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How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your Business

How to Create a Text Marketing Plan for Your Business
21
Dec
How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your Business

 “Good marketers see consumers as complete human beings with all the dimensions real people have.”
—Jonah Sachs

Developing a marketing plan can seem scary, especially when you realize that it involves creating a multi-page document filled with specific details about the future of your business. While it might not be as comprehensive as a business plan, it's just as important if you want your company to succeed.

What Is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan explains your specific strategies for reaching out to customers, encouraging them to buy your product or service, and retaining existing customers. Each marketing plan will look different based on your business's specific goals and needs, but it might include the following:

  • Email marketing
  • Text marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Paid search
  • Paid social
  • Social media marketing
  • Organic SEO
  • Promotions
  • Physical events

These days, marketing and advertising often get lumped together. For instance, you might pay to boost your social media posts so you get more visibility, so those efforts can fall under either marketing or advertising. If you wish, you can create a separate advertising plan, or you can create a plan that includes both strategies. When you complete your marketing plan, it should include a page for each type of marketing. However, it also needs to address key issues and obstacles you might face, such as:

  • Demographics for your target market
  • Competition analysis
  • Evaluation of existing customer base
  • Industry averages for customer acquisition and retention costs
  • Analysis of existing and future pricing structures
“Clients don’t care about the labor pains; they want to see the baby.”
—Tim Williams

It's true that your customers will never see your marketing plan. However, they will see the results of your hard work as you make intimate connections with your audience and help build a community around your company's culture.

How to Start Your Marketing Plan

When you're ready to put together your marketing plan, start by asking (and answering) a few critical questions. The more you explore your business, the more effective your marketing plan becomes.

Who Is Your Target Customer?

"The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself."
—Peter Drucker

Define your buyer personas based on what you already know about your target demographics. How much money does he make? Where does she spend her time? What influences his buying decisions? Where does she work? You can develop multiple buyer personas based on your demographic research. Each time you create new content or send out a marketing message, you can speak directly to one or more of your personas to make a more intense connection.

What Does Your Business Offer That the Competition Does Not?

Analyze your competition meticulously, then make a list of value propositions that your competitors can't meet. For instance, maybe you offer superior quality in terms of materials and manufacturing, or perhaps you provide a guaranteed delivery date for online orders, while your competitors often leave their customers hanging on back orders. Your unique selling propositions (USPs) can help you craft each marketing message so that it distracts consumers from your competitors.

Why Have You Chosen Your Pricing Strategy?

You might decide to sell your product for 20 percent less than your closest competitor because you're targeting a lower-income demographic and you've found a way to manufacture your product less expensively. Alternatively, maybe you're charging 15 percent more than the competition because of superior quality, value-added services, or other benefits. Consider your pricing model, as well. For instance, subscription pricing models have become common in many industries. Will you offer a discount for customers who pay for a certain number of months in advance? Can you offer discounts to certain segments of your audience, such as teachers or military personnel?

Will You Offer Coupons or Other Discounts?

Many businesses thrive on coupons and deep discounts in their stores, while others never offer discounts at all. Both approaches can work, but you must know why you've chosen a particular strategy. For instance, department-store retailers have come under fire for inflated original prices. They rely on their customers to come into the store with 20-percent-off coupons and promises of 50-percent-off products. If you're wary of giving your customers pause, you might want to avoid coupons and sale prices altogether. Just make sure you use discount strategies with purpose.

How Will You Make Your Products or Services Available?

Distribution channels should make up a large part of your marketing plan. Will you sell exclusively online? Do you plan to approach boutique shops in your community? Have you set your sights higher, such as big-box stores? More importantly, how will you communicate your distribution channels to your customers? For example, you could use "online exclusives" as a selling point because of low overhead. Mattress companies, such as Casper and Leesa, have leveraged this marketing approach effectively.

Who Will Participate in Your Marketing Efforts?

Create a chain of command for your marketing plan, and then assign roles to each person on the list. Who will handle social media? Community outreach? Blogging and other content marketing? Who will craft text marketing content and make sure it's delivered to the right audience segments? This is most important for larger companies, but you still need a plan if you're managing a smaller operation. Even if you only assign marketing roles to two people, those employees need to know their responsibilities as well as your expectations.

What Services Will You Use to Spread Your Brand Message?

Numerous services exist to help you reach your customers faster and more efficiently. From text marketing and email marketing to paid search and website analytics, you can find a software or cloud solution for just about any campaign. Make a list of services that might interest you, then learn more about what they offer. How much do they charge? What do you get in exchange for your subscription or payment plan? Remember to read online reviews so you know how other companies view their services.

Will You Attend Industry or Community Events?

Online marketing is often a primary focus for the modern business, but don't discount the value of a friendly smile and a handshake. Getting involved in your community can introduce you to new customers and help you increase brand awareness. You could make a list of industry events in your area. Maybe you'll attend a trade show and rent a booth, or perhaps you can sponsor a local sports team. Get creative with your ideas, then whittle them down to the most promising few.

Will You Limit Your Marketing to a Certain Geographic Area?

You can derive significant benefits from local marketing strategies. For one thing, keywords become less expensive for online advertising and easier to target through organic search when you add a city or even a state to the target keyword. For instance, you'll have millions of competitors for a keyword like "vacuum cleaners." However, if you target a key phrase like "vacuum cleaners in Indianapolis," you might experience better ROI.

What Are Your KPIs?

Creating a marketing plan isn't enough. You need to know which KPIs to track so you know that you're making a difference. For example, let's say you want to gain more organic search traffic. Tracking a KPI like email open rates won't shed any light on your target goal. However, if you track website visitors, length of time on page, and similar metrics, you can work toward increasing organic search traffic.

What Is Your Marketing Budget?

Every business needs a strict marketing budget. You might deviate from it slightly in special circumstances, but spending too little or too much could create serious cash flow problems for your business.

Do You Intend to Hire a Professional?

If you're planning to hire a marketing expert, content marketer, or other professional, work his or her salary or contractor fee into the budget. Additionally, write his or her complete job description and responsibilities in your marketing plan so you can use those details to hire the ideal candidate.

Your Marketing Plan as a Roadmap

Your marketing strategy will change as your business grows and evolves. You might develop products for different markets, discover new tools, and shift your KPIs. A marketing plan serves as a valuable map for the future, but think of your journey as an impromptu road trip. You might decide to take a detour now and then if the roads look more passable.

"Money coming in says I've made the right marketing decisions."
—Adam Osborne

When you change your marketing strategy, update your marketing plan. When you put these changes in writing, you can track your progress and make more adjustments as needed.

An effective marketing strategy is essential in today's hyper-visible world. Text marketing, email marketing, and other strategies can help your brand reach more people, which often equates to more customers. To get started on your own text marketing campaign, give EZ Texting a shot. Sign up for free to experience the benefits of text marketing from day one.

Struggling to make your marketing plan work? We can help! Enter your email below for instant access to our free marketing plan template to create a strong foundation for your marketing strategy. 

Click here to download our marketing plan template! We'd love to hear your feedback on how it works for you!

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