Designing a thorough marketing plan for your business is a hefty task, where plenty needs to be thought about and so much can go wrong. So what are the basics you need to know to get started and how do you integrate this into the key touch points required to grow your business?

Step 1: Define Your Target Audience 

Your marketing plan can't work if you don't know who you're trying to reach, known as your target audience. They are the group of people who are most likely to need your service or product. These are the people who should see your brand. Age, gender, income, location, interests, and a lot of other things can affect who your target audience is. Depending on what you sell, your target market could be a small group or a large group. Segmenting your audience into buyer personas will help you learn more about your current and potential customers. This empowers you to carefully tailor your messaging, product, content and deliverables specifically according to the needs and behaviour of your target customer.  

Step 2: Identify Your Unique Value Proposition 

The main part of your competitive advantage is the value proposition of your business. It makes it clear why a customer should buy from your company instead of one of your competitors. When writing your unique selling proposition, it helps to think like a customer.  Write down what your product does well, what it costs, and how it stands out. Once you know who your ideal customers are, it's time to get the information you need to put together your unique value proposition (UVP) statement. Start by making a list of all the ways your product helps the people you want to buy it. Next, figure out how much those benefits are worth to your customers. Lastly, use your product's unique value to show how it's different from the competition. 

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Step 3: Do a SWOT analysis 

The SWOT Analysis is a powerful tool that can help you evaluate your marketing efforts and come up with a more solid and widespread marketing plan. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) is an acronym. By looking at these four parts of your business, you can change and improve your marketing plan for the future. The steps of the SWOT analysis are: 

  • Focus on what you do well. 
  • Turn your flaws into your strengths. 
  • Make a plan to take advantage of opportunities. 
  • Set up ways to deal with threats. 

A thorough SWOT analysis will help you find, analyze, and record the internal strengths and weaknesses of your company that you can control, as well as the external opportunities and threats that can affect your overall marketing goals. 

Step 4: Set clear goals and objectives for your marketing

Setting smart marketing goals is the key to making your marketing projects, campaigns, and strategies work better. They help you stay motivated and keep your actions in the right order by letting you break down your goals into smaller, more specific steps.  Ensure your goals are clear, measurable, attainable, realistic, and scheduled. 

Step 5: Make a budget and decide where to put your resources

It's so important to not only have a budget for marketing but also to know how it will be spent.  That money has to reach the right people and bring in leads, sales, and other key performance indicators (KPIs) that will give the company a return on investment (ROI). The allocation of the marketing budget is how much money is set aside for each line of spending in the budget. Your marketing budget can't go over this number. If you don't set aside some money for marketing in your budget, you might end up spending more than you make. 

Read more: Five Smart Budgeting Tactics to Accelerate Business Growth

Step 6: Make a plan for your rollout

In today's market, where things change quickly, businesses must be quick and able to change on the fly. That's why any business that wants to grow and remain stable over time needs to have well-thought-out tactical goals. Without a good plan, your business is likely to get caught up in the day-to-day and lose sight of its long-term goals. When done right, a tactical plan gives you a road map to success that helps you make quick, confident decisions. 

The bottom line

A strong marketing plan is a strategic document that helps a business owner have a bird’s eye view of their marketing strategy. It also contains meticulous detail to help you understand exactly where you should be focussing your efforts and your spending. While it may seem like a big task, your marketing plan will really afford you the opportunity to make important decisions about how to get your product or service directly into the hands of your customers. Need funding to roll out your next marketing strategy? Contact Merchant Capital and grow your business in the next 48 hours. 

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