All businesses should have one thing in common in order to be successful - a marketing plan. Like anything you attempt in life from a recipe to running a marathon, without any form of strategy in place the whole concept is likely to go down the drain. When it comes to running a business the same ethos is true, in that you need to know who your audience is and what your goals are to connect said audience with the product or service you can provide to them.
As with any plan there needs to be substance behind your thought process and how you intend to achieve your goal. After all, it’s all well and good saying you’re going to reach £1 million in your first year of business, but if the word isn’t getting out about what you do the chances of that happening are slim at best. So, what exactly is a marketing plan and how do you go about creating one for your business? Here’s everything you need to know.
Your customers shouldn’t feel like they are sitting across from you in a game of ‘Guess Who?’. You need a clear idea of who your business is and who you are looking to attract. We’re not trying to crush anyone’s enthusiasm here but “everyone” isn’t a proper answer. If you don’t know your target audience any marketing plan you create going forward will sink faster than a post-X-Factor solo career. Whether you are creating the plan internally or with a marketing agency - your identity is something every member of the team should know inside out.
The main factors to consider are age, gender and if applicable profession. While neither category needs to be a ring-fenced option, equally going too broad can create issues. For example, a tailoring company in the city of London would have a demographic of male office workers aged 25-40. If the same company redesigned its logo but aimed it at primary school kids the marketing would be mismatched to the target demographic. That's why whatever your company sells - the audience needs to be immediately apparent with every piece of marketing material you put out there. Otherwise, you’ll confuse the audience and fail to attract regular clientele to keep the business afloat. People are attracted to clear, simple communication so remember that.
Be realistic here. What is your business capable of and where do you want to take it? Your goal primarily will be overall sales. However, it may also include things such as growing your mailing list or followers on social media. After all, these days the two go hand in hand. An example would be a restaurant that needs to make £1,000 to cover its overheads. Now you’re armed with that information is all about creating a marketing plan to help you achieve that goal.
Ideally, you should see a growth in profits year on year as you start to see results from your marketing plan. Implementing feedback from your customers is also important for becoming stronger as a business. With so much competition businesses can’t afford to rest on their laurels and ditch marketing. That’s why you should always have a fixed goal in mind and have a plausible strategy to achieve it.
You first need to come up with a message and work out the best way to convey it. Marketing can be communicated via a blend of physical and digital techniques. A general list includes physical interaction, telephone, letter/leaflet, billboard, email, social media and digital adverts. Your method is going to depend on a few factors including demographics as well as budget. For example, if you run an online fitness class social media would be an ideal choice for your marketing rather than calling people up.
Another aspect to consider is frequency. Social media marketing is one of the most popular ways to market businesses in the digital age because of the huge potential audience figures. Companies who have a social media marketing plan will need to create content ahead of time (1-3 months ahead on average) and create tailored images, messages and links. Every message will promote a different aspect of the business or could also be purely for engagement to help boost followers. Either way, there needs to be a clear purpose behind what you are selling and how you plan to achieve it.
The litmus test for any marketing plan is whether people take your bait or not. For example, if your social media posts aren’t getting much traction, why is this? Could it be the message wasn’t clear or the image was a poor choice? Perhaps the posts were even timed wrong and nobody saw it? Whatever method of marketing you use, you should always look to find or what’s working and what’s not. If sales aren't being generated it's always worth refining your marketing strategy.
These days with digital marketing the range of analytical tools available makes this easier than ever. It’s even possible to see where people are clicking on your website and how long they stay on there before exiting. Regularly reviewing your marketing plan and wider strategies are what sets apart the successful from the weak. At this point, it’s important to go back to your original goal. Is your marketing plan actually delivering on what you set out to achieve? If not, don’t delay in taking action. If it is congrats! Now stick to your winning formula and look to do even better.
Creating a marketing plan for your business is integral to the success of your company going forward. However, in order to do so, you need to know who you are, what you are setting out to do and how you are going to do it. Approaching each stage with enthusiasm and dedication is what’s needed here. After all, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is - if nobody knows about it then it won’t succeed and neither will your business.
Here at Imaginaire, marketing is what we do. If you’d like to find out more about creating a marketing plan, sprucing up your website or even getting started with digital advertising you're in the right place.
Give us a call on 0115 939 7572 to find out more about creating a marketing plan for your business.