A Marketing Plan

1/2 of all small businesses don’t have a marketing plan for their small business. That's a problem. If you don't have a marketing plan, then you're missing out on necessary scheduling and maintaining of your marketing needs. Working without a marketing plan is like playing Battleship when all of the pieces are the same color. You won't know what hits and what misses, and you won't have a strategy to work towards long-term success.

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Why You Need a Marketing Plan

“According to a survey of 350 small and medium business (SMB) owners, 50% do not have a marketing plan for 2019.”  

A marketing plan is the engine that drives demand.  Your car wouldn’t get that far without an engine.  The same principle applies to your small business. If you need further proof, in that same study, 81% of the business surveyed that had a plan and spent 5-10% of their budget on marketing saw four times the growth of those that did not.

How to Build a Marketing Plan

There are four simple steps to write a successful marketing plan. These steps are based on 25 years of experience writing marketing plans. While the means to reach the customer have completely changed, the fundamentals of communication have not.

  1. Determine Your Brand Strategy
  2. Select Your Brand Message
  3. Choose Your Digital Strategy
  4. Outline the Cost, Time, and Metrics that directly tie to your business goals

Cost, Time, & Metrics

We covered the first three steps on other pages. We recommend you start with Brand Strategy and follow in order. We will cover the final step in this section.

Developing the Promotional Calendar

It's often best to layout your brand strategy (or strategies) by topic, as we did in this example. Here we have technical requirements, our main target, and our secondary target. You may have less. This is simply for the purpose of demonstration. Next, you would align your digital strategy by tactic for each topic. For example, we have website creation in our technical section, and we have search in our primary target. Then, you would show which months each tactic would be active. Finally, you would put a cost for each tactic. The sum of all equals your promotional budget.

Now that we've covered cost and time, it is time to discuss metrics. All marketing plans need to have metrics. Coupled with the budget or actual spending numbers you have, these metrics help calculate your return on advertising spending (ROAS).

Always Require Cost & Expected Results

Marketing is only effective if it generates an ROI. Today, there are benchmarks for almost every digital tactic that you can deploy. Any good marketing plan will use these metrics to set goals and measure performance.

Using benchmarks, you should be able to calculate and expected ROAS. The ROAS is relatively simple to calculate. You take the benefit in sales, or some other revenue metric divided by the cost of tactic(s). For it to be profitable, the ROAS > 100%. All marketing plans should have an expected ROAS. If it’s not calculated or outcomes are not provided, that’s a major red flag.

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