Do you want to take your business to the next level and drastically increase your online sales? This means it’s time to build your business marketing plan.
At the time you’re reading this, your objective might be to increase your sales, have more customers, and make more people aware of your products or services.
We’re going to take a look at how you can create an online marketing plan and explore where you should focus your efforts first.
Whats on This Page
- Whats on This Page
- What Is the Marketing Plan?
- Why Do You Need a Marketing Plan?
- How to Create a Marketing Plan
- 1. Executive Summary
- 2. Mission Statement for Marketing Plan
- 3. Review Market
- 4. SWOT Analysis
- 5. Marketing Goals
- 6. Strategies and Tactics
- 7. Target Market
- 8. Buyer Personas
- 9. Buyers Purchase Cycle
- 10. Define KPIs and Metrics for Marketing Plan
- 11. Brand Identity
- 12. Distribution Plan
- 13. Promotion Plan
- 14. Competitor Research
- 15. Define Your Marketing Budget
- 16. Sales Forecast
In this article, I have explained the best 16 methods to create a marketing plan for your business and generate more sales.
You can also read our blog for marketing your own business using unique marketing ideas.
What Is the Marketing Plan?
Your business marketing plan is a SMART STRATEGY made for a one-year-period that includes simple steps of business analysis, brainstorming ideas, getting to know your target market, setting SMART goals, and action steps based on your budget to make these goals a reality.
Why Do You Need a Marketing Plan?
Every sustainable business is built on a strong foundation, and when it comes to sales and promotions, your marketing plan is crucial for your success.
How to Create a Marketing Plan
A strategic and successful marketing plan can turn your business into a money making machine, we’re covering it’s phases below.
1. Executive Summary
First, the executive summary, which is an overview of your marketing plan. Its purpose is to reveal the main points of the marketing plan, hit the highlights, and introduce the rest of the plan.
The full purpose of your summary is to be clear, concise, and if other members of your team read it, they should be able to make a decision based only on reading it.
Here are some guidelines that can help you. Your executive summary should answer these simple questions:
Remember to keep it short and write from the perspective that you have now. Later you’ll be able to edit it.
2. Mission Statement for Marketing Plan
A mission statement describes briefly the purpose of the business. In normally less than three sentences, it explains what does the company do, who it serves, and why it’s different from competitors.
The answer of these questions will help you rediscover your business’s core values, the message you bring into the world, how you help the world, and how to contribute to everybody’s wellness.
It will inspire your employees and tell your customers what to expect from your business.
3. Review Market
Next, you’ll review the company’s market and do an analysis of the current situation.
The analysis should cover two important perspectives:
The first one focuses on the inside of your business, like your products or services, your offerings, current actions you’re taking, and resources. You’ll explore what your company’s values are, what mission you are following, and what impact do your products have on your customers.
The second one focuses on the outside of your business: your industry and your specific market. Here you’ll explore what your colleagues/competitors are doing right now, their offerings, and how they position themselves on the market: their pricing, customer experience, customer care, channels they use, how they promote, and what’s their distribution strategy.
Also, you’ll cover what you admire and love about them, how they inspire you, and what you don’t like about what they offer.
Let your colleagues/competitors be a source of inspiration and a great way to learn what strategies you like and what you don’t. Use the “brand model” to elevate and inspire your business.
4. SWOT Analysis
Now that you have more clarity about your current business situation and the company’s market, you’ll master what it’s called, SWOT analysis.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These will demonstrate what makes your products or services unique, why would people buy from you, and how to stand out from the crowd. Also, dive deep into your weaknesses and be honest and sincere. Don’t censor or edit it.
Write down your business weaknesses, and for each one, find at least one solution that can improve it.
Next, explore your opportunities: what are the areas where you feel you can expand, grow, and develop most of your strengths. Discover what threats you the most, what are your biggest fears about your competition, and the market or the current trends.
Ask yourself: what am I most scared of? The goal here is to achieve a clear picture of your current business situation to help you work on the next step.
After you’ve done all these internal and external analyses and research, it’s time to dive deep into your marketing goals.
5. Marketing Goals
In the next step of your marketing plan creation, you’ll need to set up SMART goals framed on a specific period. Your goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
In step one and step two, you gained clarity about your present business situation and about your target market. Now, it’s time to decide what you want to do with your business. Explore where you want to be a year from now.
