A marketing plan is crucial for business success. Without it, you are most likely wasting your hard-earned money on willy-nilly advertising efforts and missing the boat on sales. Your customers are out there and so is your competition, so it is important to know the basics on how to write a marketing plan.
You need to make sure you are seen in the right way and the right place. Capturing your customer’s attention, nurturing and educating is what leads to the sale. Using the right marketing plan components help to ensure the conversions and sales will happen.
First, let’s address the difference between a marketing strategy vs marketing plan. Wait, there’s a difference? Yes!
Without a marketing strategy you cannot develop a proper marketing plan. A marketing strategy is a high-level, long-term report that outlines how a company will achieve its business goals and it supports the company vision. A marketing strategy is the “why” behind your marketing efforts and includes reports on important components such as market research, target audience, company goals, competitive analysis, and branding.
Once you have your marketing strategy complete, you can move on to create your marketing plan. A marketing plan is a tactical document outlining actionable steps a company will take to implement and support its marketing strategy. It is the action plan: the what, when, where, and how and defines campaign objectives, budget, implementation, timeline, marketing mix, and how results will be measured.
Our 1-page marketing plan template will walk you through defining the essential components of both your marketing strategy and marketing plan.
Writing a marketing plan typically involves these 5 steps.
1. Branding/Market Research:
This is the prospecting stage and a key component of your marketing strategy that you need to develop a proper marketing plan.
- Your target market: Who is your target market? What is your buyer persona or avatar? What is their demographic, their lifestyle, their awareness? When you can identify your buyer persona you can better target and retain your ideal customer.
- Your brand: Here you need to make sure you define and clearly understand your brand story. Everything from your tone and messaging to your company mission and values. Your messaging needs to be consistent, always, and align with your brand which should also align with your ideal customer’s values and traits.
- Your competition: Who are your top 5 competitors, how does your product compare, and how will you stand apart from the competition? Perform a competitor analysis.
- Media channels: Where are you going to go to market? The media channels you use will depend on where your target market ‘hangs out’ and how they take in their information. Will you use social media, paid, or lead-generating methods such as content, email, or sales funnels? Or a combination of all of them?
2. Objectives Definition Stage:
This is where you lay out your goals and objectives. What are your business goals, company vision, and marketing objectives?
What are the 4 common marketing objectives?
- Build brand awareness
- Generate high-quality leads
- Expand market share
- Increase customer lifetime value
No matter which you choose, your overarching goals will most likely be increasing profits or revenue.
3. Lead Generation and Conversion Stage:
How are you going to actively pursue your prospects and turn the contacts into sales? It’s finding and using ways of attracting people to your business.
- Lead generation resources: Marketing plan’s lead generation can be content-based like lead magnets or search engine-based like PPC (pay-per-click).
- Lead nurturing: Once you have the lead, lead nurturing (commonly done through email or text) takes your lead from initial contact to the sale being lost or won.
- Sales conversion system: What offers can you provide to trigger the lead to make a purchase? What channel will you leverage to deliver this offer (email, website pop-up, social media)? How will you paint the picture of the offer so that it is both irresistible and solves their problem?
- Limited time price deals
- Mobile Coupons
- Special emails or text promotions
4. Customer Service and Retention stage:
Now that you have your customers, what service will you provide them?
Customer Service components:
- Manage customer expectations
- Nail your first impression
- Collect as much data as you can and use it
- Personalize the relationship
- Maintain your focus
Customer Retention tools:
- Build honesty and trust
- Offer customer referral or loyalty programs
- Ask for feedback and then implement
- Encourage two-way communication
- Be active on social media
- Implement retargeting campaigns
5. Implementation Plan Stage:
What are the tools you will be using to manage your plan: to translate your marketing plan into actionable tasks, that will hold you accountable to ensure timely action, feed your channels, and measure your success?
Project management tools: A software-based support that helps you do things like manage timelines, assign tasks, check status updates, and communicate with stakeholders.
Examples of PM tools:
Automation tools: Marketing automation tools help businesses target customers with automated messages across email, web, social and text. Usually done via pre-defined workflows with custom-built templates.
Examples of automation tools:
- Active Campaign
- Constant Contact
- Trust Pilot
Metrics to Measure: How do you make sure you are achieving your goals?
Examples of digital marketing metrics:
- Sales revenue
- Net profit
- Total monthly visits
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
- Repeat Purchase Rate (RPR)
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
- Average time on page
- Click Thru Rate (CTR)
- Conversion Rate (CVR)
- SEO metrics
- Page views
- Unique visitors
- Email marketing metrics
- Social media marketing metrics
How to write a marketing plan template:
Need help with your plan? That’s what we are here for.
Need help creating a solid marketing plan? Do you want to make sure you can execute it? We offer a 12-month digital marketing strategy service for businesses just like yours. Don’t let all of that planning go to waste. Let us help you amplify your views, attract more customers, and increase your sales.