Developing a marketing plan- how to!

Business Advice & Assistance Starting a Business

You’ve completed your business plan. It is now time to work on a marketing plan for your business!  In this increasingly busy and noisy world, you cannot assume that people will just “find” you or will recommend you to others.  You do actively need to work on your marketing in order keep a good pipeline of customers seeking you out.  Without a plan your marketing activity can get messy, expensive and lack direction.   So “how do I develop a marketing plan”?  This article will help you get the ball rolling.

A marketing plan does not have to be long and arduous, however, it does need to be a document you use regularly and refer to.  

1.    Current Situation 

This looks at the nature of the current market, what you are going to market, as well as your competition (some of this you have already completed in your Business Plan).

Your customers- who are they? What are their demographics (age, location, gender etc)?  How will they find your product?  What are their expectations?  What is their buying motivation?  What might they be concerned about when purchasing?

2.    Competitors

It’s unlikely that you are the only business offering your product or service, even if you provide the best service with the best product, it’s a good idea to understand who your competitors are and what they do really well.  So where to start? You have done some of this in your business plan, so this will add a layer of knowledge here.

Competitor Analysis- How many competitors will you have locally?  How do they get their marketing messages out to customers?  What are their online reviews like?  What are they doing really well?

3.    Marketing Channels

How you get your marketing messages to your potential customers is extremely important.  It might be tempting to “try everything”, but a scattergun approach can be expensive and time consuming, it can also be tempting to skip out on building a website and just place all of your efforts on social media.  The issue with this is that in the end, you don’t have control and changes in policy, or ownership could severely affect you.  The rule of thumb when you are looking at your marketing channels is to use a ratio of 2:1:1 (2 channels you control yourself, 1 channel that is “earned”, ie a review, and 1 paid channel).

Channels you control yourself are media like your website, your email database or any branded content you produce yourself.  Utilising this type of marketing channel means that you retain control and remove any reliance on someone else’s platform.  This should form the back bone of any marketing strategy.
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An “earned” marketing channel is exposure you receive organically through outside sources.  This could be guest posts on other websites, Search Engine Optimisation efforts, or any other coverage you receive elsewhere (such as partnerships with influencers).

Paid marketing channels, unsurprisingly are any media you pay for, such as Google Ads, Facebooks ads, TV, radio or print advertising.  The best way to find the paid media channel that works for you is to set yourself a budget and try different platforms at once. After a couple weeks of testing, see what’s working best and double down on that particular channel.

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4.    Understanding your sales funnel.  

Where are your sales coming from?  Do you know how your customers are finding you?

The number of touchpoints you need to make a sale or to convert a customer has been estimated to be 8 touchpoints.  To simplify this, you may need up to 8 touchpoints and/or follow-ups with a lead to close a sale.  For an online business, a sales funnel might look like this:

-    What drives a person to click through to the product page?
-    How that person adds a product to their cart?
-    And finally what happens when they get to the check out.

The sales funnel and the “how” and “what” made that process occur.  It’s called a funnel because the number of people at each step gets smaller and smaller.

The Sales Funnel

The goal is to guide potential customers through the entire buying process—from first finding out about your business or product to buying it—as seamlessly as possible.

5.    Create SMART Marketing Goals

Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant & Timely

By having SMART goals in place, you can make sure that your marketing goals align directly with your business goals.  In addition, you’ll have definitive metrics to track the success of your marketing strategy.   This might mean creating marketing goals that look like this:

-    I want to grow my mailing list to 50,000 subscribers by the end of the year
-    I want to create rank number one for the keyword “entrepreneur” by 2022
-    I want to track and measure the number of downloads and sales I receive from a series of downloadable e-books over a period of three months

To get started, download our Marketing Action Plan template from the Polaris website here.

Do you think you might need some help or direction completing your marketing plan or creating your SMART Marketing Goals and action plan?  Join in on a locally run business workshop or contact us here at the Polaris Centre to book in with one of our mentors.  Give us a call on (08) 8260 8205 or contact us via our website.

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