Write down on a piece of paper or open a fresh google document and brainstorm what is relevant for the health and growth of your business. While doing so, remember to make your goals:
To write SMART goals, use the example from below and explore with an open-mind these questions: What do you want to achieve in your business, and what are your objectives one year from now? Where do you want to go? To arrive and achieve something with these marketing strategies, you have to know precisely where you are going. What’s your business destination?
For example, SMART goals sound like this:
Goal 1: In the next year, starting from now, I want to sell 1000 T-Shirts with my online store.
Goal 2: In the next year, starting from now, I want to have +2000 followers on my Instagram account.
As you can see, these goals are:
You’ll write down at least 3 goals that you want to achieve, and then you’ll find out how you can make these goals a reality and what actions you should take. You’ll craft a unique strategy to set your business apart from the competition.
6. Strategies and Tactics
Next, you’ll create a concrete plan and a winning strategy to make your goals a reality.
After you wrote your SMART goals list and have a road map of where you’re going, it’s time to discover what actions you should take to grow your business.
The next step is to write down what small steps you should take in the next year under each goal. Keep in mind that you are creating a long term strategy and letting yourself be open and flexible if any changes are shown in the short term. Dive deep into this one and discover what problems might occur, and for each problem, write down a solution that will help you follow your plan.
The main question here is: what do you have to do? What action steps do you want to take?
Here are some examples that can guide you through creating a winning strategy:
For each action step you write, make sure that you are committed to focusing your attention, time, energy, resources, and budget. Also, feel free to use the SMART strategy from step three that means: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Awesome! Now that you have covered all the action steps you should take, it’s time to take a look at your budget and discover what resources you do have right now and what resources you need to purchase.
7. Target Market
A target market is a group of customers for which your products or services are aimed. The key to leverage your market is to know exactly to whom you’re selling. Resist the temptation to be too general and focus on the audience that is most likely to buy from you.
To explore your target market, ask yourself which customers would get value from your products or services and who will care about your products most. Here are some examples of criteria to segment by:
Also, consider which category your customers are: B2B or B2C.
After discovering who your target market is from a large perspective, it’s time to dive deep and explore your buyer persona or ideal customer avatar.
8. Buyer Personas
In this step, you’ll understand why getting to know your customers’ fears and deepest desires is vital for a profitable business. One of the most important aspects of your business is your ideal customer avatar, your buyer persona, and how to profoundly get to know them.
What is your buyer persona, and why do you need it?
A buyer persona avatar is a single person who represents your target market. While working on your marketing business plan, keep this person in mind whenever you’re creating something for your business, whether you’re designing a new product or service for your business, writing copy for your website, creating free content, launching email or ad campaigns, or even social media updates.
You might be asking yourself, who is this avatar based on. Well, the simple way to do this is to pick one real customer that you already have. Somebody you love serving, somebody that would make you say: if all my customers were like him, I would actually have my dream business. Or it could be a combination, kind of like a master mix of several different fantastic customers. Have in mind his/her picture, or you can print a real picture of her/him and put it in front of you while working on this exercise.
Write down every possible detail like name, age, status, hair/eyes color, annual income, address, passions, and desires. Explore his fears and frustrations, his biggest problems, and how can you help him to fulfill them. Discover how your products or services are a solution to his problems.
The main purpose of this exercise is to understand your customers, and they got to feel that. You must understand them, understand who they are, what their needs are, and make an emotional connection with them and show them that you’re there to take care of them.
Then, with these crystal clear images of your customers, you take your focus into your products and services and ask yourself these questions: how your products/services are solving your customers’ problems. Discover what emotional needs your products or services are fulfilling. Explore the emotional factors that get your customers to buy from you. Master why are they spending their time, money, and energy on your business.
Now that you’ve gone deeper into your customer psychology, it’s time to jump to the next step and keep building your marketing plan.
9. Buyers Purchase Cycle
A buyer purchase cycle usually has 5 steps. The first one is awareness. The customer is aware of her/his needs and throughout different channels, they become aware that your business can fulfill those needs. In this stage, customers want information, and it’s the best stage to focus on content marketing that emphasizes solving customers’ problems. It leaves the customer with actionable steps to solve the problems.
