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How to make a marketing plan

Today you will learn how to make a marketing plan in an easy and efficient way. Many people make the mistake of complicating this unnecessarily. Let’s find out why it doesn’t have to be.

A marketing plan is a map of a company's or project's marketing over time.

Writing business plans is natural for most entrepreneurs, but many don't realize that it's equally important to make a marketing plan.

The difference between a business plan and a marketing plan
Unlike the business plan, the marketing plan focuses on the customers. The marketing plan doesn't need to be expressed in figures, it should be a bit more strategic. The marketing plan should be short so that it's easy to remember. Put it down in a few sentences.

So, how do you make a marketing plan? Here's the solution:

Make the necessary preparations first:

1. Sit comfortably and grab a pen and some paper. Begin by describing what you are selling and what advantages a purchase from you gives to your customers. You’ll talk about in what ways the things you're selling are different from what your competitors are selling. The clearer you can describe your product, the better you will be able to communicate with your target audience. To do this, you must also be able to describe your competitors' products. You probably already know what your competitors are selling, so you can describe it pretty well and compare it with your own offer.

2. Describe the price and location (it's called availability) well because these two factors are critical points in terms of competitive positioning. ”Price” doesn't necessarily mean cheap. Outlet Markets offer low prices instead of availability. What are you selling? Is it availability? Is it quality? Are there any discounts? You can't offer everything. Knowing what your customers want will help you decide for yourself what you should offer.

3. Describe your target audience. Develop a profile of what your ideal client looks like. You can describe the customers based on where they live, what gender they are, how old they are, what lifestyle they have, what they earn, etc. Ask yourself these questions:
Are my customers conservative or innovative? Do they follow or do they lead? Are they traditional or modern? Are they outgoing or introverted? How do they buy what you have to offer? How often do they buy? How much do they buy at each buying opportunity? Are there periods of the year when they will not buy your products?

4. Consider a strategy for how to bring out your message. Your target audience will not only need to know that your product exist, they must also get a good impression of the product's benefits. The communication includes everything from logo design and advertising to public relations and promotion. Find out what your customers are reading and listening to in order to know how to get their attention.

5. Decide what you want to accomplish with your communication. What do you want to achieve with your marketing? Do you want people to recognize your company name and know what it stands for? Do you want them to know where your business is located? How much money can you spend on getting the message across? What media are available and what will work best for you? And in the end, how should you evaluate the results?

Use these questions as a starting point, then make a document that is clear and to the point. Never pretend to be something you're not and don't be too fancy. Keep it brief and make an effective marketing plan that you can follow as a map. The only reason to play with charts and Power Point presentations in a marketing plan is if you are going to present the plan to the bank or an investor. If the plan is made just for you – don't complicate it.

Create your marketing plan in eight simple steps as follows:

1. What is the purpose of the marketing? (Ex: To create a broader base of customers who keep returning).

2. How should it be done? (Ex: By presenting a selection of books in the store).

3. What does the audience look like? (Ex: book-buying adult women within a mile radius of the bookstore).

4. What tools should we use? (Ex: Direct mailing to the target audience, ads in the local newspaper, signs made on a weekly basis, creating a loyalty club, etc..).

5. What is our niche? (Ex: Our niche is to have the widest range of reading women aged between 30 and 60).

6. What is our identity? (Ex: “Warm” by being friendly to all customers, “Skills” because we ourselves constantly read and are active seekers of knowledge).

7. What is our budget for this? (Based on a percentage of the gross sales).

8. Evaluation. (Ex: Evaluation of our efforts must be made by week 23. How well did we manage in relation to the case and what can be done better? What do we do next?)

And then what?
Measure your marketing results against this plan. If the result is good, but doesn't follow the plan, throw the plan out. The plan is to create a map, it's not meant to be the solution to everything.  

Practical tips for your marketing plan
• When you have made your marketing plan, give it away to everyone it concerns. Give it to your employees, your vendors and freelancers so that they can understand what you want to do. It will not only help you stay focused, but also create new ideas among employees and suppliers.
• When you must choose what activities you should start with first, choose one or two that you feel are the most fun. It will make sure you get a better self-confidence, which in turn will give you energy to do what you may see as necessary, but not as fun.
• Set aside a special time for marketing. Whether it's an hour a day, three hours a day or one night of the week isn't important. What's important is that you set aside time that is sacred to this issue and that your phones are turned off.
• Give your marketing plan at least 6 months to see if it works, but evaluate the results on a monthly basis. Ask yourself: “Where are you and where did you want to be”?
Voila! You're done!

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.