Tips For Developing A Marketing Plan For Your Business
Marketing is a vital part of any business because irrespective of how wonderful your product or service might be. Without a good marketing, people won’t find your product or service which mean they won’t buy from you which will result to low sale and eventually the business will be out. Experiencing a low sale is one of the major reason why small businesses fail in their first year which mean irrespective of the kind of business you do, you need to have a good marketing plan.
Marketing plan is usually incorporated into a business plan but a marketing plan on its own is not a static document that you can just write and keep somewhere. It a document that needs to be evolving as your business grow, and as new and changing marketing trends develop just as you might have noticed that things change fast in this current age.
Why a Marketing Plan?
A cliché a love to use why it comes to the WHY of a particular thing is that “When a purpose of a thing is unknown, abuse is inevitable”. Peradventure you are seeing marketing plan for the first time is what I refer to a road map providing direction toward reaching your business objectives. It needs to be referred to and assessed often.
Small business owners usually include their marketing plan as part of the overall business plan since it is crucial to their success at that early stage. If you don’t want to make a mini-plan as part of your business plan, you can simply attach the full marketing plan to the business plan as an appendix. Either ways, you are still incorporating it together.
Meanwhile, you don’t have to have the elaborate one before you get result. Here are my thoughts on the importance of having a marketing plan.
It provides focus and direction
In physics, there are scalar and vector quantities where they both have bearing but only vector quantity has direction while scalar doesn’t. What I’m saying in simple English is that, considering all the marketing channels that are available such as advertising, social media, guest blogging, direct mail, email and so on , you definitely need a plan to know what suite your business especially if you are small business owner. If you are going to use social media instead of other channel, then which media do you intend to use? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? You need a plan to determine the best course of action for your business.
Gives clarity about your market.
You can start a business without having knowledge of who your ideal customers and clients are. You need to know your target audience and this is what marketing plan helps you to know.
It helps you craft marketing messages.
Marketing plan will not only help you know your customers and clients but to know what your product or service can help your target market. Once you know all these, it will be easier for you to craft your marketing messages.
How You Can Create a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is a tool you need to use every day in order to reach your market and achieve your target. A typical small business marketing plan covers many components which include demand for the product or service you are offering, a description of competitors, your strengths and weaknesses from a market standpoint of both the business and it competition.
When you are creating a marketing plan, focus on the basis which I consider as what you need to understand to reach your market
Who is your customer?
“Who is my customer?” is central to the marketing task. You can also refer to them as your target audience. What I mean by this is like saying “who is the most likely buyer of what you are offering?” I’m pretty sure you might say “everybody.” The truth of the matter is that not everybody is going to buy from you. You need to be more specific when it comes to this. I see a lot of business owners today who make this terrible mistake and yet they complain of low sales.
I’m going to further explain this target audience/market later in this article but just have it in mind that you can’t have a good marketing plan without knowing your target audience.
What’s your unique selling point?
Having a clue of who are your target audience will give rise to how you will be able to communicate your product or service to them. If you are into event management, then what differentiate you from my neighbour who has been on my neck in order to hire her for my upcoming event? This I believe should be included in a marketing plan. Knowing your market helps you in creating that specific message you need to place in front of your audience.
Details about your current state?
You need to figure out what is working and not working when it comes to generating new clients and customers. Also make few note of some issues that might come up in few months or a year time such as new laws that might impact how you do business.
I remember earlier this year 2018 when Google decided to demonetize all the channels with low subscribers and views and made a new regulation of 100,000 hours view and a minimum of 1,000 subscribers before a creator can monetize with Google ads. This came as a shock to most small channels and in fact many got discouraged especially those that had it in mind to start a YouTube channel.
What are your goals for the time period of the plan?
You need to be specific when it comes to this. The goal might just be to increase your email list by x amount over the next 6 months or sell a particular y products to x number of clients within z months.
Your plan can span for few weeks but often time, some things take long time to work. I remember during my early days as a blogger, it took me 5 months for my search engine optimization to start getting me results and it not an overnight thing. Sometimes it can take years.
