Does the mere thought of crafting a marketing strategy make your eyelid twitch? Creating a marketing plan doesn’t have to be a panic-inducing event. Just follow these seven steps:
Kickstart your marketing with a ton of research. There are a lot of ways to gather important data, starting with direct customer contact. Surveys work, as does contracting with a third-party firm. Study up on your industry as well as economic shifts or cultural issues that could impact your business and you’ll collect a mountain of facts that will inform every decision that follows.
- Goal Setting
You can’t travel if you don’t know where you’re going. Pick goals that are SMART:
Following that criteria ensures you’re setting targets that are realistic and that you’ll always know where you are in relation to those goals.
- Define Your Target Audience
The best marketing efforts speak to an audience in their language, but in order for that to happen, you must have an in-depth idea of who that audience is. Use customer surveys, competitor information and market research to create buyer personas that include details like:
- Relationship status
- Level of education
- Goals, hopes and dreams
Once you have that info in hand, you can behind to construct a marketing strategy that offers solutions for common problems, narrow down your point and shape your audiences for social media ads.
- Identify Your Ideal Channels
Now that you know who your audience, take your message to wherever they already are. Every marketing channel has its own core audience. You might reach professionals on LinkedIn, for instance, or target 18- to 29-year-olds on Twitter, where they make up the largest age-based demographic.
- Set Your Budget
Whether you’re creating a strategy for a short-term initiative or the entire year, you need to have a budget. Decide how much you want to spend, then determine how you want to allocate those funds. It’s remarkably easy to lose track of your financials when you’re excited about the traction a particular ad is getting. If you have a multi-channel plan, you want to be sure you’ve made a conscious decision how much money you’ll use for each channel.
- Decide on Implementation
Now you’ve got all the essential pieces of the puzzle lined up and ready to go. How will you put them all together? This stage is when you’ll determine the order of events (which task you’ll see to first) and create a content calendar and launch countdown
- Launch, Test, Tweak
Finally, all your plotting has come to fruition — but your job’s not over yet. Check in regularly, monitoring KPIs to gauge results, and then make adjustments. You’ll repeat this cycle for the length of your campaign.
Marketing is a results-driven industry, but great results rely on a great plan. Cozy up with our in-depth guide to the strategic marketing planning process and discover how you can take the next step toward your own entrepreneurial goals.