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Your marketing plan is one of the most powerful resources that you have available to you. It’s a little bit like a map that you’ll follow into the future, and it should cover everything from your target audience to the channels that you plan to use and the messaging that you’ll develop.
Marketing plans are often broken up into short-term (1 – 3 months), medium-term (3 months – 1 year) and long-term (1 year – 5 years+) phases and are typically developed by a company’s marketing department and presented to the board for sign-off. The goal is to create a thorough plan that the company can follow when developing marketing campaigns and trialing new tactics.
But what exactly should an outstanding marketing plan contain? Let’s find out how to write a marketing plan.
Writing an Outstanding Marketing Plan
1. Know your audience
How to write a marketing plan? The very first thing that you need to think about is who you’re trying to reach with your marketing efforts. It’s not good enough just to say “potential customers”.
- what those customers look like;
- research their demographics and consider creating buyer personas — i.e. written descriptions of typical customers, attached to a photograph and a fictitious name.
2. Know your goals
Now that you know who you’re trying to reach, the next step of creating a marketing plan is to think about what you hope to achieve by reaching them. Your goals will differ drastically depending upon why you’re turning to marketing in the first place. Perhaps you’re hoping to increase engagement or perhaps you’re trying to score direct sales or carry out customer service. Once you know what your goals are, you need to set key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you to track your progress. These KPIs are essentially individual metrics (such as the number of shares you receive or the number of sales that came through your marketing efforts) and will help you to make sure that what you’re doing is making a difference.
3. Know your channels
Now that you know who you want to reach and what you want to achieve by reaching them, the next step is to identify which marketing channels are going to be most effective. Younger consumers might be active on Snapchat and Instagram, but that’s not going to do you much good if you sell stair lifts. If you’re targeting older customers, it may make more sense to use radio and direct mail. You need to use whatever works for you, and not just whatever seems popular at the time.
4. Know your message
Once you know who you’re trying to reach, the goals that you have and the channels that you’re going to use to reach them, the next step is to develop the messages that you’re going to use. The messaging will depend upon your goals because getting engagement is one thing and driving direct sales is something else.
5. Know your call-to-action
You’ll also want to think about developing a call-to-action. This is essentially a button or a short piece of text that tells people what action you want them to take, such as “buy now” or “share this post”. If you’re struggling to get your message just right, consider working with a copywriting specialist like EssayOnTime. They’ll be able to cast their eyes over it and make suggestions on how it could be improved.
Writing an awesome marketing plan is all about getting the foundations in place for your company to continue to grow using everything from social networking sites to direct mail and cold calling. What your marketing plan looks like is up to you, your industry and the people you’re trying to reach, but having a plan in place will at least mean that you’re starting off on the right foot.
The good news is that now you know the five fundamentals of an outstanding marketing plan:
Thinking about these five fundamentals first will help to make sure that you’re focussing on the right areas and … Congrats! Now you know how to write a marketing strategy! Good luck.
Yan Anderson is the Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart with over 10 years of experience in the eCommerce industry. He's passionate about explaining complicated things in simple terms. Yan has expertise in building, running and growing eCommerce marketplaces. He loves to educate people about best practices, new technologies, and trends in the global eCommerce industry.