close Look at Your Products and Services.
Follow this step by step process to help you identify which products or services bring you the most profit, so you can focus your marketing initiatives in that direction.
- Make a list of your products or services and how much revenue each brought in.
- Identify the top 2 or 3 that are the most profitable.
- Identify any products or services that are not profitable and that you should stop selling.
- Are you planning to launch any new products or services this year.
- Now compare the list of products or services, and the revenue that each brought in, to your overall revenue goal for 2019. This should give you a clearer picture of the quantity of each that you need to sell to meet your revenue goal.
4. Narrow in On Your Target Market.
Any successful business must know their target audience. Take some time to think through who your best client is. The most successful businesses are the ones who DON’T try to serve everyone. They really specialize to a certain segment of people.
The more specific you get the better. Doing this exercise doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your current clients and it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to serve clients outside of your ideal. The purpose is to help you better target your marketing efforts. Once you identify exactly who you want to market to, you can spend all your energy going to the events they go to, running ads that speak to their pain points, creating content that they will be searching for, and so on.
Some basic things to consider are:
- Geographic location
- Job title
- Marital status
- Homeowner or renter
- Income level
- Political preference
5. Go Through a SWOT Analysis.
A SWOT analysis will help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here are some questions to ask yourself for each:
- What we’re good at.
- What our customers like about us.
- What advantages do we have?
- What factors help us get new business over our competitors?
- What do we want to improve?
- What do we want to become more efficient at?
- What factors cause us to lose sales?
- What do our competitors do better than us?
- What the industry might soon want.
- Are we hoping to launch a new product or service?
- Has anything changed with our competition that we can capitalize on?
- Is there an emerging need for our products or services?
- What challenges are we facing?
- What could hinder our growth?
- Are standards or specifications for our products or services changing?
- Is changing technology threatening our business?
- Do we have debt or cash-flow problems?
6. Take a Close Look at Your Competitors
Take a close look at your top three competitors and identify which products or services you directly compete with and how it compares to what you offer.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin
7. Map Out Your Marketing Tactics.
Based on all the information you identified in the previous sections, you have a clear picture of how to start marketing. In this section, write out all of the marketing tactics you would like to implement this year, what the goal is of each, how you will measure results, what your budget is for each, and who is in charge.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Website design
- Email marketing
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
- Google search ads
- Google remarketing ads
- Google display ads
- Gmail ads
- YouTube ads
- YouTube video
- Live video on YT, FB, & IG
- Billboard advertising
- TV advertising
- Radio advertising
- Referral strategy
- Online review strategy
- Print advertising
- Guest posting on blogs
- Guest articles
This list probably feels daunting, but just focus on the ones that will help you best accomplish your goals. If you have questions about any of them, ask a specialist.
8. Set Your Overall Marketing Budget
The Small Business Administration recommends that businesses under $5 million in revenue should spend approximately 7 – 8% of their revenue on marketing. This should be a subtotal of all the marketing tactics you identified in the previous section.
Bonus: More Helpful Tips to Plan for the New Year
- Audit Your Calendar. Go through your calendar and look at all of the meetings for the year. Make two lists, one called “Good: Was Helpful for My Business” and one called “Bad: Do Not Repeat”.
- Audit Your Client List. Look at your client list and identify clients that are not a good fit. Is there a client that is difficult to work with and causing too many headaches? Do you have any clients who are asking you to do work that is not really your specialty? If so, it might be a good time to break ties.
- Audit Your Project List.
Are there projects you took on that were not really your skillset? On the flipside, are there projects you really wanted to get done but always got pushed aside? Decide which projects are important and still need to get done, and then how you’re going to make it happen. Consider assigning it to someone else on your team or hiring someone outside your business to help you get it done.
Free Marketing Plan Template Here
Get access to a free marketing plan template by entering your name and email below. You will be given a link to a Google Doc that you can make a copy of and edit as needed. Use this guide for more info as you create your plan.