So you want to get your business off the ground, but don’t know where to begin?
For some reason, it seems like those “get rich quick” books aren’t really helping you.
If you’re reading this article, it’s most likely that
a) you have no idea where to even begin with marketing your business or
b) you’re struggling and need some tips on the best ways to do so
A full-fledged marketing plan can be a crucial aspect of planning a company’s success.
It’s not just about willpower and money.
There is a lot of planning involved and that’s why I have written this article for you. I will outline a few important tips and questions that every businessperson should ask themselves before crafting one.
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What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a written document that describes your current marketing situation and outlines your marketing strategy for the coming year.
It includes a detailed breakdown of your current and future potential target markets, competitor analysis, and insights into how you can improve upon your overall sales and retention rates.
A startup marketing plan doesn’t have to be a 100-page document.
In fact, it shouldn’t be! You need an agile marketing plan that works as a living document, giving you room to maneuver as your business continues to evolve and grow.
Need for a Startup Marketing Plan
Marketing is important, but making a marketing plan is hard. What do you include? Where do you start? It can feel like an impossible task.
Simply put, there are many reasons for creating a startup marketing plan:
- It helps you gain a clear understanding of your current customers and target audience.
- It helps you map out ways to reach new customers.
- It helps you create realistic goals for the near future (and long term).
- It gives you a reason to evaluate how well your current strategies are working (and what needs to change)
No matter what you are selling or who you are selling to, marketing can help expand your business and make it more profitable. You’ve probably heard that word of mouth is the best form of marketing, but it’s not always possible or practical.
If you need to get the word out about your products or services, you need to create a marketing plan.
X Steps to Creating an Effective Marketing Plan
So, you’re a startup founder (or maybe a marketer at an established company) and you need to put together a marketing plan. You’ve got the task, but where do you begin?
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
The first step in creating any kind of plan is to identify your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish with your marketing?
These could be things like increasing your brand awareness, boosting sales by X% over the next month, or getting more people to sign up for your email list.
Whatever the case may be, write a few specific goals that will serve as the focus of your plan and strategy.
Step 2: Identify Your Buyers’ Personas
Once you know what you want to achieve with your marketing goals, the next step is figuring out who you need to reach in order to accomplish those goals.
This can include identifying demographics like age, gender, location, and income level (more on this below).
But it also includes identifying the specific kinds of people that you want to reach—their hopes, dreams, and desires.
What do they care about? What do they value? Why would they care about your product or service?
This is all about understanding what motivates potential customers so that you can create.
Step 3: Understanding The Problem Your Product Solves
Now you need to know what problem your product solves for your target audience.
A great way to do this is by thinking about why YOU would buy the product—what problem would it solve for you?
If you can’t come up with something specific, then it might be a sign that the product isn’t solving any real problems for people, which means you have some refining to do before you even start thinking about writing a marketing plan for it.
Step 4: Analyze Your Tactics
Don’t jump in head-first. It takes time to develop a good marketing strategy. You should start by doing some market research to better understand the needs of your target customers.
Then, come up with a plan for how you’ll address those needs and go after them!
Focus on customer experience over product features.
Simply put, effective marketing is all about the experience—you want to make sure that every single touchpoint with your brand helps customers feel like they’re valued.
The best way to do this? Tell stories through content or events instead of just listing product specs or services offered. Make your brand stand out from competitors by showing people what makes it unique!
Step 5: Set Your Budget
Marketing is a lot like dating—if you want to be effective, you’ve got to invest.
The first thing to consider when setting your marketing budget is the percentage of your total revenue that should go to marketing. If you’re a startup, that number is maybe 15%, while if you’ve been around for a while and are looking to expand, it’s probably closer to 5%.
Once you know how much of your revenue, you’re willing to spend on marketing, think about what types of marketing are going to help you reach your goals.
Are you trying to hire more people? In that case, Facebook ads might be the way to go. Looking for higher conversion rates? You might want to try out some landing pages and A/B testing.
Finally, do some research into your competitors’ marketing budgets and see what makes sense for your business. If they’re spending a lot on ads and you’re looking for high conversion rates, maybe put more money into your landing pages than into ads; if they’re spending more on social media than on ads and have higher brand awareness than conversion rates, maybe it’s time for you to shift some money from social media into ads without losing too much brand awareness.
Some Tools That Can Help You Plan Better
A good marketing plan template can help you streamline your marketing plan process. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to coming up with a marketing plan that works for your business and gets your products into the hands of people who will love them.
Project Management Tool
Project management is like being an air traffic controller: everything has to come in and out at just the right time, without crashing into each other.
But instead of planes, you’re dealing with all the different tasks that are involved in a marketing campaign, from writing copy to scheduling posts to getting translations done.
Hence, the importance of a project management tool can not be stressed enough!
With a project management tool, keeping track of who’s doing what and when they’re doing, it is super easy—no need to spend hours sifting through emails or wading through sticky notes.
Instead, you’ll have everything you need to know right at your fingertips: who needs to do what by when? And have they done it yet? Checking on progress is as simple as opening up your task list in project management software.
Content Management System
CMS software allows you to create and distribute content through various channels without having to keep track of passwords for social media sites or manually update your website. This saves time and makes it easier for anyone in your company to publish the information.
With an integrated project management tool, you can get a more holistic picture of the whole process, making it easier to coordinate between teams and make data-driven decisions when you need them.
As the great poet and philosopher Kanye West once said, “We are all self-conscious. I’m just the first to admit it.”
And that’s exactly how we feel about marketing too. We know we’re supposed to be out there hawking our wares, but few of us do it in a way that feels authentic or meaningful.
And as entrepreneurs, we want to make sure what we’re putting out into the world is true to our values and bringing value to others.
But we also know that if you don’t have a marketing plan in place, your brilliant product will probably end up sitting in a warehouse somewhere gathering dust instead of making its way into the hands of customers who need it.
That’s why we put together this article: to help you create an effective marketing plan, so you can keep putting your best foot forward in the world without losing sight of who you are as a person and business.
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