There is a lot to do when you run your own business. Writing your marketing plan is one of those niggly things that can cause some anxiety. They are often completely avoided. But marketing plans are a necessary tool for driving your business forward. Particularly if you are applying for loans, grants or investment into your business, it’s unlikely that you will get away with not having a plan for marketing your products/services. What is the structure of a marketing plan and how can you write yours simply and quickly?
Sections in a marketing plan
It’s a good idea to have a summary at the start of your marketing plan. The trick is to write this summary after you have written the rest of the plan. Here are the key sections of a marketing plan.
This is a summary of your marketing plan and should include your target customer groups, an overview of your product/service, your objectives, how you will reach your customers and your action plan (with budget).
Introduce your business and your objective for your marketing plan.
State the mission of your business. What do you exist to do?
Your Market (Customers)
Write down who your customer is. Why would they use your product/service?
Your Market (Competitors)
Identify your top competitors and why their customers buy from them.
Critical Success Factors
Put down the factors that affect your customers choice of providers. How do you rank?
Perform an analysis of your market. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business? Are they opportunities and threats in your industry/sector that influence your business goals?
Set financial goals for your business. How much revenue should come from your marketing activities?
It is important for you to set some non-financial goals. These could be focused on the types of customers that you want to attract or personal goals such as personal branding on social media.
Provide details about your target market. What are their challenges, job titles, and key drivers?
Your Product & Services
What is your product/service and how will it address your potential customers challenges?
Strategy for Attracting Customers
How will you get your potential customers to take up your offer? Free trials, discounts?
Key Communication Channels
Which channels will you use to reach your potential customers so that you can tell them about your offering? Is it social media, website, local events, networking, brochures or Google Ads?
Write clear actions that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound). Add action owners, dates, and when you will review the performance of each action item.
Video: Marketing Plans Simplified
In the video below, I discuss how to complete each of the sections in a marketing plan.
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