How does your business get the most out of marketing?
Do you plan out every detail? Should you focus on up-and-coming platforms or focus solely on established marketing strategies?
In truth, marketing shouldn’t be complicated. Even more so, effective marketing starts with creating a marketing plan.
With a marketing plan, you’ll have a framework to help you and your team prioritize essential work that delivers the highest gains.
Crafting a strategic marketing plan for your company helps you set and achieve business goals while enabling your team to adapt to changes in the market.
What makes a good marketing plan
A great marketing plan strengthens team alignment, improves organization, and keeps all your marketing activities on track.
A marketing plan delivers three key components to your business:
- Delivers clarity to your business practices.
- Allows you to define your key performance strategy.
- Details how to implement those strategies.
Typically, a marketing plan will provide an overview of your business’s marketing and advertising goals, as well as a description of your business’s current marketing position. A good plan should outline a timeline of when tasks within your strategy will be completed, and which key performance indicators (KPIs) you will be tracking.
A well-defined plan will help you stay focused on your high-level marketing goals.
Six steps to creating a successful marketing plan
The steps that follow are just an outline to create your first marketing plan. As you continue to grow and create additional plans for successive campaigns, you might find yourself following the steps in a different order, or changing steps entirely. The steps we recommend are as follows:
1.) Develop a strategy
Every strong marketing plan starts with setting a clear marketing strategy. You might be wondering, What’s the difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy informs the marketing plan, which outlines the types and timing of marketing activities. Put simply: a marketing strategy is a theory, the marketing plan is the action. You’ll want to build your marketing plan around your marketing strategy.
No matter what type of marketing plan you need to create, to first determine your marketing strategy, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- First, do I have the resources I need?
- What is the vision?
- What is the value?
- What is the goal?
- Who is my audience?
- What are my channels?
- What is the timeline?
The answers to these questions will help you to frame your work, and give a general overview of where and how you should aim your efforts.
2.) Determine your KPIs
Now that you’ve got your marketing strategy set, it’s time to define what your key marketing metrics will be. Your key metrics will help you measure and track the performance of your marketing activities. They’ll also help you understand how your efforts tie back to your larger objective.
For example, if your primary goal is to increase qualified leads, then leads will be a key metric. You’ll want to ask yourself, “How many leads do I need to target to consider this marketing plan a success? How many leads do I expect each marketing activity to generate?” These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself when defining your key metrics. You want to know what the goal expectations are for your marketing plan before jumping in with both feet.
It is important to remember that an effective marketing plan focuses on specific and attainable goals. It may seem enticing to focus your efforts on creating a viral social media post, but if you don’t have any experience in that, you’ll probably want to scale down your goal.
3.) Write and share bold creative
Did you know that 32 percent of marketers say images are the most important form of content for their business? Having a clear brand and creative strategy is a huge part of every great marketing plan. When defining your creative strategy, think about your audience — what you want them to feel, think, and do when they see your marketing.
Will your audience find your creative work relevant? If your audience can’t relate to your creative, they won’t feel connected to the story you’re trying to tell. Find ways to engage your audience, by speaking to them and your needs.
The most important thing to remember is that your content serves one purpose: to get your audience to take action. Display strong Calls to Action (CTAs) in your creative work. We live in a visual world; make sure your creative counts.
4.) Measure your marketing performance
Given nearly 90 percent of marketers said improving their ability to track and analyze marketing efforts is a top priority, it comes as no surprise that measuring performance is a necessity. You established your key metrics in step two, and now it’s time to track and report on them.
Periodically measure your marketing efforts to find areas of improvement so you can optimize your strategy. There are always lessons to be taught when looking at data. You can discover trends as well as detect what initiatives performed well and what didn’t.
You can apply these discoveries in your next marketing plan for improved results. For example, if you discover blog content is consistently bringing in 40 percent more pageviews than social media content, you’ll want to focus on producing more blog articles in your next marketing plan.
5.) Set a budget
Just as it’s important to set a budget in your business plan, it’s important to set a budget for your marketing efforts.
Consider how much you plan on spending on marketing and promotion throughout the next year, and how much the action items you listed above will cost. It’s also important to determine where this money is coming from.
Budgets aren’t fun, but it’s important to be honest with yourself. You’d rather discover you need to tweak or tailor something to make it affordable right now than six months from now after you’ve already implemented the strategy.
How much you spend is up to you, and there is no “one size fits all” answer: each company will have a different budget due to several factors. It will depend on how much you want your brand to grow and how much exposure and market control you want.
6.) Analyze and adapt
Sit back, and let things happen. Sometimes the early results will give you the desire to tweak certain settings or targeting, but it’s important to gather enough data before making a definitive call.
With enough data, you can start to analyze. If you do realize that your advertising is not as efficient as anticipated, draft up changes to implement.
It’s easy to make changes on the fly, but doing so can often lead to unwanted gaps in targeting or mistakes. Just like with any other step of this process, consider the outcomes, draft up a new plan, and batch edit your campaigns to steer it back in the right direction.
Watch your business grow
If your brand offers something of need, the effective execution of a solid marketing plan will bear fruit. By aligning your team and constructing a step-by-step outline of the scope of work, you will minimize extra work in any potential tweaking and reworking of the plan.
For most, the hardest part of the plan is the actual implementation itself. Getting your content or copy onto social media platforms, or into email management systems can be tough. That’s where THRIVe can help.
THRIVe is an easy-to-use marketing tool that helps your business grow. Whether you are looking for ways to connect through email, automate your social media, or simply track your website’s analytics, THRIVe is an all-in-one marketing solution that can help you get there.
To get more information on THRIVe, simply head over to our website HERE. Be sure to use the chat feature to get all of the answers you need to make this next year your best yet.