As a small business owner, you will have multiple priorities however at the top of the list will be to assess avenues available to get your brand name and your products to customers and build customer bases within your advertising budget. Unless you have a discernible path forward in the form of a marketing plan, you could be just spinning your wheels; spending hard-earned money, and valuable time with little return on investment. With an effective marketing plan, you can grow your business while keeping under budget.
A marketing plan is essential to defining and planning the strategies and tactics you will use to achieve brand awareness and drive sales.
Identify Your Target Audience
You may have already done your target audience research, but if you haven’t, the first step is to define your target audience and their main lifestyle choices. Would your target audience read a newspaper, be active on Instagram, or are they more likely to complete internet searches? All information related to your target audience is valuable, especially for a business owner looking to reach out to potential customers.
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a strategic direction that your business will take to reach your potential customers. A marketing plan is a document that details how, why, and when your advertising, targeted messages, and emails and other marketing assets will connect with your prospective customers. Your marketing plan should include your target audiences, how each audience best receives messages, and a timeline social media, advertising and public relations / publicity campaigns.
Why You Need a Marketing Plan
As stated above, a your marketing strategy is a deliberate course of action that is in line with the direction that your business is going strategically. Rather than producing advertising and other business communications ad hoc, a marketing plan creates a clear plan forward to reach a specific audience. With a solid marketing plan, a business can provide effective communications focused on a particular customer audience. Targeting an audience that follows your business’s strategies reduces your overall advertising costs, with a more effective outcome and return on investment.
A marketing plan also allows all of your employees and contractors to be on the same page when interacting with customers. Having a clear strategy laid out for your team to see and understand not only helps them reinforce your message and with word-of-mouth advertising, a clear marketing strategy is an effective method to evaluate employees for performance reviews.
Another reason why you need a marketing plan is to measure the effectiveness of your current marketing messages. When you have an effective marketing plan, your business should see a return of investment on the marketing budget that you spent. Also, if you discover that your marketing messages are not providing the investment return that your business is expecting, you to pivot and direct your message in a different way for future campaigns.
An effective marketing plan generates consistency in the messages you are producing. If you are trying to reach an audience that is too general, then your message could be inconsistent with your business direction and strategy, making it confusing for your customer. When a customer encounters your marketing messages, they should see a level of transparency and stability, so they will know what to expect when they visit your business.