A strategic marketing plan provides direction for success
What is a marketing plan?
Your business growth is the result of your marketing efforts coupled with your sales team's ability to close each deal. A marketing plan is a one year plan that is tailored to your business growth projections. It contains concrete actions that you will execute in the form of marketing campaigns in order to meete your sales goals.
What information does a marketing plan contain?
Once your marketing plan is completed, you will have an action plan that will convey your marketing efforts over the course of one year. You will have a full SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis for your use in understanding your current position in comparison to the current environment that you face. In addition, your plan will include key performance indicators (KPI), buyer personas, and a competitive analysis.
The executive summary section is a short summary about your business, which if your business has not started yet will then include an overview of what your business is about, where it is located, where you sell your products and/or services. If you are already operational, then this section will summarize some general information about your business and its operations, your mission, top key accomplishments, and your brand's identity.
The executive summary will then go into a summation about the information specific to the marketing campaigns that are driving this marketing plan. How the marketing campaigns will advance your new business or improve upon past marketing efforts for an existing business. The summary section will set expectations for your future accomplishments.
Marketing Campaign Goals
What are your goals for the next year. The marketing campagin goals section will provide a snapshot of the end result with the metrics to track for the next year. For example, gain an additional fifty customers through our website by using keyword search results where potential new customers click a link to view the products on our company ecommerce website and make a purchase. The campaign goals section will continue to list your goals. For example, you may have a goal to increase your newletter subscriber count by one-hundred new registered readers.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
There are many key performance indicators that you can measure. Your KPI section will provide you with KPIs that tie into the type of marketing campaigns that you are going to run. You want to collect metrics that provide you with information that is relevant to your efforts so that next year you are able to adjust your campaigns where you receive the best results. Some KPIs that you measure include: Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Return on Investment (ROI), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Follower Growth, Conversion Rates, Website Visitors, Social Media Engagement, Referral Traffic, Event Attendance, and Customer Retention Rates.
Your plan will include a buyer personas based on your ideal cusomer that you will target. This will be a best case person that you create based on past sales as well as marketing research. For example, you want to know what is the buyer profile including age, income, where they live, do they own a home or rent, what is their occupation. An important part of this profile is how this person gains information. Do they use search engines and read blogs, do they look for coupons, do they seek word of mouth or reviews, and so forth. This section will also provide keyword analysis with scores. For example, what relevant keywords do people use when they search for the products and/or services that you provide. How does the target market like to make a purchase? Do they like to call a rep on the phone, click a buy now button on a website, or do they want an app. Another piece of the puzzle to include is how much time they spend on social media and other channels like magazines.
The competitor analysis section is another research section; however, this time you are looking at your competitors. This section takes your brand and compares it to similar businesses that sell your same or similar products and/or services. By using research companies like the Forward Report and Ahrefs, this section will include how your competitors are leveraging keywords and the SEO content to attract viewers. The Forward Report examines your competitors social media accounts for content as well as how they engage their followers. You may consider adding yourself to email lists such as newsletters and promotions of your competitors to watch the traffic, content, promotions, tips, and other information that they publish to their subscribers.
The action plan section is your plan to execute for the year. This section includes each of your planned campaigns with details on each campaign name, the target date as well as target completion date, the budget for the campaign, any milestones, which channels you will use to reach your target market, what you are marketing such as a brand awareness campaign, a product closeout campaign, a sale that will bring in new customers, or a cross sales promotion. Lastly, the content that will be included in the campagin.
Now we will tie back into your KPIs. This section discusses how you will track your milestones and KPIs. The methods that you will use to monitor your results are provided. You will track each campaign and have a full picture at the end of the year which means that you can answer the questions regarding your marketing campaigns and their return. Which of your marketing campaigns had the best return? What was your conversion rate each month and which campaigns did you run where you had the best results? What content did you publish that provided you the best results? Take a look at your metrics to understand which KPIs are improving, which are stagnant, and which are falling. What can you change for next year? What campaings would you like to continue to use? The practice of a routine that you follow in terms of analyzing your KPIs will help you understand the return you are getting with your marketing budget. The better you get at tracking your results, the greater the efficiency with investing marketing dollars for the profits that you make.
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