The next step is comparison. Now the customer is informed and is aware of the solutions from the market, and the main question she/he has is, what’s the best product/service for me? One of the most important aspects here is to look for the issue beneath the issue and market to the customer’s core needs.
The next step is consideration. Customers narrow down options and make a judgment of the best one and ask himself/herself, which solution is the best for me? After this, she/he is aware of the brands that can solve the problem and realizes what she needs to do next.
Here is another important point where you should use content marketing because now they want to hear about the benefits and features. Now the customer is actively engaged on the site, interacting with the content, downloading your brochures, and viewing your pricing. Now they need the answer to other questions like:
After answering these questions, you earn their respect through detailed, powerful, and compelling content that is specific to your product or service. The customer is actively searching for more information and is ready to go to the next level on the buyer cycle.
The next step on the customer journey is the purchase. By one, the content you made was problem-centric and solution-focused. And it has pushed them to this culminating point. Now you move it up to the final phase: optimizing everything from your pricing page to your shopping cart and your payment process so that everything works perfectly.
The last step is repurchasing, and the customers ask: Should I buy this product/service again? Keep in mind to always market on each stage of the buying cycle.
10. Define KPIs and Metrics for Marketing Plan
KPIs and metrics are specific measurements of performance that show you how well goals are being met. Metrics are all about using the awesome and modern tools to analyze, track, and measure your online results and success.
The purpose of all of these is to increase traffic, to rank higher, and to analyze your customers. Analytics, like time spent on site, page visits, returning visitors, and social sharing clicks on certain links or buttons can help you optimize your conversions and content to generate more sales.
11. Brand Identity
What your brand has to say, your values, how to communicate your product, what do you want people to feel when they interact with your brand?. Brand identity reveals the personality of your business, everything your brand is, and what it does.
Also, the logo of the company plays an important role in brand identity. Brand’s logo tells the public the values, credibility, and trust. What your brand has to offer, and when the customers see your logo are closely related.
12. Distribution Plan
Explore the best channels where you can meet your ideal customer avatar and start using them. Here are a few examples that can help:
13. Promotion Plan
As you learned on customer buyer purchase cycle, when planning a promotional campaign, keep in mind that a successful campaign achieves all of the cycle-stage goals:
14. Competitor Research
Research your market carefully, explore what your competitors are doing, their strategy, how they are using the actual trends, how they are marketing themselves, and what kind of products they are offering. Start learning from those who come before and reveal the authenticity of your products and services, create outstanding offerings for your customers that will make your competition irrelevant.
15. Define Your Marketing Budget
Last but not least, it’s about your internal and external resources. First, you’ll explore what resources you have right now and start using them right away, and second, you’ll discover what resources you need, and I’ll guide you with some examples.
Your current resources can be team members, software, knowledge, courses, books, people that can help you achieve your goals, your list of subscribers, your current social media followers, customers that can give you testimonials, or maybe your affiliates or business partners.
Next, you’ll cover what resources you need to attain, and the most important is your marketing budget. That means it’s time for numbers.
After you worked on step four, you have a clear strategy on which steps you should take. Next, you’ll look at your action-steps and write down what budget you need for each one and also decide their cos in terms of time, money, and energy. If you have a team that helps you with your marketing goals, write down who will do each task and how much it will cost you.
Consider what budget you need if you want to create paid campaigns or hire website or marketing experts. A great strategy about your budget is to overestimate your costs and prepare in advance for unexpected expenses
16. Sales Forecast
A sales forecast predicts what a salesperson, team, or business will sell weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually to spot potential issues while avoiding or mitigating them. Sales forecast helps you create a strategic sales plan to prevent potential problems and to brainstorm creative solutions in advance.
After all the work you’ve done on your marketing plan, there is one more thing to master, and this is ACTION. Train yourself to take action, engage with your marketing plan, and stay open to looking for feedback and adjustments on the go. Here is how it goes:
Here are the most important phases including how to create a winning marketing plan that will help you grow your business rapidly:
have clear goals, know your target market, increase your offerings, create outstanding strategies that set you apart from your competitors, research your industry and colleagues/competitors and achieve great results with concrete actions according to your budget.