9 Steps to create a Simple Marketing Plan

Posted on November 28, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Planning, Marketing, Marketing Plan, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , |

9 Steps to Create a Simple Marketing Plan
Having a Marketing Plan to grow your business is important, but sometimes creating the plan can feel overwhelming.  This Blog Post simplifies the creation of your Marketing Plan, by breaking it down into 9 questions.  When you answer these questions, you will create a simple marketing plan for your business:

  1. WHO is your target market?
    You have to clearly define who you are trying to reach with your products and/or services.  When you understand who your audience is, you are better able to market and promote to that target audience, so clearly define you target market including the demographics (age, gender, income, etc.) and pyschographics (beliefs, personality, hobbies, etc.)  and this will help you to effectively market and promote your product or service to your target audience.
  2. WHAT is the problem that your target market has?
    You have to clearly identify what problem or issue your target market may have.  Most, if not all, products or services offer a solution to some type of problem.  It may be a direct problem or an indirect problem, but your target market should have some type of problem that your product or service will help to alleviate.
  3. HOW does your product or service solve these problems?
    After identifying the problem your target market has, now you have to show how your product or service solves that problem.  It is important to not only identify the features of your product or service, but more importantly to identify the benefits of your product or service.  People identify better with benefits rather than features.  Saying your product is “light weight” is a feature, mentioning that your product is “easy and convenient to carry with you because it is light weight” is showing how that feature is a benefit.  Taking the time to identify how you solve the problem and clearly articulating that in your marketing material will work to your advantage.
  4. WHERE is your Target Market?
    The next step in your Marketing Plan is locating the target market that you have identified.  The key is to find the places that your target market exists in large quantities.  This is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to your marketing activity.  The more people you can reach who are in your target market and are located in one place (an event, conference, workshop, etc.) the better results you will be able to get from your marketing activity.  You can find your target market in various places both online and offlline.
  5. HOW Do You Reach your Target Market? 
    Once you have located your target market, then you need to plan how you would like to reach them.  What activities will you do to reach your target market.  There are over 1,000 ways to reach your target audience (networking, advertising, email, video, speaking engagements, books, etc.)  so you have to decide what method works best for your industry, your company, and your audience.
  6. WHO are your ideal referral partners?
    Referrals can be one of the best ways to grow your business, so including in your marketing plan who your ideal referral partners are and working to build relationships with your ideal referral partners can really help you to grow your business.  If you are able, including some type of incentive for referrals works really well.
  7. WHAT differentiates your company from all the other companies in the marketplace? 
    It is important to not only identify who your competitors are, but to identify how your company is different from the others in the marketplace.  Once you clearly identify what makes you different than your competitors, then you are better able to articulate that in your marketing material to your clients and prospects.
  8. WHEN do you reach out to your target market and how much do you spend?
    Planning your activity is a very important step that many small business owners and entrepreneurs neglect to do.  The key to planning when you are going to reach out to your target audience and how much you are going to spend is to create a marketing calendar.  This calendar will allow you to plan out when you will be doing certain marketing activities, what that marketing activity will be, and how much you plan to spend on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.  Taking the time to do this activity can make a huge difference in the growth of your business.
  9. WHAT headlines will you use to catch the attention of your target audience
    Thinking about the words that you are going to use to catch the attention of your target audience is very important, so taking the time to think about relevant keywords for your audience and your company will help you to craft the appropriate headlines for your marketing material.

Have you created a Marketing Plan for your business?  If so, are there other aspects of your Marketing Plan that you include?

If you need assistance with creating a Marketing Plan for your business, we offer Marketing Plan Coaching for entrepreneurs and small business owners contact us to learn more.

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Learn How to Create a SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE Marketing Plan

Posted on December 2, 2013. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Marketing, Small Business, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

marketing-strategy-planYou may have heard that all small businesses should have a marketing plan, but did you know that very few actually take the time out to create one.  The task of creating a marketing plan may seem daunting and intimidating, but you can create a simple and effective marketing plan by answering the following 8 key questions about your business:

  1. Who is your target market?

    You’ve probably heard this before, but it is VERY important to understand exactly who your target market is for your product or service.  When it comes to understanding your target market, it is not limited to just knowing the demographics like the age range, gender, geographical location, income level, etc., but also knowing the psychographics of your target market.  This includes items such as belief system, personality traits, attitude, etc.  Once you understand the demographics and psychographics of your target market, then your marketing effort becomes much easier!

  2. What is the problem that your target market has (as it relates to your product or service)?

    List specific problems that your target market has as it relates to your product or service. žImagine how these problems make your target market feel stressed out, overwhelmed, uncertain, etc. Once you fully understand how your target market feels, you will be better able to communicate effectively to your target audience!

  3. How does your product or service solve that problem?

    žBe sure to focus on how the benefits of your product or service solves their problems.  You can mention some product features, but the benefits are what people are interested in. Benefits focus on the advantages i.e. your product makes a person look younger, become healthier, etc., and features focus on the characteristics of your  product or service i.e. over 10 years on the market, fast acting, etc. Your message should be 80% about the benefits of your product or service, and only 20% about the features!  

  4. Why should they buy from you and not your competitors?

    žWhat is your unique selling proposition? These are the things that make you and/or your company different. Your customers want to know what makes you better than your competitors.The more able you are to effectively communicate why your company is the best solution, the better your marketing efforts will be.

  5. Where is your target market?

    You need to find out where your target market is located geographically and specific locations. This could include local (cities, counties, etc.), international (countries). žPlaces could include associations, festivals, groups, organizations, etc.Find out where your target market is in large quantities, so you can reach them in large quantities.

  6. How do you reach your target market?

    Are you reaching out to your target offline through networking, advertising, media, or žonline through your website, social networks,blogging, etc.You should have several ways both online and offline to reach out to your target market.

  7. When do you reach out to your target market?

    Create a marketing calendar. Plan out the next 90 days, 6 months, to a year of marketing activity.  Schedule your activity daily, monthly, quarterly, and stay organized.Plan out your marketing activity in advance in order to successful execute your marketing activities.

  8. What do you say to your target market?

    How you communicate to your target market can make the difference between success and failure.  Use messaging that your target market can understand and relate to.Use appropriate messaging that your target market can relate to.  žKnow the best keywords and buzz words to use in your content.

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