5 Tips for Enhancing Your Company’s Marketing Plan
Ok, so you know you need marketing, but how thorough is your company's marketing plan? You also know you need a business plan, but a similarly outlined strategy for marketing is almost as important. So where should you start in putting your marketing plan into writing?
1. Consider Where You Marketing Efforts Stand Currently
To formulate your business plan, the first step in the marketing strategy should be a short description of your company's current situation, according to Entrepreneur magazine.
After defining your product or service, detail how you offer benefits to customers and also what sets you apart from your competitors. Successfully marketing your brand has a lot to do with how your company positions itself.
You also need to be able to describe what you're selling and have a clear understanding of what competitors are doing to demonstrate how your product provides better value. This is crucial because the market is increasingly competitive.
It's highly likely that another brand offers something similar, so you need to have a strong idea of your customer segments.
Acknowledge your business's strengths and weaknesses in your marketing snapshot.
Are you effectively targeting the right customers? Can you reach them through the channels they already use? Are there any external opportunities you may be missing?
2. Describe Your Target Audience
You will likely have a better idea of this after writing a brief description of your business, but a deep understanding of your customer base is crucial for selecting the right marketing channels and crafting an effective message. Many companies start by detailing the demographics of their target audience.
You also want to delve further into your audience by considering what their interests and values are. If you are a business-to-business brand, you may include your prospects' job titles, size of their companies or geographic location.
Being as specific about your customers as possible helps you create a more effective marketing campaign that will resonate with your target market.
3. Make Your Strategy
After outlining your business's position, target audience and marketing goals, you also should consider the tactics you'll use to connect with customers.
A successful marketing strategy can't function if you wait for your customers to come to you. Not even the best landing page can draw visitors in unless you lead those visitors in.
Businesses - especially startups - need to proactively attract visitors to generate new leads, Technically stated. Look, It doesn't matter how great your product or service is if no one can find it.
Yet, some companies go to the other extreme by overextending themselves in their marketing efforts. Although it's crucial to utilize the same channels as your audience, you don't want to overdo it, especially if you're just getting started.
It may be beneficial to start with a few channels at a time and gradually add more as your company grows or you notice new trends emerging within your audience.
4. Determine Your Budget
Developing a solid marketing budget is an important part of creating a plan of action that is realistic. Without a solid budget, you can accidentally overspend unnecessarily on marketing costs.
There are an overwhelming number of useful inbound marketing tactics, but you have to stick to a finite budget. So, you may ask how can you choose? Well, the first step is determining how much you should spend over the course of the year.
Companies with smaller budgets need to select the tactics that have the best chance of delivering high return on investment and increase brand awareness.
As we said before, one of the most important considerations for budgeting is assessing which channels your target audience is using.
Even if an inbound tactic delivers high ROI, it won't matter much if it doesn't match your ideal customers' behavior.
5. Build a Content Marketing Calendar
The benefit of using the calendar format, rather than just a long list of content to be published, is that you can visualize how your content is distributed throughout the year.
This allows you to:
- Plan content around key events in your industry or important dates;
- See where you have gaps in your content plan, with plenty of warning to line up more content;
- Make sure you have your content ready in plenty of time to publish.
- Make your content more consistent
In general the further ahead you plan your digital content the better positioned you’ll be to produce a consistent flow of content that builds your brand’s perceived expertise in your chosen subject areas.
The biggest work in a content calendar is the pre-planning you’ll do prior to marking up your calendar.
First you’ll need to determine the dates of your major events of the year. Is there a special luncheon or seasonal sale you’d like to promote? Note that, as well as any peak sales seasons you’ll want to take advantage of. Once you’ve done that, it’s important to determine:
- The date the content will be published
- The topic or headline of the content piece
- The owner of the content – i.e., who is in charge of making sure the content makes it from ideation to publication and promotion
- The current status of the content (updated as it moves through your publishing cycle)
- The channels where your content will be published
- Content formats: Is it a blog post? A video? A podcast? An infographic? An original image?
Marketing Planning Checklist
Let’s sum up these tips with this useful checklist. So, before you create your company’s marketing plan take a look at this, and check and see how many of these points you’ve already applied.
- Describe your company's current situation
- Determine your Marketing goal
- Identify and describe your target audience
- Decide which marketing tactics you’ll use
- Establish your Marketing budget
- Create your content marketing calendar