Without a strategic marketing plan your business is ultimately doomed. Despite hard work, hours of frustration, and all your own cash… the best you can hope for is to own a job not a business.
This is one of the major reasons that over 90% of all small businesses fail. Grab a pen and pencil and let’s set about making sure this never happens to you!
Write furiously. Don’t stop to think. Just let it all pour out of you onto the paper. You can come back and tidy it up later.
You could use a marketing plan template… but I think when brainstorming a new marketing action plan it is always best to start with a blank page.
1. What are Your Goals? For your business?
You and your family? How much money do you want to make? How many hours do you want to work a week? How much holiday. Do you want to take each year? How many people you want working for you?
2. Where are You Now?
For each of the goals you set in the first section… what is the difference between where you are now and where you want to be? The trick is to start bridging the gap. Gradually working in increments/milestones plan your way to your desired future. Remember this is only your best guess. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s a matter of giving yourself intermediate targets to aim for.
3. Milestones and Targets
Set these monthly for the next two years. Include numbers of new leads, new customers, and profits.
4. Who are Your Ideal Customers?
The answer to this question should be based on market research and customer research… of your present and past customers. How old are they? What sex are they? What job do they have? How much do they earn? What are their problems, frustrations, needs, wants, and desires? What are they presently buying? How much of it? Who from?
5. Why Should They Buy From You?
How do you solve their problems? How do you prove it? What is you guarantee that your solution/product works? What do you offer that your competitors don’t? How do you create extra value for your customers?
6. What are Your Marketing Strategies:
To attract new leads? To convert these prospects into new customers? To increase the average lifetime value of these new customers? To delegate and outsource all non-critical time-consuming tasks?
7. What Marketing Tools will You use?
There are potentially hundreds of different marketing tools to use in your small business marketing plan. But don’t make the common mistake of doing one off, inconsistent marketing actions. Use multimedia… online and off-line. Use multi-step sequence approaches. Mix-and-match. Whether it be direct mail, fax broadcasts, e-mails, and person-to-person telephone calls…follow-up must always be rigorous and consistent.
8. Create Your Own Marketing Calendar
This will act as a visual marketing action plan. Block out specific times for each tactic. Record goals and budget. Record who has responsibility for this action. Do this for the next entire calendar year. Make sure it goes on the company’s electronic calendar. Create a wall chart for everyone to see.
If you’ve made it this far, and actually carried out all the steps… well done! You should now have 4 to 5 pages that will form the backbone of your strategic marketing plan.
If there were some questions you were unable to answer, these highlight gaps in your market research and knowledge you must plug.
Take a break and then sit down and go through your ideas.
If you’ve just read this article on how to write a marketing plan without doing the brainstorming..go back and do it now.
You have now got all the marketing ideas, tactics and strategies you will need. Not only that, but in a convenient marketing action planner.