How to Build a Marketing Plan Without Being a Marketer
Marketing plans are often referred to as the “road map of success." They set the foundation and blueprint for the year ahead. So, the nerves that surround your company’s monthly, quarterly, or even annual marketing plan are definitely justified! But don't worry, you don't have to do this alone! In this blog, we'll go over our process of building a marketing strategy from scratch.
Step One: Identify Your Marketing Goals
When it comes to content creation, entrepreneurs or marketing managers will sometimes publish content and just expect results. You need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Who you’re doing it for. And what to expect from your content. Otherwise, you could end up frustrated, spending money you don’t have, and wasting time. So before you publish a single post, run an ad, build a flyer, or God forbid boost a post… start with building your goal.
1. Identify WHO you want to reach.
'I want to get moms living in Central Florida...'
2. Specify what specific ACTION you want them to do.
'...to read our 'Things to do Kissimmee' landing page...'
3. Highlight the BENEFIT your AUDIENCE will receive (THEM not YOU).
'...because they'll find a lot of free or low-cost activities their family can enjoy.'
Once you’ve identified your goal or goals, you’ll be able to move to the next step of the marketing plan build. It’s ok for these to be micro, and not so big picture.
Step Two: Figure Out Your Capacity
If you're a business owner, revenue, expenses and your bottom line will always be top of mind no matter what campaign you’re building. Along with “all other duties as assigned.” (#amirite?) You only have so much capacity and time and energy to get work done. So, it’s time to look at your calendar and get real. Do you have time to execute this or do you need help? Do you need an internal part or full-time position or an expert you can pay to get it done right? Even software can automate your steps a bit and cut back on the time it might take you to execute. Our CEO says, “Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll be able to make time for something if you’ve already put it off. You’ll always find an excuse for why something else needs to get done first. When in doubt, sub it out.” Having a list of trusted contractors nearby is key to that project well-done.
Step Three: Establish Who Your Ideal Customers Are
Once you have identified your goal and what your capacity looks like, it’s time to think about the ideal people you can help. No idea where to find those and that is why you need help with a marketing plan? We know, we get it… Start by looking at past sales, data from your website or looking at your social followers to help you build an ideal customer profile. We call them "buyer personas", but ideal customers is a better description in our opinion. These are research-based profiles that depict your target customer. Here are a couple questions to help you figure out who they are. Where are they? What are their buying habits? What other brands do they engage with? And probably most importantly... ask yourself, why are they ideal? Really get in their heads (we know, creepy, but necessary!)
Let’s say you were trying to target someone for that goal we mentioned in Step 2. What if you've got a social media campaign planned but your ideal customer isn't even on social media? Why waste your time and energy? Meet people where they are. When you’re planning, ask yourself “Will this be helpful to my ideal customer? And, is it going to drive the results I want to see?” Think about where your ideal customer is, and get there before your competition does!
Step Four: Define What Success Looks Like
Success looks different for every person, company and goal. We recommend figuring out how many or how much of what you’re measuring you need to achieve your goal. For example, we worked with a client whose goal was to get more businesses to open in their community. Our goal was ‘To get business owners already in Central Florida to inquire about expanding in the community because they will learn about the great benefits the area can provide to their business growth'. This seems small but one new business opening would have meant we’d be able to prove a major ROI (return on investment) compared to what they invested when hiring us! Within that big goal, there were micro-goals that helped us. Micro-goal one focused on brand awareness, telling people who they were with blogs. While with micro-goal two, focused on creating free offers that leads could download to learn more. We were able to see success because we set early on in our planning what it would look like for us.
Step Five: Map Out Your Strategy
The last step in building out your marketing plan ends with creating your tasks and making strict due dates (we know your own marketing comes last, that’s why you’re here!). This step focuses on what items you and your team need to do to get after and crush that goal. For example, you may decide that you want to attract the attention of your ideal customer and they have never heard of you. You determine that the best way to reach them is via social media using a video that tells your story. If that’s the case, you need to hire a videographer to film your company’s mission, vision and what you do. Then you’ll need to set up the ad, and get ready to measure its success by looking at video views, maybe website hits from new users.
This might seem like a lot, but we encourage you to begin with the end in mind, and know your why. When we typically plan campaigns, we certainly hope in the end they lead to more money, but that wasn’t the goal in this case. It was just to introduce the brand to new people. Mission accomplished.
Protip: Focus your first session on the campaign goals and objectives. Noodle on it. Then, block a separate set of time for the creative process. Don’t try to do it all at once.
While this process might seem tedious or time-consuming at first, you’d be right! But our team has always followed a ‘Measure twice, cut once' mentality. By highlighting these steps; this blog will help you see all the headaches and heartaches you can avoid. Learn more about our approach and how we build out marketing campaign plans for our clients following these steps.