It can be hard to decide on the right marketing plan for your business, which is why many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of following someone else’s.
No two businesses are exactly alike, which means rolling out a premade, pre-packaged marketing plan is probably gonna backfire!
And even if you’re able to model your own plan on a successful competitor’s, there’s no guarantee that what works for her will work for you.
I’ve talked to countless business owners who’ve tried buying cookie-cutter plans or using tactics from colleagues, and they all end up feeling like total failures.
Don’t let that happen to you!
You CAN create a marketing plan specific to your business. It’ll take some hard thinking and careful planning, but I promise you it’ll pay off in the end.
What is a Marketing Plan Anyway?
A marketing plan is a timeline or calendar specific to your promotional efforts.
It includes the launches of any new offerings, promos for existing products, and any other marketing efforts you want to undertake during a certain period of time.
It can be done monthly, quarterly, or yearly and at the very least it should include:
- An outline of your marketing and advertising goals
- A description of your business’s current marketing position
- A timeline for when your strategy will be complete
- Key performance indicators (KPI’s) that you will track
- A list of your business’s target market and needs
Sounds totally do-able, right? Here is a breakdown of how to create your own marketing plan in just 7 steps.
Marketing Plan Step #1: Write an executive summary
This sounds intimidating, but it’s really just a description of your business goals, plans, and ideas.
Instead of just listing them out, try to write a paragraph that explains what you want to accomplish, briefly touches on any budget constraints, and explains how success will be measured.
Here’s an example:
In the first quarter of [YEAR], I intend to launch a new online workshop, promote 2 evergreen offerings, and build my TikTok following by 10%. My budget for this quarter is $X, and I will use [TOOL] and [SOFTWARE] to track my metrics.
Marketing Plan Step #2: Decide on your goals
Your executive summary is very high-level and general, so although it touches on your goals it won’t get into too much detail.
The full marketing plan should include a list of business goals with notes on how you plan to accomplish them.
These should be metric-driven and very, VERY specific.
UNHELPFUL GOAL: I will increase my social media footprint
HELPFUL GOAL: I will build my TikTok following by 10% over the next 3 months. This means adding X followers. To accomplish this, I will use trending hashtags in every post, post only at ideal times of day, and create my own “challenges.”
Marketing Plan Step #3: Decide on your target audience
Who is your ideal customer?
If you don’t know, you can’t target them, and the prettiest graphics and best-written marketing copy won’t do you any good if they’re reaching the wrong people!
Start with a demographic profile (age, income, gender identity, location, etc.) then start adding interests until you’ve got a robust profile.
Then ask yourself:
- What goals do they have?
- What are their biggest problems?
- How can you solve their problems?
Marketing Plan Step #4: Research your competitors
While you don’t want to copy the exact marketing tactics your competitors use, you DO want to know how they’re strategically reaching your shared audience.
Your research should include:
- Who is on their marketing team, and how large that team is
- Who is on their leadership team
- Their most-used and most-successful marketing tactics
- Their marketing budget
- Their sales strategy
- Their social media strategy
- Anything you can track down about their financials, including rough income for the business, sales numbers, etc.
- Yearly growth, including social media footprint
- Approximate number of customers they have
If you can’t find all of this information, that’s totally fine.
The idea here is to get a sense of how much they’re spending and making, where they’re focusing their energies, and what’s working for them.
This will allow you to decide how you’ll follow suit, and how you’ll differentiate yourself in your own marketing plan.
Marketing Plan Step #5: Set baselines and metrics
It’s absolutely essential to build in some ways to measure your progress and success.
Otherwise, your marketing plan isn’t really a plan, it’s just a list of ideas!
Your baselines will allow you a starting point to track your progress, and your metrics will help you understand what’s working and what’s not.
Now, bear in mind that metrics can become a bit of a rabbit hole!
You don’t need to track every click, every action, and every path for every single customer on every single product.
Decide on the most important metrics to track, and focus on those. Otherwise, you’ll have a mountain of data and no time to analyze it.
Marketing Plan Step #6: Build out the plan itself
There’s nothing wrong with using an old-school spreadsheet or Word doc if that’s what feels best to you and your team … but there are a whole slew of amazing tools available if you want to do something more creative and visual.
You could try a:
- Mindmap to show how each part works as a whole
- Flowchart to map out your plan by its objectives
- Roadmap that breaks your plan down into smaller tasks
Marketing Plan Step #7: Start tracking right away
Write out a brief summary of how you plan to track and measure your results. This will save you time later on.
It should specify:
- What you are going to track
- How you will track the results
- How often you will measure the results
Again, you CANNOT skip this step!
Tracking your results and metrics is the only way to fully understand which marketing tactics are performing for you.
Without that insight, you won’t know how to pivot away from ineffective tactics or double-down on amazing ones.
Creating a marketing plan can be time-consuming but will yield better results than following a competitor’s plan or a ready-made plan.
When you work out strategic ways to appeal to your ideal customer, you are boosting your business’s potential for real growth.
And when that growth becomes trackable, it will make all that planning work worthwhile.
PS. Not sure what you should outsource in your business? Click here to take my free quiz to find out the #1 task that you need to outsource.