In order to be successful, you have to have a clear plan in place. That is never truer than when you are entering the murky world of marketing. Marketing is one of those words that makes people feel slimy. Marketing is often synonymous with sales. Don’t be misled. Being a great marketer is essential to your business. You don’t have to be a snake oil salesman to make a great plan.
When you get started on creating a marketing plan, there are several steps you need to take in order to cover every aspect.
Part One: Your Market
First, you’ll need to do a little market research. There’s no need to hire a consultant or bring in an “expert” who probably won’t know as much as you already do. Instead, focus on these areas, and find the answers yourself by placing a few phone calls and using a search engine when necessary.
Size - How many “widget buyers” are there? Remember to limit your search to your region, whether it’s just a couple of cities or towns, the country or the world.
Wealth - How much room is there in your market? How much money do consumers have to spend on these “widgets”?
Competition - How many “widget makers” are out there? Are there national or global competitors that you have to consider?
Value - What do you offer that's special? It may be your world class customer service experience or the quality difference in your widgets.
Part Two: Next Steps
Keywords - What keywords do you need to target to make you stand out in your market? Start by identifying three key elements to focus on.
Success - Determine what your rate of success will be for your marketing plan. It could be 500 new clients a month or just three first time consumers in a month.
Conversion Rate - Predict what your conversion rate will be in your new marketing approach. One out of X number of viewers or readers will sign up or make a purchase.
Core Metrics - Now get some concrete numbers by multiplying the conversion rate by the determination of success. If 1 of 10 followers on Twitter actually make a purchase, then you’ll need 10 times your success rate for earning followers.
Budget - Using these core metrics, you have an idea of where to set your budget. How many resources do you need to devote to this new marketing plan? This is why many small businesses are turning to social media more and more.
Following this check-list is a great way to get your marketing plan off the ground. In a few short months, you’ll have a great system in place. You can re-evaluate some of your numbers and determine how accurate your predictions were. Then, it’s back to the drawing board to launch the next phase of your marketing campaign. It’s an ongoing cycle that you’ll get better at every time.