When you’re starting from scratch, creating a marketing plan can feel overwhelming. The best way forward is to break this seemingly daunting task into easy-to-digest parts. Let’s consider the four steps to creating your ideal plan.
1. Position Your Product
It’s common for business owners to the blur the delicate line between promotion, public relations, and advertising. Your overall marketing plan should focus on one key element: getting your product or service in front of your ideal demographic – not to look for the largest overall audience. Your goal is not just to raise awareness, but to position your product specifically in front of those who are likely to want or need it.
2. Listen to Your Customers
When it comes down to it, customers are really the only ones who matter. Unless you’re a pre-revenue company, you already have some satisfied customers. Talk to them and find out what got them interested in your company, how they found out about you, and what made them purchase your product or service.
3. Draft Your Marketing Plan
Once you have an idea of your demographic and what’s worked and hasn’t worked for your company in the past, it’s time to sit down and create your plan. Start with a summary of your current position and your goals. Then define exactly what you hope to accomplish and set a specific time frame. Write a list of target markets, including niche areas, then create a list of strategies that would be appropriate for each of those markets.
Take a look at your expenses and your current resources, and make a plan for how they should be allocated. Look to your marketing channels and decide what types of materials are going to work best for your company. They might include flyers, email, newsletter, websites, and more. Then consider your competitor’s strategies and how you’ll respond to them. For example, if they undercut your price, how will your company respond?
4. Track Results
If you’ve never created a marketing plan, it’s unlikely you’ll have total success your first time around – and that’s OK. Just be sure to track your results so you can identify what worked and what didn’t. You can then adjust your plan as needed to reach your target demographic.