Likewise some of the plans you might have in mind right now that will not give you instant result but on the long run, they will. It is very important that you are able to measure the effectiveness of your marketing plan by having a quantifiable goal.
What tactics will you use?
Let your target audience be your guide when it comes to the tactics to employ. If your target audience are most likely to see you as they spend their time on social media, then go for it. As for social media, you might want to be very careful when it comes to platforms. I’m not a big fan of small businesses that try to be on all social media platforms at the same time. Instead, just choose one or two and grow it. The customer base from the ones you’ve built can be directly used to build a new platform that you might decide to create. If you’re going to use Facebook, then stick to it to the core. You can create a Facebook group or fan page or perhaps invest in Facebook advertising. You might want to start writing articles for a newsletter or magazine that targets your audience or better still my favourite marketing way: blogging (content marketing).
6. How much will it cost you?
This is where you will make budget for your marketing plan. You can use free marketing channels but requires time and efforts. Creating a twitter or Facebook group are free but will require time and efforts to build you fan base. You can decide to use paid channels such as Google ads, social media ads, send emails, sponsor events etc. All these methods will require you to shell out some cash from your pocket so you need to determine how much you are willing to spend and which channel will suit your business best.
7 What’s the mode of execution?
Action speaks louder than words. Planning is easy but carrying out a plan is a bit more challenging. Assuming you are considering social media marketing, do you instead to use social media management tools or hire a social media manager? Will you be writing articles and share them on your business website/blog or share it on other websites? If so, how often do you intend to write articles? This are the things you need to include in your plan and you are most likely to do it if you have a plan and fit it into your daily routine.
What is Target Market?
A target market is that specific group of buyers for which a business positions its products and services people. If your product satisfies the masses, then feed it to them, if not, you must choose a segment or segments of the market to target.
Segmentation of the market serves the following functions:
- To identify segments that can be efficiently reached by marketing efforts.
- To identify segments large enough to serve profitably.
- To help develop marketing programs
Target Market Segmentation
By having a definite segment in mind, you can effectively aim and efficiently execute your marketing activities to yield the most sales and profits. Without a target, you risk wasting marking dollars on disinterested people.
There are 4 major segmentation variables used in segmenting consumer markets. There are:
This divides the market based on location such as state, region, country, street addresses. If you have a product that is only specific to a tribe in your country, you definitely don’t need to advertise it to someone who doesn’t belong to that tribe. Having the knowledge of this will save you money on marketing.
2. Demographic Segmentation
This divides the market based on some measurable variables to reach a homogeneous group of people. These variables include age, sex, marital status, family life cycle, religion income, education, occupation, ethnicity and race.
3. Psychographic Segmentation
Divides the market by psychological differences such as lifestyle, personalities, attitudes, values or interest. Psychographic segmentation is pretty much difficult and tougher to identify, but they can be extremely valuable for your business.
4. Behavioural Segmentation
This divides the markets by some observable behaviours such as brand loyalty, responsiveness to price and promotion, purchase occasion, usage.
How to Segment a Market
In order for you to segment your potential customers into a target market and evaluate marketing segments, you need to answer:
- Can you identify your Segment?
- Can you quantify its size?
- How old is your ideal customer?
- How much money does he/she make?
- Does your company (either small or large) have the capabilities to adequately serve this segment?
- Is your product or services most suitable for men, women, or children?
- Where do they live?
- Where do they shop?
- What type of education do they have?
- What problems, needs, wants, do they have that your product or service will fill?
My point here is that the better you understand and know your audience, the more effective and ground breaking your marketing campaign will be. Like a business plan, marketing plan is a living document so be ready to do some tweaking on your marketing strategies. Many factors can affect your marketing plan like demand for your product or service, new marketing methods, pricing issues, new regulation and many more. Just ensure you are up to date in your industry and be aware of how things are changing quickly and how it can affect your business.