Many of us have big dreams. In the 21st society, though, just having an innovative idea will not get you far. If you already have a purpose in life, you may be destined to be an entrepreneur. To achieve your dreams, even the most “unrealistic” ones, you will have to start your own business. Don’t be fooled! Starting a business from scratch is not easy. Creativity is not enough to see you through, you will also need resilience.
What you will need most of all, though, is a plan that will help you stand out. If you have a solution to a problem, you need to ensure that it reaches everyone it could possibly help. In order to do this, you will have to create a marketing plan. This will be a written description of your company’s marketing activities for the next year.
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How to Write a Marketing Plan
Here are the 10 steps to write a marketing plan you need to follow:
Step 1: Prepare a Mission Statement
Your mission statement will be a brief outline of your company’s core values. In order to authentically reflect your business, you have to answer the three Ws:
- What do you want to do?
- Why do you want to do it?
- Who do you do it for?
Let us look at how some big companies have prepared their mission statements. A mission statement can be just a few words. One example of this is the non-profit organization, TED. TED summed up its mission in two words: “spread ideas”. A mission statement can be a mouthful. An example of this is Google’s mission statement: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.
What both of these mission statements have in common is that they have surprised, inspired, and transformed their business. A mission statement does not just have to stop here. It can define your culture, ethics, goals, values, or whatever you think is unique about your company. You may be wondering why you need a mission statement to create a marketing plan.
If written right, your mission statement will help you determine a target market that you can focus all your marketing efforts on. Google’s target market is in their mission statement. They have targeted the entire world. For an example of a smaller target audience, we can turn to LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”.
The first step is to declare the purpose of your organization. Do it loudly so the ones at the back can hear it as well!
Step 2: Know Your Business to Set Your Goals
In order to write a marketing plan, you need to do your research. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your current business operations as well as the opportunities and threats that lie in your environment. An easy way to do this is to do a SWOT analysis. Once you have a snapshot of your current situation, you will know the way forward.
You now need to find out who your competitors are. An in-depth analysis of them must be completed before you take another step forward. Businesses are always competing with one another. In order to survive the heat, your product or service offerings must be better than any other company.
Arming yourself with a wealth of knowledge about your competitors will help you to find ways to differentiate yourself and find your unique selling proposition. Once you have a written description of all the products or services you intend to offer, find out how it performs relative to existing competition. Once you have done this, write down your marketing related goals for the year. Your objectives and key results should be lofty. Remember to always dream big! Moreover, your goals must always be quantifiable.
The important part is to zone in on the milestones you want to reach throughout that year, whether it seems possible or not. Don’t cloud your mind with logistics just yet—this comes in the next step. Keep in mind that this information should be written as clearly and comprehensively as possible to convince potential investors to give you the marketing budget you deserve!
Step 3: Determine Your Audience
In order to sell your products and services, you must figure out who is most likely to buy them. You must thoroughly profile each target market segment that you want to serve. Marketers often refer to this process as creating “buyer personas”. Once you know your target market’s demographics, needs, wants, pain points, shopping patterns, and lifestyles, you will know how to best reach them. From here onwards, you can figure out which marketing tactics and strategies to employ.
Step 4: Set a Budget and Get to Work
Next, you must have a realistic plan about how much your total budget for marketing and promotion throughout the next year should be. In order to do this, list out all the marketing activities you intend to carry out and assign an individual cost to each. You must then hunt for investors who can provide funding unless you want to use your own savings. Finding the right marketing strategies for your company is a trial and error process that requires creativity and patience.
Step 5: Monitor Your Results
You must track data in order to evaluate how successful your marketing strategies have been. With the advent of the Internet, this has become easier than ever.
Now you have a marketing plan! You have done the research. You can begin marketing your unique product or service. We wish you the best of success!