6 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan involves letting your prospective customers know about your product or services to persuade them to use or purchase them. Many businesses would fail without a solid marketing plan. Depending on the needs of your business, a marketing plan can help you to establish marketing strategies that can be changed over time. The following is an outline of steps to guide you on how to create an effective marketing plan.

Step 1: Define Your Business Goals

You must create a strategy for your marketing plan before you create it. The purpose is based on your long-term goals and objectives that guide all the efforts and decisions your business makes. After you establish the long-term goals, you can break them into specific short-term objectives that are measurable over a duration of time.

Step 2: Conduct a Marketing SWOT Analysis

The next step is to analyze your situation by conducting a SWOTanalysis  (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). This can give you a picture of the situations you may face when marketing your business. The strengths are what makes your business unique. On the other hand, weaknesses are the areas your business needs to improve on. Your competition, technology, economy, and other external factors make up your opportunities and threats.

Step 3: Define Your Target Market

Determining your target market is a key element in creating an effective marketing plan. Listing everything you know about your prospective customers is essential in this step. This includes geographic and demographic information such as age, location, and gender. Determine why they buy your products or use your services and the outlets they utilize to get information. Knowing your customers helps you in identifying marketing strategies and tactics.

Step 4: Outline Your Marketing Strategies and Channels

Your marketing strategies utilize the information you gathered when conducting research about your target market. As such, you can determine how your business can approach the market. It also helps you to identify what you can offer your customers that your competitors are not offering them. You can now select advertising and marketing channels that are fit for your business. It may include live events, social media platforms, email marketing, paid ads, TV advertising, or a marketing team.

Step 5: Set Your Marketing Budget

After identifying the marketing channels, you need to set a budget to identify what you can afford and what you cannot. It is wise to choose the options that are cost-effective to ensure the overall success of your marketing plan. Search engine optimization and paid ads on social media allow you to choose the money you can afford, making them accessible for your budget.

Step 6: Organize and Measure

This step involves defining marketing team roles to determine the timeframe you want to achieve results. Reviewing your marketing plan annually or quarterly ensures that there is optimal use of the resources available for maximum output. Measuring how effective your marketing strategies have been informs you about your current and future marketing plans. Your marketing channels like social media, website or other marketing materials will provide you with the information you need to track and measure performance.