Your marketing plan or strategy should act as a navigational tool that helps keep you going in the right direction in your daily business life.
Without one, or without a good one, it's easy to get lost or lose a sense of direction.
That doesn't mean to say that a good plan has to be the length of a bible with overly convoluted outlines. What it does need to do is cover the ten commandments of effective marketing strategies.
The following components ought to be essential inclusions in any marketing strategy or plan.
1. Define your products and/or services
Nothing too elaborate needed here. A concise description of what you sell written in clear language will suffice. Include your company's mission statement and highlight what you aim to bring to customers so that they benefit from doing business with you.
2. Paint a picture of your target audience
Be as specific as possible here. The more you know about the demographics of your prospective clients the better. It's a good exercise to focus on the ways in which you will design your marketing to reach out and impact your target audience.
3. What are your objectives and goals?
Look at your short term goals and your long term objectives too. By setting solid goals you give yourself a site to aim at. So include goals like revenue and how much new custom you aim to gain in a given period.
4. Know thy enemy
Okay, that sounds a bit harsh but… be aware of who your competitors are and what they are doing. By informing yourself about the activities and success of other in the same industry as you will be able to make informed decisions about how to thrive in the face of competition.
5. Price guide
Obviously your aim is to make a profit. Set your prices at rates that are above fixed and variable costs. Makes estimates of the value moneywise of the product or service in your customers' eyes. Detailing prices in this way gives you a clearer picture of where your profits lie.
6. Make a marketing budget
Be realistic about what you are willing to spend on marketing and what you need to spend. The two figures can differ wildly so it's a good discipline to be honest with yourself about this. When you set a limit, you are more likely to stick to it. That way you can make your marketing tie in with your budget. Be prepared for the two to have to meet half way. It's no good planning TV advertising if you simply can't afford to put that in place. Keep it real.
7. Think tactics
Consider all options and make decision about how best to reach your target market. Sometimes it actually helps to throw some outlandish ideas onto the table. Unique marketing strategies do gain you recognition so consider everything. Choose at least 6 marketing actions that you think will serve your purpose and fit your budget.
8. Write a To Do list
If you've decided an email blast is something you want to use as part of your marketing then look at how to go about creating that. Will you write the copy in house or employ a professional writer to do it for you. Who will you be mailing to? Basically everything that your marketing strategy includes will require some background work first. The To Do or checklist will help you keep track of progress and inspire you to get the preliminary work done.
9. Your marketing timetable
Draw up a timetable that details all the actions you need to take to complete your marketing campaign. Set dates and aim to stick to them. Give yourself enough time to execute each action. And be honest with yourself, don't set deadlines you are likely to fail to meet. Equally, be mindful not to set them to far ahead as this can lead to you forgetting about them altogether. Things left on the back burner tend to dry out and burn away altogether.
Treat these ten commandments literally as commandments. Follow the steps religiously and see the results.