3 Steps to Building Your First Marketing Plan

If you’re not an organized marketer, you may want to reconsider your marketing approach. According to a 2022 Trend Report from CoSchedule, organized marketers are 674 percent more likely to report success than their peers. They regularly plan their tasks, campaigns, and projects with well-thought-out processes. Part of being a planner is (you guessed it) having a plan, and if your business is lacking a marketing plan, you may want to start there first.

A marketing plan is a formal document outlining your organization’s marketing strategy and goals. Usually, it includes a current business analysis, summarizes marketing goals, defines the target audience, and strategies to meet your goals. It essentially helps keep everyone in your organization on the same page.

There are three basic steps to building your first marketing plan.

Step one: Complete a situational analysis

Before building a marketing plan, complete a situational analysis. A situational analysis enables you to learn the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats your company faces. For example, you can deploy a survey to learn who your customers are and how they feel about your business, and it can help provide metrics for your overall plan. After you acquire foundational knowledge about your customers and business, your next step is to identify your marketing goals.

Step two: Set goals and objectives

To drive traffic, gain leads, generate sales, and increase awareness, you need to clearly define your marketing goals and objectives. Utilizing the SMART method (SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) can help you set specific requirements. (You can learn more about the SMART method here.)

Depending on the needs and wants of a business, goals can vary. Examples of clear goals include the following:

  • Increase sales by X% within the next year.
  • Increase social media engagements by X%.

After establishing your goals, create target personas (or fictional descriptions) of your target customers. Then develop critical messaging points, develop a budget, and create a strategy for pricing.

Step three: Don’t forget the details

Your marketing plan should be filled with details and tactics that directly tie back to your overall goal. For example, if you own a bakery with the overall goal of increasing awareness in town, you might support local athletic programs by sponsoring them. (Don’t forget to ask for and review the metrics!) By participating, you should be able to increase the number of places where locals see your business name, create a positive familiarity between your brand and the community, and increase the number of people who know about your bakery.

Finally, a successful plan requires regular review and revision. (You’re not setting it and forgetting it!) You can see if your tactics are working to reach your goals by using analytics. (If you’re not hitting your goals, it’s time to pivot!)

A marketing plan helps drive the success of your business. Without one, you’ll miss the opportunity to reach the goals that matter most to your SMB. Use the steps above to build your first marketing plan, and 2022 could be your most successful year yet.

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