Having a sound marketing plan is the key to the success of any business marketing. But what are the essential components that will make marketing plans work?
The simple fact is that entrepreneur success is not just about making great products or offering excellent services, it’s also about marketing and getting your startup in front of your potential customers.
Everyone knows that your business needs customers to survive, can you deny that? But how do you get people to buy from you if they don’t know your business exists? This is where having a strong startup marketing plan will be of a great benefit.
Marketing plan components
So what should be in your startup marketing plan? How will you make your marketing plan work? These are the kind of questions you will be confronted with while working on your startup marketing plan.
What should be in your marketing plan? Well, it should include your market research, your location, and the customer group you have targeted.
Your marketing plan should also include your competition, positioning, the product or service you are selling, pricing, advertising, and promotion.
Go local with your marketing…
For your business marketing to be successful, effective marketing, planning, and promotion should begin with current information about the marketplace.
It’s important to start your business marketing from within the local community where your business is situated and operating.
Visit your local library, talk to customers, study the advertising of other businesses in your community, and consult with any relevant industry associations.
These interactions alone could help you assess your marketing strengths and weaknesses. Once you have all the necessary information, write down your plan as follows:
#1]. Define your business
Starting a new business requires How do you define your business? How will people differentiate your business from your competitors?
Your business definition starts from the kind of products or services that your business offers. What does your business offer? How does it differ from what other businesses are offering?
Your geographic marketing area is also important. This means you have to decide whether your targeted area is local, regional or national.
Also, you will have to take your competitors into consideration. How does your business differ from the competition – what makes you special? Your price?
Your business promotion methods and your competition’s promotion methods? Your distribution methods or business location?
#2]. Get your customer’s definition right
No doubt about it, every business needs customers to survive and this is why it’s very important for you to be able to define your customers.
So, do you know who your customers are? How do you find your first few customers? What is your current customer base; their age, sex, income, and neighbourhood?
Also, you should be able to know how your customers learn about your product or service. You ought to know whether your customers get you through such marketing channels as advertising, direct mail, word of mouth, Yellow Pages, and others.
This is essential because it will give you the opportunity to know which of the marketing channels bring the most customers.
Another thing you should know about your customer is the qualities they value most about your product or service – selection, convenience, service, reliability, availability, and affordability. This will enable you to make the proper adjustments necessary to serve your customers better.
#3]. Marketing plan and budget
Nowadays, marketing plan and budget are integral part of the ingredients of a successful business plan. As a small business owner, it’s important that you are able to define your marketing plan and budget.
The fact is that a properly defined business marketing plan will help make life easy for you. It will offer you the opportunity to have such knowledge as to how much your marketing strategies will cost compared to sales. You will also be able to evaluate the cost per customer.
Every successful marketing plan relies on a good budget. No matter how small your business may be, there is no way you can make your business marketing plan work without a considerable amount of money.
#4]. Overall promotional objectives
Another essential component in your marketing plan is your overall promotional objectives. What do you want to achieve with your plan?
Your main promotional objectives should be to communicate your message and create awareness of your product or service. Also, your objectives can be to motivate customers to buy and increase sales, or other specific targets.
The fact is that when your customers are motivated to buy, the end results will usually be sales and revenue generation. However, how do you maximise your small business marketing results within the limitations of your marketing budget?
Your marketing objectives will make it easier to design an effective campaign and help you keep that campaign on the right track. Once you have defined your objectives, it is easier to choose the method that will be most effective.
#5]. Get the right marketing channels
Having defined and planned your startup marketing budget, you will have to also define the marketing tools you can implement within your budget.
Depending on your marketing budget, marketing channels such as newspaper, magazine, or Yellow Pages advertising; radio or television advertising.
Also, you can use direct mail; telemarketing, and others. This will be particularly useful when it comes to investing ineffective marketing strategies.
Social media marketing and public relations activities such as community involvement, sponsorship, or press releases are also great marketing tools you can use.
#6]. Monitor and measure campaigns
Measuring your marketing campaigns is also essential. This is because it is the only way to determine the effectiveness of what you are doing.
Therefore, having mobilized your startup marketing campaign, your marketing analytics have to be closely monitored.
This means you should always monitor the traffic source to your business website, visitors’ activities, and the time spent on the site.
So, how well are you monitoring this? Also, you shouldn’t forget to check the conversions and determine how much improvement you noticed since the beginning of your marketing campaign.
For you to be able to improve on your marketing strategies, you should compare your campaign. This will help you determine which of the campaigns drive the most traffic. Also, you will be able to improve on weak areas.