Every smart business owner knows the value of writing a business plan. A business plan serves as a guide to achieve success. However, one of the most important aspects of a business plan is the marketing strategy. But first, have you ever thought of writing a comprehensive marketing plan for your business? Or do you keep on procrastinating?
Whether you’re starting a new business or promoting one of your latest products, the importance of marketing plan cannot be overemphasized. As a small business owner, you are not only saddled with the responsibility of drafting an effective strategic plan but also how it should be implemented. In this case, a plan can come in handy in guiding you through your day to day operational activities and how to maximize the available resources.
Fortunately, writing a marketing plan doesn’t take much time. Here are some essential tips for writing a marketing plan for your business.
1. Who Are Your Target Audience?
The first set is identifying your customers. This doesn’t have to be too broad neither does it has to be too narrow. Be more precise when painting a picture of your target audience. Learn to be specific. You need to know the category of people that are a perfect fit for your product or service. Is it possible that your products address the needs of customers outside your specifics? The more specific you are about choosing your ideal target audience the more detailed your marketing plan. Apparently reaching your target customers will be easier.
2. What Are Your Goals?
Be precise when stating your goals and objectives. Of course, we know that your primary aim is to increase brand awareness. But what we want to know is how do you plan to achieve that? What should potential customers do after seeing your adverts? Are you offering freebies for upgrading an existing product? Will they enjoy any incentive by downloading your brand’s mobile app? What kind of action do you want your target audience to take? By providing answers to these questions, consider your business goals accomplished.
3. How Do You Attract Customers?
Now that you know your target audience and what actions they should take, the next step is to think of the most appropriate way to reach them. Your message should not only be compelling but also attractive. To do this, here are some things to consider
- What associations does your target audience have?
- Do they use social media more often?
- What is their favorite print or online media?
- Do they have any specific problem that you need to address? Of course, they do.
- What makes your product unique?
- Why should your target audience use your product or service?
4. Identify Your Competitors
Regardless of how unique your product or service might be, you’re not alone. There are hundreds of competitors for your target audience. Unfortunately, small businesses pay less attention to conducting a thorough research about their competitors. And this is one of the reasons why they fail in the first few years of starting a business.
Knowing who your competitors are, what they do, and their competitive advantage will help you design an effective strategic plan to make your brand stand out. Find out about their strength and weaknesses and capitalize on that.
5. What Makes Your Brand Unique?
What are you bringing to the table? Are you offering something new? Is there any specific pain your brand is addressing? Design something captivating that will not only help you meet customer’s need but also stand out among the vast sea of competition. Your strongest competitive advantage lies in providing a lasting solution to the pain in the market
Now that you know what you should include in your marketing plan, the big question is how do you reach your target audience? Consider using the following marketing and sales strategies to increase customer base
- Aggressive marketing through modern (social media, blogs, online ads) and traditional (magazines, radio, handbills, posters) methods
- Leverage on the benefits of the Yellow pages
- Engage direct marketing approach
- Word of mouth marketing and referrals from loyal customers