Starting a new business is thrilling and exciting. You’ve got hundreds of ideas and concepts running around your head. You can’t wait to get started, and show people what you’ve got to offer. The only problem here is that without sensible and strategic planning, your startup will go nowhere.
Launching a startup without an effective marketing plan is like shouting into the void. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if no-one ever finds out about it. Remember, there is a lot of competition out there. Standing out above the rest, and getting your voice heard, is difficult. Very, very difficult. That’s why a strict marketing plan is so important.
A good marketing plan is like a road map. You mark the destination, and you plan a clear, defined route to get there. You mark key spots along the way, and you make contingency plans in case anything goes wrong. It’s about taking small steps that ultimately lead you to success! Here’s how to get started.
Define your target audience
You can’t begin to create a marketing plan until you know who you’re marketing to. Different demographics and interests mean you need a bespoke approach to every campaign. If your target audience is male teenagers, you’ll need a very different plan to middle-aged women. You’ll focus on different platforms and channels. You’ll use different wording, colours, and images.
Everything about your marketing plan relies on who the audience is. So go back to the drawing board, and create a strict audience ‘persona’. Who is your ideal customer? What are their demographics? What are their likes and dislikes? What are their goals and ambitions? Only with this information can you create the next part of the plan.
Set clear, defined goals
Next, you need a set of clear, realistic goals. We always break this down into a three-tiered approach. Number 1: a mission statement. This is the grand statement of intent about your business. Why do you exist, and where do you want to be in ten years? For example, “We aim to be the number one fruit seller in the country”. It’s a big dream to work towards. But, it’s not very useful on a practical level.
So, underneath that, you need goals. These are medium-term targets that are achievable. For example, “Build 10,000 Facebook fans in twelve months” or “Grow and establish brand identity”. These are still a little vague, so now you need the third tier: objectives. Objectives are the small steps you’ll take every single day to reach the goals. In this example, “Run a Facebook advert campaign to drive up fan numbers” or “Commission new logo for brand identity”. Set goals, and stick to them!
Channels and platforms
A good marketing plan covers every single channel and platform necessary. In the world of digital marketing, there are numerous platforms to consider. These include; your website, social media (and each particular channel), YouTube, email, content, and Google (SEO). You need to choose and prioritise the most important platforms. More specifically, you need a strategy for each.
Now that you have your goals and channels in place, it’s time to get highly specific about your objectives. Each channel needs their own set of goals and targets. They each need a coherent strategy to help you reach them. Break each one down into its own timeline, and create a bespoke strategy. Remember, always keep your ultimate goal in mind.
A strict marketing plan needs deadlines and targets every step of the way. That’s why timelines work so effectively. You need a timeline for each channel and goal you’ve set up. Let’s go back to our target of 10,000 Facebook fans in twelve months. That already has a built-in deadline. Now, all you need to do is fill in the rest of the timeline. Let’s mark down 4,000 fans in six months. Let’s mark down dates for specific ad campaigns and competitions. Break the timeline down into a daily content schedule with targets for likes, shares, and comments.
Measure and adapt
The final part of your marketing plan involves analysing and measuring everything. In the plan, note down who is responsible for collecting the data and analytics. You’ll use these to measure against your goals, and make changes where necessary. Measure where your website ranks on Google searches. Measure social media numbers and engagement. Measure website traffic and sales. Measure the demographic information; is it matching your target audience?
Follow this advice, and you’ll create a watertight marketing plan that works every time.